Ubi Caritas Lyrics and Translation

"Ubi Caritas" is a Gregorian chant written somewhere between 300 and 1100 A.D. and used primarily as an antiphon in the Catholic Church during Holy Thursday. This photo shows the detail of Passion of Jesus Christ at Sacred Heart Church. Pascal Deloche/Getty Images

What began as a Gregorian chant that some music scholars believe originated before the formation of the Catholic Mass, Ubi Caritas has evolved into many iterations and compositions, and is performed in a variety of  settings and traditions including its typical use as an antiphone during the Catholic Church's washing of feet ceremony performed on Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday), which is the Thursday before Easter Sunday commemorating the washing of Jesus's feet at the Last Supper.

 Ubi Caritas is also sometimes performed during Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  The actual origin of the chant is unknown and ambiguous - musicologists and researchers have dated its actual creation to some point between 300 and 1100 A.D.

Perhaps, one of the most popular compositions of Ubi Caritas is by Maurice Durufle. Durufle composed the arrangement in 1960 as part of his Quatre motets sur des thèmes grégoriens, Op. 10, by using only the first stanza of the original chant.  He also used the chant's original melody, layering and weaving it into a sublime, polyphonic, and understated choral work.  Below, I've included links to several different YouTube recordings of Ubi Caritas compositions.  As you'll hear, though some share the same influences of the original chant, each piece is truly unique.

The Many Different Composers & Compositions of Ubi Caritas

  • Maurice Durufle, Quatre motets sur des thèmes grégoriens op. 10 (1960)
    Performed by the Cambridge Singers
    Listen on YouTube
  • Paul Mealor, Royal Wedding Choral Motet (2011)
    Perfromed by the Choir of Westminster Abbey
    Listen on YouTube
  • Audry Assad, Inheritance (2016)
    Performed by Audry Assad
    Listen on YouTube
  • Ola Gjeilo (1999)
    performed by Voces8 "Abbey Road x Decca Classics Sessions"
    Listen on YouTube
  • Ivo Antognini, Commissioned by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (2015)
    Performed by the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire's Concert Choir
    Listen on YouTube

    Latin Text

    Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
    Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
    Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
    Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
    Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

    Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
    Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:
    Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus.
    Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites.
    Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

    Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
    Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
    Glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus:
    Gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum,
    Saecula per infinita saeculorum. Amen.

    English Translation

    Where charity and love are, God is there.
    Love of Christ has gathered us into one.
    Let us rejoice in Him and be glad.
    Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
    And from a sincere heart let us love one.

    Where charity and love are, God is there.
    At the same time, therefore, are gathered into one:
    Lest we be divided in mind, let us beware.
    Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease.
    And in the midst of us be Christ our God.

    Where charity and love are, God is there.
    At the same time we see that with the saints also,
    Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
    The joy that is immense and good, Unto the
    World without end. Amen.