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Further information: Chesed and Eleos The prayer, "Kyrie, eleison," "Lord, have mercy" derives from a Biblical phrase. There are other examples in the text of the gospels without the kyrie "lord", e.
Mark , where blind Bartimaeus cries out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. The various litanies , frequent in that rite, generally have Lord, have mercy as their response, either singly or triply. Some petitions in these litanies will have twelve or even forty repetitions of the phrase as a response. The phrase is the origin of the Jesus Prayer , beloved by Christians of that rite and increasingly popular amongst Western Christians. The biblical roots of this prayer first appear in 1 Chronicles The prayer is simultaneously a petition and a prayer of thanksgiving; an acknowledgment of what God has done, what God is doing, and what God will continue to do.
It is refined in the Parable of The Publican Luke —14 , "God, have mercy on me, a sinner", which shows more clearly its connection with the Jesus Prayer. At some point the Roman Mass was translated into Latin, but the historical record on this process is sparse. Jungmann explains at length how the Kyrie in the Roman Mass is best seen as a vestige of a litany at the beginning of the Mass, like that of some Eastern churches.
As early as the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great noted that there were differences in the way in which eastern and western churches sang Kyrie. In the eastern churches all sing it at the same time, whereas in the western church the clergy sing it and the people respond.
Since , Anglicans have normally sung or said the Kyrie in English. Modern revisions of the Prayer Book have restored the option of using the Kyrie without the Commandments. In the Paul VI Mass form, each invocation is made only once by the celebrating priest, a deacon if present, or else by a cantor, with a single repetition, each time, by the congregation though the Roman Missal allows for the Kyrie to be sung with more than six invocations, thus allowing the traditional use.
Even if Mass is celebrated in the vernacular, the Kyrie may be in Greek. This prayer occurs directly following the Penitential Rite or is incorporated in that rite as one of the three alternative forms provided in the Roman Missal. In modern Anglican churches, it is common to say or sing either the Kyrie or the Gloria in Excelsis Deo , but not both.
In this case, the Kyrie may be said in penitential seasons like Lent and Advent , while the Gloria is said the rest of the year. Anglo-Catholics , however, usually follow Roman norms in this as in most other liturgical matters.
Kyra Eleison (Vis Major, #2)