A VERY Brief  Excerpt from the Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete

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?

Christ became human
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.

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.

Christ was tempted,
the devil was tempting Him,
showing Him stones to be turned into bread;
and he led Him up a mountain to see
all the kingdoms of the world in a flash.
Dread, my soul, the scene;
watch and pray at every hour to God.

The Lord healed
the woman with hemorrhage
by the touch of His hem,
cleansed lepers, gave sight to the blind,
and cured cripples; the deaf and the dumb
and the woman bent earthward
he healed with His word,
that you, wretched soul, might be saved.

The publican was saved,
the harlot was made chaste,
but the pharisee
through boasting was condemned.
For the first said, “Be merciful,”
the second, “Have mercy on me,”
but the last boasted and cried,
“O God, I thank Thee,”
and then some foolish words.

Zacchaeus was a publican,
but yet was healed, and
Simon the Pharisee was disappointed,
but the harlot received
the release of full forgiveness
from Him Who has power to forgive sins.
Obtain His forgiveness yourself, my soul.

Have compassion and save me,
have mercy on me, O Son of David,
Who healed with a word the demoniac.
Let Your voice of tender compassion
speak to me as to the robber,
“Truly I tell you, you will be with Me
in Paradise when I rise in My glory.”

A robber accused You, and
a robber confessed You to be God,
for both were hanging on a cross with You.
But open even to me, O most compassionate Savior,
the door of Your glorious Kingdom as to
the faithful robber who acknowledged You to be God.

Do not require of me
fruits worthy of repentance,
for my strength is spent in me.
Grant me ever a contrite heart
and spiritual poverty, that
I may offer these gifts to You
as an acceptable sacrifice, O only Savior.

O my Judge and my Light
Who alone knows me and
are coming again with Your Angels
to judge the whole world,
regard me then with Your merciful Eye
and spare me, O Jesus.
Have compassion on me who have sinned.

[The Canon of St. Anthony of Crete is a lengthy penitential composition from the 7th century that is used today in some Orthodox Churches during the Season of Great Lent.  My guess is that this is less than five percent of the entire Canon which is chanted by the priest.  For the entire Canon, visit this site: http://www.orthodox.net/greatlent/great-canon-fifth-week.html%5D

[PHOTO was taken by Velopilger and placed in the Public Domain.  It is available thanks to Widimedia Commons.]


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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One Response to A VERY Brief  Excerpt from the Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete

  1. Matt Smith says:

    It’s chanted not only by the schismatic Orthodox, but by our Byzantine Catholic brothers and sisters who remain in communion with the Pope. They don’t usually follow the tradition of chanting part of the canon each week, but most parishes will at least chant part (if not all of it) on the fifth Thursday.

    They’ve recently re-instituted the Lenten Great Compline, and I believe that the full tradition related to the Great Canon will be restored in the next few years. The loss of their liturgical traditions is shameful, and it’s a great blot on Latin Catholics everywhere. We should all pray for their restoration.

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