It was originally written for SATB soloists and organ in 1990, and was later revised for chorus and strings. It has been recorded in 1993 by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir directed by Tõnu Kaljuste, in 2000 by Paul Hillier's Theatre of Voices, and in 2004 by the Elora Festival Singers directed by Noel Edison.
The piece uses Pärt's tintinnabuli technique, while at the same time following in form standard mass settings. The movements are: Kyrie; Gloria; "Erster Alleluiavers" (first Alleluia); "Zweiter Alleluiavers" (second Alleluia); Veni Sancte Spiritus; Credo; Sanctus; and Agnus Dei. It was intended for Pentecost, because of the Alleluias and "Veni Sancte Spiritus", though Pärt has also set two Alleluia verses to permit the work to be used at Christmas.