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The Who's Who of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete & General Themes

posted Mar 14, 2013, 8:40 AM by   [ updated Mar 14, 2013, 8:40 AM by Yulia Russiyanova ]
Next week, the first week of the Great Lent, all of the students at St. John's Academy will attend the reading of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. This masterwork of Church hymnography guides us to reflect on our fallenness by placing in front of us the characters of the Old Testament as well as a few from the New Testament. Unfortunately, many of us and our children have not been raised in homes that know and cherish the scriptures. This is a very sad state and one that prevents us from fully understanding the greatness of the Canon written by St. Andrew. Below is a useful guide to bring us back to a knowledge of the characters mentioned and used in the Great Canon. Characters that all Christians should know.

The Who's Who of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

General Themes of the Great Canon.

How we should think about ourselves

Where shall I begin to lament the deeds of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, for my present lamentation? But in Thy compassion grant me release from my falls (Monday:1.1).

Desire to changedialogue with the soul

Come, wretched soul, with your flesh, confess to the Creator of all. In the future refrain from you former brutishness, and offer to God tears of repentance (Monday:1.2).

Recognizing Reality

The end is drawing near, my soul, is drawing near! But you neither care nor prepare. The time is growing short. Rise! The Judge is at the very doors. Like a dream, like a flower, the time of this life passes. Why do we bustle about in vain? (Monday:4.2)

How to pray - Laments and supplications to God

Thou art the Good Shepherd; seek me, Thy lamb, and neglect no me who have gone astray. (Monday:3.5).

OT and NT examples of righteousness and unrighteousness, for the purpose of emulation or avoidance.

Do not be a pillar of salt, my soul, by turning back; but let the example of the Sodomites frighten you, and take refuge up in Zoar.(Genesis 19:26) (Thursday: Ode 3:5)

I have reviewed all the people of the Old Testament as examples for you, my soul. Imitate the God-loving deeds of the righteous and shun the sins of the wicked (Tuesday: Ode 8)

The most important thing to know about the Great Canon

The Great Canon was written by a holy man to teach himself the right way to live. We cannot benefit from it unless we make it a priority to stand in prayer, in the church, and listen to it, with a great desire and expectation for God’s grace to teach us and heal us. Our theology is first and foremostexperienced and prayed, and not only “studied”.

The Great Canon of St Andrew of CreteThe text

All these texts are available at

As chanted on Monday of the first Week

As chanted on Tuesday of the first Week

As chanted on Wednesday of the first Week

As chanted on Thursday of the first Week

Yulia Russiyanova,
Mar 14, 2013, 8:40 AM