Sursum corda

For other uses, see Sursum Corda (disambiguation).

The Sursum Corda (Latin: "Lift up your hearts" or literally, "Hearts lifted") is the opening dialogue to the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer or Anaphora in the liturgies of the Christian Church, dating back at least to the third century and the Anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition. The dialogue is recorded in the earliest liturgies of the Christian Church, and is found in all ancient rites.[1]

The phrase Sursum Corda is generally translated as "lift up your hearts", but the Latin literally just says "Upwards [the] hearts" (Latin does not distinguish between definite and indefinite). Being a translation of the Greek, Sursum Corda idiomatically should imply "our hearts" rather than "your hearts", as per the modern Spanish translation, Levantemos el corazón ("let us lift up the heart"). The Greek version Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας means "Let us lift up the hearts," idiomatically implying "our hearts."

Though the detail varies slightly from rite to rite, the structure of the dialogue is generally threefold, comprising an exchange of formal greeting between priest and people; an invitation to lift the heart to God, the people responding in agreement; and an invitation to give thanks, with the people answering that it is proper to do so. This third exchange indicates the people's assent to the priest continuing to offer the remainder of the Eucharistic Prayer on their behalf, and it is the necessity of such assent which accounts for the universality of the dialogue.[2]

Latin Rite

The full text in Latin is:

The English translation, as contained in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, reads as follows:

In other traditional English translations, such as the Book of Common Prayer, the dialogue is often translated as:

Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, United Methodist, Presbyterian, and other denominations use the Sursum Corda in their Eucharistic celebrations. The Sursum Corda is also found in the Exultet during the Easter Vigil, where the dialogue is led not by the chief celebrant, but by the deacon.

The Mozarabic Rite has its own text, which is slightly different from other Latin Rites:

Eastern rites



English translation:

After the kiss of peace and the Creed:

This is the format used in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches, for both the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.

Oriental Orthodox

Syriac Orthodox (Anaphora of Saint James)

The various Anaphoras will have slight differences.

Coptic (Liturgy of Saint Basil)

Like the Syriac, the Coptic, especially the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, will have variations on the Sursum Corda, depending upon the particular Anaphora used.

Armenian Rite

Church of the East (Quddasha of Saints Addai and Mari)

NB: The Chaldean Catholic Church has changed "Israel" to "Jacob" in their English translation, but not in their Chaldean Missal.[4]

See also


  1. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd edition (ed. F. L. Cross & E. A. Livingstone), p.1561. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  2. A New Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship (ed. J. G. Davies), p.16. SCM Press, 1986.
  4., see "The Quddasha of the Blessed Apostles"
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