Excerpts from the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete: 1st week of Great Fast

GREAT & HOLY (PASSION) WEEK: A Brief Explanation of Services
February 13, 2014
Great Fast Meditation: ‘Neath the Cross of Jesus [Man of Sorrows]
March 2, 2014

“HAVE MERCY ON ME,  O GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME”

The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete is prayed during the 1st week of the Great & Holy Fast during Great Compline on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and on Thursday of the fifth week of Great Fast,  where the Life of St. Mary of Egypt is read together with the entire Great Canon at Orthros (Hours).  The meditative and most unique feature of the Great Canon is its deliberate utilization of Old and New Testament images and subjects, drawing the faithful to contemplate the many examples of sin and repentance found in our ancestors in the faith. As the Holy Scriptures (and the Canon itself) put forth Biblical persons and their lives in a positive light and others negatively—faithful penitents are encouraged to strive to imitate the positive examples of sanctity and repentance, and to reject and avoid the negative examples of sin, fallen nature, submission to our human passions and pride. One of the most important aspects of the Canon of St. Andrew is that it attempts to present the Biblical images and persons in such a manner that the faithful penitents can indeed identify themselves with the many people and events found in the Holy Scriptures, particularly as regards sin and repentance.

The following excerpts touch upon just a few of the many aspects of repentance from sin presented in the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.  The faithful are indeed encouraged to attend and pray the Canon (during the 1st week of Great Fast) in their local Parish (according to the published schedule) with its commencement on Monday, March 3 (civil calendar) / 18 February 2014.

The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete: Monday of the first week of Great Fast [Ode 9]

Irmos: Ineffable is the childbearing of a seedless conception, unsullied the pregnancy of a Virgin Mother, for the birth of God renews natures. So in all generations we magnify thee in orthodox fashion as the Mother and Bride of God.

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

The mind is wounded, the body is feeble, the spirit is sick, the word has lost its power, life is ebbing, the end is at the doors. What then will you do, wretched soul, when the Judge comes to try your case?

I have reviewed Moses’ account of the creation of the world, my soul, and then all canonical Scripture which tells you the story of the righteous and the unrighteous. But you, my soul, have copied the latter and not the former, and have sinned against God.

The Law has grown weak, the Gospel is unpracticed, the whole of the Scripture is ignored by you; the Prophets and every word of the Just have lost their power. Your wounds, my soul, have multiplied, and there is no physician to heal you.

I am bringing before you examples from the New Scripture, my soul, to lead you to compunction. So emulate the righteous and avoid following the sinners, and regain Christ’s grace by prayers, fasts, purity and reverence.

Christ became man and called to repentance robbers and harlots. Repent, my soul! The door of the Kingdom is already open, and the transformed pharisees, publicans and adulterers are seizing it ahead of you. (Matthew 21:31; 11:12)

Christ became a babe and conversed in the flesh with me, and he voluntarily experienced all that pertains to our nature, apart from sin; and He showed you, my soul, an example and image of His own condescension. (Matthew 1:25)

Christ saved wise men, called shepherds, made crowds of infants martyrs, glorified old men and aged widows, whose deeds and life, my soul, you have not emulated. But woe unto you when you are judged! (Matthew 2:12; Luke 2:9-12; Matthew 2:16; Luke 2:25-38)

When the Lord had fasted for forty days in the wilderness, He at last became hungry, showing His human nature. Do not be despondent, my soul, if the enemy attacks you, but let him be beaten off by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 4:1-11; 17:21; Mark 9:29)

+Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To the Holy Trinity: Let us glorify the Father, exalt the Son, and faithfully worship the Divine Spirit, inseparable Trinity, Unity in essence, as the Light and Lights, the Life and Lives, giving life and light to the ends of the earth.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Protect thy city, spotless Mother of God, for in thee it faithfully reigns, and in thee is made strong, and through thee it conquers and routs every trial and temptation, and spoils its foes and rules its subjects.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St Andrew of Crete: Venerable Andrew, thrice-blessed father, shepherd of Crete, cease not to pray to God for those who sing of thee, that He may deliver from anger, oppression, corruption and our countless sins, all of us who faithfully honor thy memory.

 

The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete: Tuesday of the 1st week of Great Fast [Ode 1]

Irmos: He is my Helper and Protector, and has become my salvation. This is my God and I will glorify Him My father’s God and I will exalt Him. For gloriously has He been glorified. (Exodus 15:2, 1; Psalm 117:14)

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

I have willfully incurred the guilt of Cain’s murder, since by invigorating my flesh I am the murderer of my soul’s awareness, and have warred against it by my evil deeds. (Genesis 4:8)

I have not resembled Abel’s righteousness, O Jesus. I have never offered Thee acceptable gifts, nor divine actions, nor a pure sacrifice, nor an unblemished life. (Genesis 4:4)

Like Cain, we too, O wretched soul, have likewise offered to the Creator of all foul deeds, defective sacrifice and a useless life. Therefore we too are condemned. (Genesis 4:5; Hebrews 11:4)

