Unusual words

Gradual

The hymn sung immediately before the reading of the Gospel is called a Gradual.  This does not mean that it has to be sung very slowly.  The name gradual is derived from the Latin word gradus, meaning a step.  So “gradually” originally meant “step by step”.

To read more about this, and to see how steps and the architecture of church buildings are related to early understandings of theology, have a look at What makes a gradual hymn gradual.

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