The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

Monastery of Ypseni

What is “the Great Canon of St. Andrew” ?


The Great Canon is a long chanted hymn in the form of a poem. It consists of four parts, each divided into nine odes like a regular canon, but there are more troparia (stanzas).
The refrain is  “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,” and a full prostration is performed.

What’s “Great” about it?


The Church decided to call it the Great Canon not so much for its length (250 troparia, or verses), as for the quality and power of its content.

When was it written?


It was written in the Seventh Century. When St. Andrew traveled to Constantinople for the 6th Ecumenical Council, in the year 680 AD, he brought with him and made public both his great composition and the life of St. Mary of Egypt, written by his compatriot and teacher, Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem…

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