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Thomas Aquinas was born in Roccasecca, a town in Italy which lies between Rome and Naples. Aquinas is regarded as one of the Christian church’s greatest theologians, but he has also had a profound influence on the development of Western philosophy. He died in 1274 and was canonised (made a saint) in 1323. He wrote the famous hymn for Corpus Christi Pange lingua gloriosi and is attributed as the author of Adoro te. Both these hymns are a part of the hymnody used in liturgies of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and also appear in the hymnals of many other denomination. Aquinas also provided a definition of a hymn in his commentary on the psalms:

Hymnus est laus Dei cum cantico; canticum autem exultation mentis de aeternis habita, prorumpens in vocem.

This translates as “A hymn is to praise of God with song; a song is the exultation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice.”

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