Holy Father

The title "Holy Father" was used by Jesus when he prayed to God in John 17:11. It is also the title used by Roman Catholics of the Pope.

The Father of the Messiah

The Messiah prays to the Holy Father in John 17:11:

John 17 11

Used by the pope of the Roman Catholic Church

The origin of the Roman Catholic title, according to a [1] by Jean-Claude Perisset, was "born" during the Investiture Controversy.

The qualifier “holy” underlines the spiritual dimension of this fatherhood exercised in the name of God; and we have already said that it does not imply a moral judgment on the person of the Pope. The expression “Holy Father” was born in the time of the controversy over lay investiture, and it seemed normal that in its becoming common usage in the acts of the chancery, the Roman Curia had then wished to underscore the spiritual and supernatural level of the mission of the Pope by adding the adjective “holy” — to defend implicitly the superiority of papal power over imperial power.



Hymns containing Holy Father in their title or lyrics.

  • Blest Creator of the Light Words: Poss­i­bly Greg­o­ry I (540-604) (Lu­cis Cre­at­or op­ti­me); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by the com­pil­ers of Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, based on a ver­sion by John Chand­ler (1806-1876). Music: “Vi­en­na,” Jus­tin H. Knecht, 1797.
  • Father, We Praise Thee Words: Greg­o­ry I (540-604) (Noc­te sur­gen­es vi­gil­e­mus om­nes); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Per­cy Dearm­er in The Eng­lish Hymn­al (Lon­don: Ox­ford Un­i­ver­si­ty Press, 1906), num­ber 165. Music: “Christe Sanc­tor­um,” French church mel­o­dy (Paris: 1681).
  • Father, Who Dost Thy Children Feed Words: George Bo­dy, in his re­vi­sion of the Dur­ham Hymn Book, 1885. Music: “Stella (Hemy),” var­i­ous­ly de­scribed as a tra­di­tion­al Eng­lish mel­o­dy, or at­trib­ut­ed to He­nri F. He­my.
  • For the Dear Ones Parted from Us Words: Ada R. Green­a­way, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1904. Music: “Calvary (Stanley),” Sam­u­el Stan­ley, Twen­ty-Four Tunes in Four Parts, cir­ca 1800.
  • Holy Father, Bless Us Words: Cal­vin W. Lau­fer, 1921. Music: “Armentrout,” Cal­vin W. Lau­fer, 1921.
  • Holy Father, Cheer Our Way Words: Ri­chard H. Rob­in­son, 1869. This hymn was writ­ten for the con­gre­ga­tion of St. Paul’s, Upper Nor­wood, Eng­land, to be sung af­ter the 3rd Coll­ect at Ev­en­ing Pray­er. Music: “Ves­peri Lux,” John B. Dykes (1823-1876).
  • Holy Father, God Almighty Words: R. Michael Cul­li­nan, 1996. Music: “Love Di­vine (Stain­er),” John Stain­er, 1889.
  • Holy Father, Great Creator Words: Al­ex­an­der V. Gris­wold, Pray­ers Adapt­ed to Var­i­ous Oc­ca­sions of So­cial Wor­ship, 1835. Music: “Re­gent Square,” Hen­ry T. Smart, in Psalms and Hymns for Di­vine Wor­ship (Lon­don: 1867).
  • Holy Father, Hear My Cry Words: Ho­ra­ti­us Bo­nar, 1843. Music: “Hein­lein,” Nürn­berg­isch­es Ge­sang­buch, 1676; mel­o­dy at­trib­ut­ed to Mar­tin Herbst (1654-1681), har­m­o­­ny by Wil­liam H. Monk (1823-1889).
  • Holy Father, In Thy Mercy Words: Is­a­bel S. Ste­ven­son, in Sup­ple­ment­al Hymns to Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1889. Music: “Cairn­brook,” Eb­e­ne­zer Prout, in the Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church Hymn­al, 1887.
  • Holy Father, Thou Hast Given Words: Will­iam Bruce, in the Pres­by­ter­i­an Hymn­al, 1876. Music: “St. Margaret (Booth),” George Booth, before 1925.
  • Holy, Holy, Holy Lord (Cullinan) Words: R. Mi­chael Cul­li­nan, 1996. Music: “Aberyst­wyth (Par­ry),” Jo­seph Par­ry, in Ste­phens’ Ail Lyfr To­nau ac Emy­nau, 1879.
  • Holy God, We Praise Thy Name Words: At­trib­ut­ed to Ig­naz Franz, in Ma­ria The­re­sa’s Ka­thol­isch­es Ge­sang­buch (Vi­en­na: cir­ca 1774) (Gross­er Gott, wir lob­en Dich); trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Clar­ence A. Wal­worth, 1858. Music: “Te Deum,” Ka­thol­isch­es Ge­sang­buch (Vienna: cir­ca 1774).
  • O Holy Father, Who In Tender Love Words: Ed­ward H. Bick­er­steth, 1889. Music: “Unde et Memores,” Will­iam H. Monk, 1875.
  • Wake the Song Words & Music: Will­iam F. Sher­win (1826-1888).

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