Free Library of Philadelphia


Initial K, beginning the Litany

This initial K begins the opening words of the litany, "Kyrie eleison." The litany is a series of prayers for intercession addressed to a list of sacred figures, including the Holy Trinity, the Virgin, angels, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and finally to individual saints. The litany was not usually illustrated in psalters and books of hours. Here, the scene depicts the procession of a reliquary, an act that was often performed in the streets of towns and villages throughout Europe on the feast days of the saint honored in a given reliquary.

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Rare Book Department