Univ has what must be the longest grace of any Oxford or Cambridge College which is in regular use. Every time dinner is held in the College’s Hall, it is recited by one of the College’s Scholars in dialogue with the Master or senior Fellow present.
We do not yet know when this Grace was first used in College. All we know for sure is that, by the 1860s it was normally spoken after dinner. In October 1868, however, it was decided that this Grace would now be said before dinner, and the tradition has been maintained to this day.
Scholars were originally expected to say their part of the Grace from memory, but in 1958 the Fellows relented and allowed them to read it instead.
Queen’s College has a very similar Grace to ours, but that has long been reserved only for special occasions, and Balliol College once also had a long Grace, but this was abolished in the 19th century.
Grace and Translation
Scholar: Benedictus sit Deus in donis suis.
Response: Et sanctus in omnibus operibus suis.
Scholar: Adiutorium nostrum in Nomine Domini.
Response: Qui fecit coelum et terras.
Scholar: Sit Nomen Domini benedictum.
Response: Ab hoc tempore usque in saecula.
Scholar: Domine Deus, Resurrectio et Vita credentium, Qui semper es laudandus tam in viventibus quam in defunctis, gratias Tibi agimus pro omnibus Fundatoribus caeterisque Benefactoribus nostris, quorum beneficiis hic ad pietatem et ad studia literarum alimur: Te rogantes ut nos, hisce Tuis donis ad Tuam gloriam recte utentes, una cum iis ad vitam immortalem perducamur. Per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Scholar: Deus det vivis gratiam, defunctis requiem: Ecclesiae, Reginae, Regnoque nostro, pacem et concordiam: et nobis peccatoribus vitam aeternam. Amen.
Scholar: Let God be blessed in his gifts.
Response: And holy in all his works.
Scholar: Our help is in the Name of the Lord.
Response: Who has made heaven and earth.
Scholar: May the Name of the Lord be blessed.
Response: From this time for evermore.
Scholar: Lord God, the resurrection and the life of them that believe, who is always to be praised both among the living and among the dead, we give You thanks for all our founders and other benefactors, by whose gifts we are nourished here for piety and the study of learning; asking You that we, using these Your gifts rightly to Your glory, may be led together with them into eternal life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scholar: May God grant to the living grace, and to the dead rest ; to the Church, the Queen, and our realm, peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life. Amen.
Listen below to the College Grace recited by Lord Butler of Brockwell (Master 1998-2008) and George Cawkwell (Fellow in Ancient History 1949-87).