Kyries for Lent 2014

Lent is the penitential period of the Christian liturgical year, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 days until Easter.  It is a season for reflection, a period of preparation for baptism for some Christian denominations.  What comes to mind immediately is the Kyrie, that simple petition from the Ordinary of the mass.  Of Greek origin, it consists of three parts, Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy), Christe eleison (Christ, have mercy), Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy).

This simple prayer offers multitudes of rich music expressions for our use during Lent.  If ever there is a shared prayer that spans context, it is our prayer to God for mercy.  Likewise, that prayer finds its way into wonderful musical forms that can be shared across cultures to enrich our own worship during Lent.  Consider these examples from across the spectrum:

From Russian Orthodox sources, we have this Kyrie eleison:


From Singapore we have this haunting Kyrie, found in the hymnal, Sound the Bamboo, a portion of which is printed here:



From Gregorian Chant we have three Kyries:


1) Kyrie XVI, part of the common Catholic repertoire:

 Listen to Kyrie-XVI:

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”″]

2) Kyrie XVIIb, designated for Sundays in Advent and Lent:


Listen to Kyrie XVII

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”″]

3) Kyrie XVIII, designated for weekdays in Advent and Lent: