# 362 Holy, holy, holy
Words: Reginald Heber
Composer; John Bacchus Dykes
Holy, Holy, Holy is surely one of the most inspiring and beautiful hymns. Published in 1826, it first appeared in Anglican Hymnal in 1871. Here is the story of its origin:
In 325 AD, Church leaders convened in the town of Nicaea in Bithynia to formulate a consensus of belief and practice amongst Christians. What resulted was the Nicene Creed, a document passed on through the ages as one of the pillars of church doctrine. The primary function of this creed was to establish a firm belief in the Trinity, countering the heresy of Arius, who believed that Jesus was not fully divine. It was this creed that inspired Reginald Heber to write this great hymn of praise to the Triune God, with the intent that the hymn be sung before or after the creed was recited in a service, and on Trinity Sunday – eight weeks after Easter. The tune, composed by John B. Dykes for Heber’s text, is also titled NICAEA in recognition of Heber’s text. The words evoke a sense of awe at the majesty of God, and call on all of creation – humans, saints and angels, and all living things – to praise the Godhead three-in-one.
I don’t know about you but the imagery of “casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea” never fails to give me chills. Truly, a magnificent hymn.
Here is a glorious playing, organ only, played by the organ maker. YOUTUBE
And here is congregational singing with organ and strings from the Church of St. Michael, Stillwater, MN. YOUTUBE
Note: I would have included a video from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but they changed the words: not “God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity” but their version, “God in thy glory, through eternity.”