The Greek word ‘Trisagion’ means ‘Thrice holy’. It is used to indicate three attributes of the deity: ‘God holy, God mighty, God immortal’ (Latin ‘Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis’). It is said to have originated during an earthquake in Constantinople when a child was carried up into the air. The people cried ‘Kyrie eleison’; the child came down to earth and exhorted them to pray in the words of the Trisagion prayer: ‘God Holy, God Mighty, God Immortal, have mercy upon us’. It thus became associated with the ‘Kyrie eleison’*. It became a chant sung throughout the Eastern Christian world (see, for example, Greek hymnody*, Armenian hymnody*). An alternative origin is put...

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