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The earliest prayers were dedicated to the Virgin Mary – Hail Mary (in Latin: Ave Maria), Beneath Thy Protection (Sub tuum praesidium) with a rosary and numerous litanies. The prayers followed the pagan formulations, which were modified with the adoption of Christianity, to fit the new doctrine. In addition to the Marian prayers, the more frequently chanted were the Lord’s prayer, the Credo (declaration of faith), and the ‘Angel of the Lord’. Litanies were dedicated primarily to Christ, but also to other saints. The priest would incant and the people respond ‘Kyrie Eleison’.

The monks knew and used many more prayers, relating to the daily cycle. Hermits and others who dedicated themselves to God in solitude, recited the scripture and psalms. During the liturgy the prevailing language was Latin, with some prayers or songs in the vernacular, e.g. ‘Lord, be kind unto us’ or ‘Saint Wenceslas’.

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