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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(ἀλληλούϊα ), a Graecized form (Revelation 19:1; Revelation 19:3-4; Revelation 19:6) of the Hebrew exclamation HALLELUJAH (See HALLELUJAH) (q.v).

The singing of this Hebrew word, meaning Praise the Lord, like Amen and Sabaoth, has been derived from the use of the Church of Jerusalem. It is attributed to pope Damasus. Pope Gregory allowed it to be sung out of Eastertide. The Alleluioe inclusio was the close of the time for singing Alleluia, from Christmas to Epiphany. The famous Alleluia Victory was won by St. Germanus and the Britons chanting Alleluia (A.D. 492) at Easter-time over the Saxons and Picts. The Saturday before Septuagesima was called "Alleluia Saturday," because the Alleluia was then sung for the last time until Eastertide. Gregory ordered the Alleluia to be sung not only at Easter, but throughout the year. It was allowed at funerals. Alexander II prohibited the Alleluia in the liturgy in the interval between Septuagesima and Easter-eve, and the fourth Council of Toledo forbade it on all fast- days. It was used in the mass to represent the Hebrew title of the cross, as Kyrie eleison was a reminiscence of the Greek. Victor of Utica called it the Alleluiatic Melody.

On the Circumcision, which was a fast-day as a protest against heathen revelry, the Alleluia was not sung. The people sang it together in divine service, monks assembled to its sound, and the laborer in the field and the seaman on shipboard chanted it in the early days of the Church. As early as the 4th century, Alleluia seems to have been well known as the Christian shout of joy or victory, and as an expression of encouragement. A special use of the Alleluia is found in the liturgies both of East and West. In most Eastern liturgies it follows immediately upon the Cherubic Hymn, which precedes the greater Entrance, as, for instance, in those of St. James, St. Mark, and St. Chrysostom. In the Mozarabic it is sung after the gospel, while the priest is making the oblation; while in the West it immediately precedes the reading of the gospel. In early times it seems to have been simply intoned by the cantor who had sung the gradual, standing on the steps of the ambo, and repeated by the choir. Before the 8th century the custom arose of prolonging the last syllable of the Alleluia, and singing it to musical notes. This was called jubilatio. In the Roman arrangement of the ordinary offices, the Alleluia follows the Invocation, but from Septuagesima to the Thursday of Holy-week the verse "Laus tibi, Domine, Rex aeternae gloriae" is substituted.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Alleluia'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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