In molding my clay into life, O Potter, Thou didst put in me flesh and bones, breath and vitality. But, O my Creator, my Redeemer and Judge, accept me who repent. (Genesis 2:7; Jeremiah 18:1-10; Rom. 9:21)

I confess to Thee, O Savior, the sins I have committed, and the wounds of my body and soul which murderous thoughts like robbers within have inflicted upon me. (Luke 10:30)

I have sinned, O Savior, yet I know that Thou art the Lover of men. Thou strikest compassionately and pitiest warmly. Thou seest me weeping and runnest towards me as the Father recalling the Prodigal. (Luke 15:20)

+Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To the Holy Trinity: Super-Essential Trinity, adored in Unity, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Mother of God, hope and intercessor of those who sing of thee, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and as thou art our pure Lady, accept me who repent.

 

The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete: Wednesday of the 1st week of Great Fast [Ode 4]

Irmos: The Prophet heard of Thy coming, O Lord, and was afraid that Thou wast to be born of a Virgin and appear to men, and he said, “I have heard the report of Thee and am afraid.” Glory to Thy power, O Lord. (Habbakuk 3:2)

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

My body is defiled, my spirit is sullied, and I am all covered with sores. But as the Physician, O Christ, heal, wash, and cleanse both body and spirit with repentance, and make me, my Saviour, purer than snow.

Thou didst lay down Thy body and blood for all, O crucified Word: Thy body in order to renew me, Thy blood in order to wash me, and Thou didst surrender Thy spirit, O Christ, in order to bring me to the Father.

Thou hast wrought salvation in the midst of the earth, O merciful Creator, that we may be saved. Thou wast voluntarily crucified on the Tree: Eden that was closed is open; things on high and below, creation and all peoples are saved and worship Thee. (Psalm 73:12)

May the blood and water that wells from Thy side be a font for me and a draught of forgiveness, that I may be cleansed, anointed and refreshed by both as with drink and unction by Thy living words, O Word. (John 19:34; Acts 7:38)

The Church has acquired Thy life-giving side as a chalice, from which gushes forth for us a twofold torrent of forgiveness. and knowledge as a type of the two covenants, Old and New, O our Saviour.

I am bereft of the bridal hall, I am bereft of the marriage and supper. My lamp has gone out for want of oil, the door has been locked while I was asleep; the supper is eaten; and I, bound hand and foot, am cast outside. (Matthew 25; Luke 14:7-35; Matthew 22:1-14)

+Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To the Holy Trinity: I confess Thee to be undivided in essence, unconfused in persons, One Triune Divinity, co-enthroned and co-reigning. I sing Thee the great song thrice sung on high.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Thou givest birth and livest a virgin life, and in both remainest a virgin by nature. He Who is born of thee renews the laws of nature, and a womb gives birth without travail. Where God wills, the order of nature is overruled; for He does whatever He wishes.

 

The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete: Thursday of the 1st week of Great Fast [Ode 4]

Irmos: The Prophet heard of Thy coming, O Lord, and was afraid that Thou wast to be born of a Virgin and appear to men, and he said, ‘I have heard the report of Thee and am afraid.’ Glory to Thy power, O Lord. (Habbakuk 3:2)

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

Brief is my lifetime and full of pain and wickedness, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Saviour, have compassion on me. (Genesis 47:9)

The opulent and righteous man, arrayed in royal dignity, crown and purple, abounding in wealth and cattle, was suddenly shorn of his riches, glory and kingdom and became a beggar.

If he who was righteous and blameless beyond all did not escape the snares and nets of the deceiver, what will you do, my soul, who are sin-loving and wretched, if something unexpected happens to you?

Boastful I am, and hard-hearted, all in vain and for nothing. Condemn me not with the Pharisee, but rather grant me the humility of the Publican, O only merciful and just Judge, and number me with him. (Luke18:9-14)

I have sinned, I know, O merciful Lord, and outraged the vessel of my flesh, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

I am become my own idol, and have injured my soul with passions, O merciful Lord, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

I have not listened to Thy voice, I have disobeyed Thy Scripture, O Lawgiver, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray to God for us.

To St Mary of Egypt: Though dragged down to the depth of great offences, thou wast not held there. But with better thought thou didst return by action to consummate virtue beyond all expectation, to the amazement of angel kind, O Mary.

+ Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To the Holy Trinity: I confess Thee to be undivided in essence, unconfused in persons, One Triune Divinity, co-enthroned and co-reigning. I sing Thee the great song thrice sung on high.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Thou givest birth and livest a virgin life, and in both remainest a virgin by nature. He Who is born of thee renews the laws of nature, and a womb gives birth without travail. Where God wills, the order of nature is overruled; for He does whatever He wishes.

 

As we enter into this 40 day time of preparation during the Great & Holy Fast, may we turn from sin and our enslavement to the passions and embrace repentance unto our salvation and life everlasting in Jesus Christ our Savior.

Vladyka +Joseph