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In the Middle Ages the Kyrie was constantly farced with other words to fill up the long neums. Lord, Thou who hast signed us with the seal of Thine image, have mercy on us. Christ, Rising Sun, through whom are all things, have mercy on us. Lord, vivifying Spirit and power of life, have mercy on us.
The names of the various Kyries in the Vatican Gradual (for instance, Kyrie Cunctipotens genitor Deus of the tenth century, Kyrie magnæ Deus potentiæ of the thirteenth century, etc.) are still traces of this. Lord, Breath of the Father and the Son, in Whom are all things, have mercy on us.
): "Since both in the Apostolic See as also in all the provinces of the East and in Italy a sweet and most pious custom has been introduced that Kyrie Eleison be said with great insistence and compunction, it seems good to us too that this holy custom be introduced at Matins and Mass and Vespers " (cf. The council says nothing of Africa or Spain, though it mentions Africa in other canons about liturgical practices (Can. It appears to mean that Kyrie Eleison should be sung by the people cum grandi affectu . Bishop (in the "Downside Review", 1889) notes that this council represents a Romanizing movement in Gaul.
Hefele - Leclercq, "Histoires des Conciles", Paris, 1908, pp. The next famous witness to its use in the West is St. He writes to John of Syracuse to defend the Roman Church from imitating Constantinople by the use of this form, and is at pains to point out the difference between its use at Rome and in the East: "We neither said nor say Kyrie Eleison as it is said by the Greeks.
The first certain example of its use in the liturgy is in that of the eighth book of the "Apostolic Constitutions". It is tempting to look upon our Kyrie Eleison as a surviving fragment from that time. Rather the form was borrowed from the East and introduced into the Latin Mass later.
Here it is the answer of the people to the various Synaptai (Litanies) chanted by the deacon (Brightman, "Eastern Liturgies ", pp. The older Latin Fathers, Tertullian, Cyprian, etc., do not mention it.
When they have repeated it the third time the Pontiff signs again that Christæ [ sic ] Eleison be said.
This having been said the third time he signs again that Kyrie Eleison be said.
We may suppose, then, that at one time the Roman Mass began (after the Introit ) with a litany of general petitions very much of the nature of thethird part of our Litany of the Saints.Among the Greeks all say it together, with us it is said by the clerks and answered by the people, and we say Christe Eleison as many times, which is not the case with the Greeks. The last words appear to mean that sometimes other prayers are left out that there may be more time for singing the Kyrie Eleison. Gregory's time the special Roman use of the alternative form Christe Eleison (unknown in the Gallican and Eastern rites ) existed.