A Song of Repentance: The Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete (Part IV)

Prior to hearing Prophet Nathan's message David's mind did not waver. As soon as he saw Bathsheba, he forgot God, seduced her. Then he started to worry how he could get away from the trouble that might arise when other learned what he had done. When his first efforts at a cover-up failed, he arranged for the woman's husband to be murdered. Safeguarding, his reputation filled his mind. For him to repent, something outside these thoughts had to burst in on his darkened mind because David's eyes could not be opened of themselves; God had to intervene. God, unlike David, wanted their close friendship to live again. The wellspring of repentance is God actively seeking out the sinner and helping them change their mind (metanoia), heart, and therefore their path.

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A Song of Repentance: The Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete (Part III)

By joining our minds and hearts to these words as they are chanted, we may, with the help of the Holy Spirit, gradually come to see hidden failings in our life, and so more clearly recognize our need for forgiveness and purification. Because the Great Canon has the possibility of taking on real importance in our spiritual life, we should make an attempt to say exactly what kind of poem it is. A well-known theologian, Olivier Clement, calls it "A Song of Repentance."

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A Song of Repentance: The Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete

The experience of Lent is a spiritual journey whose purpose is to transfer us from one spiritual state to another, a dynamic passage. For this reason the Church commences Lent with the great penitential Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete. This penitential lamentation conveys to us the scope and depth of sin, shaking the soul with despair, repentance, and hope.

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Why Are You Sorrowful?

Why are you sorrowful and glum while walking along the way of God? Those who have forgotten God, who have no hope in the living and eternal fountain of God, should grieve. But we, who believe in the Living God and whose hopes depend upon Him, ought to rejoice that we have such a Father in the heavens, Who loves us more than all fathers and mothers and Who takes infinite care to render us worthy to Him.

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The Inviolability of Free Will (Part II)

Our will is what urges our footsteps to follow the Savior, this is what strengthens our hearts to show self-denial, this is what bears the cross on the shoulder. Because although grace invites us, dispels the gloom and illumines the dark places, it is possible nevertheless, due to the carelessness and slothfulness, the contamination and spiritual idleness of the carnal view of life, for our free will to feign deafness, to close its eyes, to remain in darkness and to proceed in exactly the opposite direction: the direction towards perdition. In other words, our free will can act in total contradiction to what it actually wants. Therefore, it is necessary for us truly to want our salvation, to seek it.

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The Inviolability of Free Will

Human free will is sacred. This saying demonstrates the profundity of our moral freedom. The Savior invites people to follow Him and then leaves us free to decide this most important question for ourselves: to follow Him or turn against the way of God. He came for our salvation but does not encroach on our free will. He invites us to take an active part in our salvation, but does not violate our free will in the slightest.

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Forgiveness (Cheesefare) Sunday

The Sunday of Forgiveness is the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Holy and Great Lent. During the pre-Lenten period, the services of the Church include hymns from the Triodion, a liturgical book the contains the services from the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, the tenth before Pascha (Easter), through Holy and Great Saturday. On the Sunday of Forgiveness focus is placed on the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, an event that shows us how far we have fallen in sin and separated ourselves from God. At the onset of Holy and Great Lent and a period of our need for God's forgiveness and guides our hearts, minds, and spiritual efforts on returning to him in repentance.

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On the Divine Services

Vernable Maron the Hermit of Syria

Vernable Maron the Hermit of Syria

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,

By Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Then, having successfully passed through the toll-houses and bowed down before God, the soul for the course of thirty-seven more days visits the heavenly habitations and the abysses of hell, not knowing yet where it will remain, and only on the fortieth day is its place appointed until the resurrection of the dead. Some souls find themselves (after the forty days) in a condition of foretasting eternal joy and blessedness, and others in fear of the eternal torments which will come in full after the last judgment. Until then changes are possible in the condition of souls, especially through offering for them the Bloodless Sacrifice (commemoration at the Divine Liturgy), and likewise by other prayers. How important commemoration at the Divine Liturgy is may be seen in the following occurrence:

Before the uncovering of the holy relics of Saint Theodosius of Chernigov (+1896), the priest-monk (the renowned Starets Alexis of Goloseyevsky Hermitage, of the Kiev-Caves Lavra, fell asleep in 1916) who was conducting the re-vesting of the holy relics, becoming weary while sitting by the holy relics, dozed off and saw before him the Saint, who told him: "I thank you for laboring with me. I beg you also, when you will serve the Liturgy, to commemorate my parents." And he gave their names (Priest Nikita and Maria). The priest-monk asked the Saint: "How can you, O Saint, ask my prayers, when yourself stand at the heavenly Throne and grant to people God's mercy?"

"Yes, that is true," replied Saint Theodosius, "but the offering at the Divine Liturgy is more powerful than my prayer."

The Divine Services in their composition contain all the dogmatic teaching of the Church and set forth the path to salvation. They present invaluable spiritual wealth. The more fully and precisely they are fulfilled, the more benefit the participants receive from them. Those who perform them carelessly and who shorten them by their laziness rob their flock, depriving them of their very daily bread, stealing from them a most valuable treasure. (Source: Orthodox Heritage)


"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom


With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George