Doxology (Term)

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A doxology is a relatively brief, concise and complete song of praise to the Godhead. The term is often used to refer to one of several major doxologies, particularly the "Greater Doxology", beginning Gloria in Excelsis Deo in Latin and "Glory to God in the Highest" in English; the "Lesser Doxology", the Gloria Patri or "Glory [Be] to the Father"; or the stanza by Thomas Ken beginning "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow". This stanza, now a traditional offertory dedication in many Protestant churches, was originally the seventh (and final) stanza of Ken's hymn Glory to Thee, My God, This Night.

Many hymns have been written with a final stanza encompassing a trinitarian doxological statement (Ken's doxology, as noted, began in this role), and some liturgical traditions require that hymns end with such a stanza (and add it, in practice, if it is not already present). See, for example, The Cyber Hymnal's text of the Christmas hymn Angels from the Realms of Glory, where two doxological stanzas are given, one as the last verse and the other supposedly as an alternative to the original fourth verse, which is frequently omitted from hymnals.