WHY THE REPETITIONS OF “LORD, HAVE MERCY”?
“Lord, have mercy!” (Frequent refrain in Byzantine Liturgy) Isn’t it somewhat morbid, how often we repeat, in our church-services, “Lord, have mercy” (Κύριε, ἐλέησον)? It is, if we misunderstand the word “mercy” (ἔλεος, eleos), limiting it to what it means in today’s English, a “withholding of punishment.” But the term means much more in patristic usage. “Mercy” is in and from our “merciful” God, as His way of being, and His way of acting. With respect to us, “mercy” (eleos)