Responses Short sentences, so called from their being the answers of the people to the officiating minister. The design of responses is, by giving to the people a part in the service, to quicken this devotion and engage their attention. It is much to be regretted that congregations do not in general join in the parts of the service allotted to them, as such neglect is the means of making our worship appear to many both cold and formal. Anciently all the people were allowed to join ini psalmody and prayers, and make their proper responses. Of the latter there were several.
(1.) Amen. This, in the phraseology of the Church, is denominated orationis signaculum, or devotee concionis responsio, and intimates that the prayer of the speaker is heard, and approved by him who gives this response.
(2.) Hallelujah. This was adopted from the Jewish psalmody, particularly from those psalms (113-118) which were sung at the Passover, called the Great Hillel, or Hallel. The use of this phrase was first adopted by the Church at Jerusalem, and from this was received by the other churches, and was restricted to the fifty days between Easter and Whit-Sunday. In the Greek Church it was expressive of grief, sorrow, and penitence, while in the Latin it denoted a joyful spirit.
(3.) Hosanna. The Church, both ancient and modern, has ascribed to this word a meaning similar to that of hallelujah. The true signification is "Lord save" (Ps 118:25).
(4.) "O Lord have mercy" — κύριε ἐλέησον. The Council of Vaison, A.D. 492, canon 3, ordained that this response should be introduced into the morning and evening worship, and into the public religious service. Gregory the Great introduced a threefold form, "O Lord," "Lord have mercy," "Christ have mercy."
(5.) "Glory, glory in the highest," in use on festive occasions in the 5th century, and in general use in the 7th century.
(6.) "The Lord be with you;" "Peace be with you," ordained by the Council of Braga, A.D. 561, to be the uniform salutation of bishops and presbyters when addressing the people. The last-mentioned salutation alone was in use in the Greek Church. See Coleman, Christ. Antiq.; Eden, Theol. Dict. s.v.