Historically, Christian liturgies began with a short chant known as an introit. They served a functional role as they were chanted while the clergy processed into the sanctuary. Introits were sung antiphonally, meaning a choir was divided into two groups that would alternate singing verses of the text. Traditional plainsong introits begin with an antiphon, typically a verse of a psalm used to set the scripture passage within a specific liturgical context. (For example, the Roman introit for Easter Sunday is Resurrexi et adhuc, which translates to “When I awake and am with you always”, draws from both Psalm 139 and the Gospel of Matthew.) The antiphon is then followed by psalm verses and the Gloria Patri doxology. The antiphon is repeated once more to conclude the chant. Many worship services today begin with an introit. Modern introits do not need to follow any specific compositional formula, and now serve a more spiritual purpose as they are intended to focus the hearts and minds of the congregation.

-Cameron Shippee