The History and Text of the Ordinary

The Kyrie is a petition sung directly after the Introit. It usually has a nine-fold structure, with each of the three lines being stated three times. The text, from the Greek, has been used in the Eucharist since the sixth century. The words, Kyrie Eleison, are also used as a ubiquitous response to other liturgical items, especially those of the various litanies, or prayers of supplication. Under the pontificate of Pope Gregory I (540-604) the Kyrie had a six-fold structure (Kyrie x 3, Christe x 3). It was under Pope Nicholas I in the ninth century (800-867) that the nine-fold structure became commonplace. At the Council of Orange in 529, the words of the Kyrie were also prescribed for use in Matins and Vespers (the first and seventh canonical hours, or services, of the monastic day).


Kyrie eleison,
Christe eleison,
Kyrie eleison
Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

The Gloria, or Greater Doxology, was a prose hymn of praise of the early Christian Church. It is first found in the Apostolic Constitution (c380) and its oldest translation is from the seventh century. Originally it was sung at Lauds, the second service of the monastic day, whilst in Rome it was used in the mass only when a bishop was the celebrant. The words begin with a quotation from the story of the nativity from St Luke’s gospel (2:14) and continue with a sequence of disparate acclamations of praise, invocations and petitions (the words of the Agnus Dei, which are contained within the text, were introduced by Pope Sergius I (687-701)), ending with a Trinitarian doxology. The text therefore falls into three sections: i. Praise for God; ii. Petition to Christ; iii. Acknowledgement of the Holy Trinity. A shorter version of the Gloria is used in the eastern Orthodox Church as a hymn at morning and evening prayer. The Gloria is usually dropped from the liturgical mass during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, being reinstated for the first masses of Christmas and Easter.


[i]Gloria in excelsis Deo,
et in terra pax
hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
adoramus te, glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi
propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex cœlestis,
Deus Pater omnipotens.

[ii] Domine fili unigenite Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei,
Filius Patris,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
miserere nobis.

[iii] Quoniam tu solus sanctus,
Tu solus Dominus,
Tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe,
cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria
Dei Patris. Amen.

Glory be to God on high,
and in Earth peace,
goodwill towards men.
We praise Thee, we bless Thee,
we worship Thee, we glorify Thee.
We give thanks to Thee
for Thy great glory.
O Lord God, heavenly King,
God the Father almighty.

O Lord, the only begotten son, Jesus Christ.
O Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,
that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy upon us.

For Thou only art holy,
Thou only art the Lord,
Thou only art the most high, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Ghost, in the glory of
God the Father. Amen.