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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
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Many Roman Catholics will be unfamiliar with the Eastern Rite tradition of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.  Since I will be attending the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete this evening, I wish to present some background on this emotionally moving pentitental service.

The Great Canon consists of four parts, each divided into nine odes like a regular canon, which is a structured hymn. However, there are slight differences between the odes of the two compositions. In the Great Canon, after the refrains "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me," a full prostration is performed. Also, some of the odes have additional refrains and troparia to the author of the canon, St. Andrew of Crete, or St. Mary of Egypt, one of the greatest models of repentance in Christian history.


A basic distinguishing feature of the Great Canon is its extremely broad use of images and subjects taken both from the Old and New Testaments. As the Canon progresses, the congregation encounters many biblical examples of sin and repentance. The Bible (and therefore, the Canon) speaks of some individuals in a positive light, and about others in a negative one—the penitents are expected to emulate the positive examples of sanctity and repentance, and to learn from and avoid the negative examples of sin, fallen nature and pride. However, one of the most notable aspects of the Canon is that it attempts to potray the Biblical images in a very personal way to every penitent: the Canon is written in such form that the faithful identify themselves with many people and events found in the Holy Scriptures.

You may find the text for the Great Canon at the following links in PDF format:
  
As chanted on Monday of the first Week: PDF Format
As chanted on Tuesday of the first Week: PDF Format
As chanted on Wednesday of the first Week: PDF Format
As chanted on Thursday of the first Week: PDF Format
As chanted on Thursday of the fifth Week: PDF Format



Source: Orthodox Wiki

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