The penitential prayers of Andrew of Crete during Lent
If you have a desire to learn more about church traditions, then you cannot ignore the great canon of repentance of Andrew of Crete. This is a rather voluminous work, written in the 8th century AD. Thus, this amazing canon is more than 12 centuries old.
By tradition, it is read during the Great Lent.
I keep fasting and perform all the necessary regulations not so long ago — just a few years. But I can say that during the time that you read the penitential prayers of Andrew of Crete, it becomes lighter in your soul, you feel closer to God, the idea of repentance is better understood.
I feel much better and calmer, comes an understanding of all committed sins and justice of all the events that occurred in my life. I can say that reading the canon of Andrei of Crete is not always easy — it is difficult to understand the Church Slavonic language, the images that the author uses in his work are not always clear.
But the peace and confidence in the love of God to me that come from reading the canon are very important to me. The canon is a great work, it is read without haste, with the awareness of the seriousness of the task — repeating the heartfelt words of St. Andrew, to feel closer to God.
Short Life of Andrei Cretan
Andrei of Crete was born at the end of the 7th century AD It is known that his parents were Christians and brought up Andrew in deep faith. But there was a great misfortune in the family — the child grew up dumb.
Little Andrei did not utter a single word! Everything changed after the first communion — the boy began to speak, and later even became one of the most famous and eloquent speakers of his time.
After the miracle that happened to the boy, he began to study theology very seriously. His future was predetermined — he decided to connect his life with God.
At the age of 14 he goes to a monastery, leads a very strict life, constantly prays.
Andrew earned great respect and love from the brethren, later became an archdeacon. During his life, the saint wrote a large number of works of church literature — about 70 canons, of which the Great Penitential canon is the most famous and voluminous.
The author of the canon eventually received the dignity of the archbishop of one of the cities on the island of Crete, and therefore remained in history as Andrei of Crete.
Features of reading penitential prayer
The great penitential canon is a special work. Rather, it relates to the genre of philosophical reflections on the meaning of life, the meaning of sin, and the possibility of overcoming it.
In the canon, Andrew of Crete reminds us of sinners who are known from history and from the Bible. He also talks about the lives of famous righteous people, about the example of their destiny for all living.
While reading or listening to these characters, we unwittingly think: what is our role in life? What good have we done?
I remember all the misdeeds, realized sins.
The canon represents a real cry to God for mercy. And during the Great Lent, these words are very consonant with the mood of believers.
Thanks to the canon’s emotionality, the readers also tune in to the manifestation of emotions — love for God, repentance, manifestations of grief due to the severity of their own sins.
Canon reading time
Since the Canon of Repentance is a special work, strictly defined services are intended for its reading in the church. The work is read twice:
- Monday through Thursday of the first week of fasting (at the beginning of evening services),
- on Thursday of the fifth week (in the morning service).
In the first week, the priest reads the canon, standing in the center of the temple, at the very beginning of the service. While reading, it is necessary to make prostrations (for them, time is allotted between the main parts of the work).
During this period, the canon is read in parts (the text is divided into 4 parts, for services from Monday to Thursday).
On Thursday, the fifth week (in the morning) the text of the canon is read in full.
Why should read the canon of Andrei of Crete during Lent
Many believe that in Lent the main thing is not to eat meat and fatty foods. But this is far from the case!
Many people who have health problems, the priests are allowed to eat exactly the food that will be useful for patients. The main thing during Lent is not a diet at all.
Lent is a period when we gather all our spiritual strength, when we mobilize all our thoughts for spiritual work. At this time, there is a rejection of everyday habits and domestic concerns, we turn to eternity, think about future eternal life.
During the seven weeks of intense inner work, a person engages in fellowship with God, and this is due to prayer. Including thanks to the penitential prayer of Andrew of Crete.
Thus, the Great canon of repentance of Andrew of Crete:
- helps to realize your sins
- gives hope of eternal life in God,
- teaches us soulful conversation with God,
- helps not to commit sins in the future.
The great canon of penance is recited during Lent twice — from Monday to Thursday in the first week (in the evening) and on the Thursday of the fifth week in the morning. True believers want to attend church services these days, because these are truly special moments in our lives.
If you do not have the opportunity to attend worship services, during which the Penitential canon of Andrew of Crete is read, then you can read the text of the canon at home.
Do not forget that reading prayers of repentance during fasting is a very important and useful thing for the salvation of the soul!
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