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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia
A portion of Scripture formerly sung after the Epistle for the Day, from the steps of the Pulpit or Altar, and hence called Gradual, from the Latin gradus, meaning a step.
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Miller, William James. Entry for 'Gradual'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/acd/g/gradual.html. 1901.