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Kyrie eleison: its origins and history

Updated: Nov 30, 2020


I attach below:

  • my notes on the origins and history of the Kyrie eleison, drawn mainly from the section on the Kyrie in Joseph Jungmann's book, The Mass of the Roman Rite: its origin and development; and

  • the full relevant extract from Jungmann's book

Patrick Martin



Kyrie eleison
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Jungmann, Ch 9 Kyrie Eleison
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2 Comments


Sue, you mention The Sacred Bridge, by Werner. I have a copy, if anyone is interested. I’ll post it.

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Sue Morris
Sue Morris
Sep 21, 2020

How interesting Patrick. Thank you for doing this research and for sharing it so quickly. I enjoyed reading it and it inspired me to look at other things said about the Kyrie.


In a book you once mentioned, 'The Sacred Bridge' by Eric Werner, it says the Kyrie Eleison of the Mass is a transformation of a sun hymn that was originally dedicated to Helios-Mithra, according to the research of a German scholar. Something of a surprise. I suppose Christians have made use of artistic forms in their culture and recast them in a Christian light.


The 'Ordines Romani' collection of documents on the mass rubrics contains a wonderful account of a papal mass celebrated in Rome around…


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