Learn the English Translation of the "Sanctus" Text

The literal translation is different from that of the Catholic Church

A priest holding prayer beads
Here is a step-by-step English translation of the "Sanctus" text. Image Source / Getty Images

The Sanctus text is the oldest portion of the Mass in the Catholic Church and was added between the 1st and 5th centuries. Its purpose is to conclude the Preface of the Mass and it also appears in the 6th-century hymn, "Te Deum."

Translation of the "Sanctus"

As with any translation, there are many ways to interpret the words as we move between two languages. While the English translation of the Sanctus can (and does) vary, the following is one literal way to translate it.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,Holy, Holy, Holy,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.Lord God of Hosts.
Hosanna in excelsis.Hosanna in the highest.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.Full are heaven and earth of glory thy.
Hosanna in excelsis.Hosanna in the highest.

In the Latin version from the Church, the second to last line may read:

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

This, along with the second "Hosanna," is actually known as the Benedictus. It translates to "Blessed who comes in name of Lord." You can see this in the official English translations.

The Official Translations

It's important to note that the Sanctus, as well as other parts of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, have different interpretations in the Catholic Church. This is to help Catholics understand what is being said without the need to learn Latin. For English speakers, the Church offers an official translation from the Latin. These translations were updated in 1969 and again in 2011.

For the Sanctus, the difference comes in the second line and you can see how other lines vary from the literal translation. The previous (1969) translation used:

Holy, Holy, Holy.
Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosana in the highest.

When the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) prepared the latest translation in 2011, it was changed to:

Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God of hosts.​
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.