Tantum Ergo: "Over ancient forms of worship"?

St. Augustine is credited with writing Tantum Ergo in the 5th century.

To what is he referring when he says “Over ancient forms of worship/newer rites of grace prevail”?

(I also saw references that St. Thomas Aquinas penned this?) :confused:

Regardless, my question is, what were these “ancient forms of worship” these saints were referring to?

I’ve actually been thinking the same thing. The way I see it, that line means that the newer rites (the Mass) is superior to ancient religious ceremonies such as offerings of animals and sacrifices and such. Or perhaps a contrast of civilized over un-civilized? As in, the Mass prevails over pagan rituals and such?

Does that refer to the move to the OF from the EF? :D:D:D

Just trolling around! :o


The ancient forms of worship referenced in the hymn were the Cultic Sacrificial Temple rituals of Ancient Israel. The norms and prescriptions dictated by God to Moses were in anticipation of the true Lamb of God and the true High Priest, Jesus Christ. Thus, the sacrifice, the altar and the priest all received their fulfillment in the Paschal Mystery.

I’d love to know where you read that! St. Thomas Aquinas wrote Tantum Ergo, and a few other hymns, for the feast of Corpus Christi back in the 13th century.

He’s referring to the worship established through Moses. In the beginning of John’s Gospel, we read that the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The Tantum Ergo is the last two verses of the Pange Lingua written by St Thomas Aquinas.

Well, the “original” Pange Lingua is “Pange Lingua Gloriosi Proelium Certaminis”.

It was written by Venantius Fortunatus in the 6th century and for Holy Week; in the current Divine Office the first part is sung at Vigils and the second at Lauds of Holy Week.

Perhaps that’s where the confusion comes from.

Interestingly I just chanted it tonight at Benediction being the first Friday of the month. I basically just figured it was referring to the New Covenant vs. the Old Covenant.

Tantum Ergo is the name given to the last two stanzas of the hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium and is sung at Benediction.

The hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium was written in the 13th century by St. Thomas Aquinas to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi.

The hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi Prœlium Certaminis was written in the 6th century by St. Venantius Fortunatus is honour of the Sacred Passion.

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