Our Father Doxology

A pastor colleague and I were wondering when and how the doxology came to be such an indissoluble part of the Our Father in Protestant churches. Neither of us had an idea. Do you know ?

(Maybe I should clarify that I’m not looking for a debate about whether or not Protestants are right to do that. I would just like factual information, if somebody has any.)

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An early liturgy had the doxology immediately following the Our Father. With time, they basically melded together, to the extent that some later Bible translations actually added the Doxology to the Our Father.

To see a sort-of halfway version of the difference, see the approach to the Our Father in St Augustine’s Prayer Book, an Anglo-Catholic prayer book. When the Our Father is preceded by the Kyrie, the Doxology is omitted. Otherwise, it is included.

Neither side’s wrong, per se. There’s nothing wrong with tacking a doxology onto the Our Father.


Thank you !

Are you thinking of the Didache version ? I seem to remember the doxology wasn’t exactly the one we say now. I’ll check when I’m back from work if it’s just me having yet another episode of brain fog, which is probable.

Possibly? Not sure.

In EO the priest gets to say the Doxology right after Our Father while lay people say “For the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us.” As a child I didn’t know the difference between the prayer and the Doxology so I was saying the Doxology always after Our Father.
Not saying it still sounds funny to me. So it’s definitely not a Protestant thing.

Was the area you grew up in heavily Protestant?

Just wondering if it might be a cultural thing.

No. My country (Romania) is 80% Eastern Orthodox and in my neighborhood everyone was EO. In my family had been some relatives Catholic and Protestant, but they died before I was born so I never met them. Maybe I am misusing the terms?
If the priest says after Our Father during the Liturgy “In the name of the Father, and Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages, Amen.” - this is the Doxology yes?

Not as we’re referring to. Rather, it’s “…but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever [and ever].”

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The doxology starts appearing pretty early, and eventually appears in most of the Byzantine text family of mss.Those became the basis for the Textus Receptus of Erasmus which became the underlying text for most Protestant translations.

The Alexandrian family of texts did not include the doxology. These are earlier and more reliably replicate the original text in the opinion of most textual scholars for the last couple of centuries.


Because in my books only what lay people appears now I am having trouble remembering what the priest says after Our Father in Church. In my church the Liturgy is that St. John Chrysosthom.
I looked it up on the internet.

  • The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Priest: For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Priest: Peace be with all.

People: And with your spirit.

Deacon: Let us bow our heads to the Lord.

People: To You, O Lord.*

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From the Didache:

Chapter 8. Concerning Fasting and Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer)

But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; Matthew 6:16 for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Yours is the power and the glory forever. Thrice in the day thus pray.


From the Wikipedia article on Textus Receptus:

The biblical Textus Receptus constituted the translation-base for the original German Luther Bible, the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale, the King James Version, the Spanish Reina-Valera translation, and most Reformation-era New Testament translations throughout Western and Central Europe.
The text originated with the first printed Greek New Testament, published in 1516—a work undertaken in Basel by the Dutch Catholic scholar, priest and monk Desiderius Erasmus. It is the text type used in most Protestant denominations consistently throughout history before the 19th-century adoption of the Alexandrian priority position within mainstream Biblical criticism.

Thanks so much for the Didache quotation! It is much closer than I remembered.

So we have the almost exact wording in the Didache, minus the Kingdom, and the exact wording and sequence, albeit split between assembly and priest, in St John Chrysostom’s liturgy.

That’s very interesting, thank you !

I’ll be able to tell my colleague that the practice has actually a nice claim to length of use and tradition. He will be very happy.

The assertion, if I recall correctly, in Dr. Kevin Johnson’s Why Do Catholics Do That? is that King James liked the doxology so much (which was part of the Anglican liturgy as well) that he had it included with the Lord’s Prayer in his ‘authorized translation’ of the scriptures. “Modern” Evangelicals, of course (meaning those of the 1800s-1950s), consider the KJV the ultimate authority, thus, that’s the original prayer Jesus spake.


No “modern” evangelicals do not. “Modern” evangelicals use a range of popular Bible translations in our churches and are well aware that the KJV is just one among many translations available in the English language. “King James Only” Fundmentalists are not representative of all evangelical Protestants.

Very few people can actually even understand King James English. Why on earth would anyone use it for actual Bible study, aside from just appreciating the historic prose.


I didn’t know that about King James, interesting.

But you know, none of the “modern” Evangelicals I know use the KJV.

They don’t speak English :wink:

Catholic Answers discussed this issue, but I don’t understand how to link. Perhaps someone could provide the link? I found it by Googling. Mention was made that King Henry essentially was pleased to add the doxology because the Roman Catholic Church did not end the Our Father with it.

There is the minor doxology, the Gloria Patri and the greater doxology Gloria in Excelsis Deo. The shorter is know as the “doxology”.


The Greek form then became: Doxa patri kai huio kai hagio penumati, kai nun kai aei kai eis tous aionas ton aionon. amen. In this shape it is used in the Eastern Churches at various points of the Liturgy (e.g. in St. Chrysostom’s Rite; …

The doxology in the form in which we know it has been used since about the seventh century all over Western Christendom, except in one corner. In the Mozarabic Rite the formula is: “Gloria et honor Patri et Filio et Spiritui sancto in saecula saeculorum


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Eastern prayer, perhaps specifically the anaphora of St John Chrysostom, made a connection between the Our Father and the doxology. When copies were made of Matthew’s gospel, the doxology got copied onto the page, inserted into the Gospel. Every time that ms was copied, it was copied into the new ms.

In the West, St Jerome’s Vulgate did not have this doxology after the Lord’s prayer. It was not in the mss he worked with, not even the Greek ones. The Vulgate became the standard, and the West largely forgot about Greek. Not until Aristotle was reintroduced in the 12-13th centuries, from the Arab world, was Greek studied in the West.

This meant that Greek mss, the Byzantine text type, were the dominant source for the original language of the NT. When Erasmus compiled the Textus Receptus, the Greek NT used at the time of the Reformation, the majority of his texts were Byzantine so he included the doxology in his critical text. The most up to date scholarship said it was part of the prayer.

A few hundred years later, it became clear that some mss never had the doxology. They became known as the Alexandrian text type, because they were found or came from Alexandria in Egypt, more or less. There were fewer of these since North Africa was conquered by Muslims in the 7th century. This also meant they tended to be older, less frequently copied. These were acknowledged as closer to the source text, and are preferred for many differences. Now the most up to date scholarship said the doxology should not be included.

This is how it stands today. Some people follow the up to date scholarship of the 1500s. The rest of us follow that of the 18-19th centuries. And few of us know why we disagree when we pray the most basic prayer in our traditions.


@ltwin @OddBird
My use of modern was in quotes partly because it was tongue-in-cheek and partly because I was intending to denote a particular time period / philosophical era. I’m sorry if you misunderstood; what you’re referring to wouldn’t be properly labeled as “modern” in such a context. At any rate, KJV-types (though not strictly KJV only, but close) were the kind of Evangelicals I grew up with/as part of. No offense intended.

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