The great canon of st. Andrew of Crete. Scriptural, liturgical and hesychastic invitation for an encounter with God


The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete is a masterpiece of Byzantine hym­nography. Due to its liturgical use during the Great Lent in the Orthodox Church for more than a thousand years it has played a very important role in the process of spiritual preparing for the feast of the Resurrection of Christ. In the Orthodox con­sciousness the Great Canon is first of all the Lenten special invitation for personal repentance (and more specifically “a change of mind” – met£noia) and compunc­tion (kat£nuxij). The whole content of the Great Canon, in the vast majority wo­ven from biblical phrases and referring to the essential events of salvation history, has the purpose of reshaping a believer’s life according to the Divine Wisdom. This “ecclesial liturgical act” helps to release the faithful not only from the bond­age of sin but also from evil thoughts (ponhroˆ logismo…) and destructive pas­sions (p£qoi). Based on an analysis of issues and terminology of the Great Canon it seems to be a well-founded argument that it is a work that combines the Eastern Orthodox use of the Bible, and the hesychastic tradition in the liturgical context.


St. Andrew of Crete; The Great Canon; Byzantine Hymnography; the Great Lent; Hesychastic Tradition

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Published : 2018-12-16

Leśniewski, K. (2018). The great canon of st. Andrew of Crete. Scriptural, liturgical and hesychastic invitation for an encounter with God. Vox Patrum, 69, 429-447.

Krzysztof Leśniewski 
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II  Poland

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