Kyrie is the shortest way of referring to an ancient Christian prayer, more fully kyrie eleison. The words are Greek, and are given as 'Lord, have mercy upon us' in the Church of England. Perhaps the most common use of the word 'kyrie' - especially by those who are not church-goers - is to mean "A musical setting of these words, esp. as the first movement of a Mass" (OED). The text of such is usually "Kyrie eleison, christe eleison" ('Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us') with various repetitions.
- The Greek words κύριε ἐλέησον ‘Lord, have mercy’, occur in the Greek text of the books of the Bible Psalms (123:3), Matthew (17:15), etc. Kyrie is sounded as three syllables, 'kee-ri-eh' (IPA: /ˈiː r eɪɪ/). In English, eleison is pronounced in many ways. The usual in music is as four syllables, 'e-LAY-i-son' (IPA: /ɪɛ le ɪs ˈɒn/), although sometimes the '-ei-' is a glide, '-EH-' (IPA: /eɪ/), and the music to match the word is written with three notes.