Saturday, March 12, 2011

Visit # 22 - The Canon of St. Andrew


Listen to the Audioboo first, then read below!!!

I walked in a couple of minutes late; I guess I shouldn’t have taken the time to record the audioboo first!

I grabbed a service book (pamphlet really, made for the occasion) and sat in the back. Of course, since I was late I had no idea where we were so Tammy, helpful as always, walked away from the choir to show me the place in the book.

Fr Gary and Fr Sergious stood in the front and took turns reading/chanting from the book. All about repentance and all cries for mercy! I especially liked how, besides asking for the prayers from the Theotokos we also asked for prayers from Zosimas and, I think, Mary of Egypt. The prayers referred to Mother Mary but, from the context of the prayers, it seems to have been about Mary of Egypt. Can someone confirm that for me? Just email me or leave a comment below.

My back had been hurting the last couple of days. (due to my weight, my arthritis and the nature of my job) so I could not stand the whole time and I was a little worried about doing prostrations. Sure, I could get down easily enough but getting up wouldn’t be so graceful. In the past, the few times prostrations were called for, I would just drop to my knees while almost everyone else placed their faces on the ground. I just went to my knees, not because of physical limitations but because, frankly, I was uncomfortable “behaving in a such a way.”…I had decided that, tonight, no matter how I felt, I would do a full prostration.

The first time it was called for, I could only manage to get to my knees. By the time I got there, everyone else had finished and was standing up again. Okay, I’ll just wait for next time around. Well, I decided to just do it. Even if everyone else was finished, I was going to do the prostration. After all, I had been learning through reading/podcasts that there is a physical side to worship, it’s not all spiritual or “in my mind.”

When I went down and did a full prostration, I have to tell you. I felt like I was really engaging in Worship. I was in the proper posture before a Holy, Almighty God. I felt connected…I felt like I was doing the right thing. And, getting up wasn’t as hard as I thought!

I have to say the Canon of St. Andrew was a beautiful experience. I can see why the Church uses it every year to start Lent off. What I really like about it is every reference to our unworthiness or sinfulness is immediately followed by a cry for Mercy and, woven in and through the words, in an expectation that our Merciful God will grant us His Mercy!

Truly, we live in hope!

Here is the Icon that was in the middle of the church for the night.


  1. It is truly beautiful...I love all the biblical (Old Testament and New Testament) references in the canons written by St. Andrew of Crete that show us examples of repentance.

  2. Off your point, but I also love the artwork and architecture one often sees in Greek and Western Orthodox Churches. Magnificent and Reverent are two words that come to mind...

    Side Note.... Jim, Mike and Lily live near Millville and Lily attends a Catholic Church where the entire Mass is spoken in Latin.... Something I would like to experience. Are services you attend spoken in Greek or Latin at all? I know very little about Orthodoxy, just curious...

  3. In my husband's seminary class, they use the Canon of St. Andrew (among other things) to learn about the meaning of the Old Testament.

  4. Marfa,
    Yes, it was beautiful...I am only sorry I didn't catch all four nights!

  5. Orthodoxy likes to have services in the language of the people so that it can be understood. That being said, Orthodoxy in America is largely the result of immigrants who don't have English as a first language so many parishes are in Greek, Russian, ect because that is the language most of the immigrants spoke although that is changing in America as more of next generation speak mostly English.

    I actually travel 35 minutes to this current Parish, even though there is a Greek Orthodox church 20 minutes away but, they do most of their services in Greek...and I don't speak Greek!

  6. Maria,
    That makes sense, since there are so many Old Testament references!

  7. I also travel 35 minutes to attend Christ the Savior Russian Orthodox Church. I even pass an Antioch church on the way :) But my husband was introduced to Orthodoxy through the Russian monastery nearby. All members are converts and it is the only fully English speaking ROCOR monastery in North America. Sorry, side note.
    I like how they intermingle the languages at the parish I attend. The choir knows Russian and old Slavonic. We always hear a few of the repeated prayers in Slavonic, although most of the service is in English. However, when there are more Russian speaking members present, more of the service is done in Russian. It's nice because where I hear it in English usually, I know what is being said, even if I can't translate it and I know the Russians are made to feel more comfortable. I'm trying to learn Russian and Slavonic this way.
    Pascha is amazing! We have Deacons is each of the four corners rotating through the Gospels in several different languages. It is awe inspiring and completely worth staying up all night for! (midnight services).

    So, when are you going to attend a Liturgy? That is a whole new experience that I am so excited for you to experience!
    ~Lavenna Ambrosia

  8. Lavenna,
    sooner or later, I hope to go to a devine's not that idont want to go ; rather, I am not ready to leave my Protestant church

  9. I understand. I guess that's where I had it a little easier when I converted. I had already left my protestant church because of the feeling I was always being judged after my divorce. I was seeking a new church and the Orthodox church was my husband's church (boyfriend at the time). I didn't have to deal with the feeling of abandoning anyone or anything. I was already a lost sheep. Maybe you cold talk to your family about taking turns for a while. Possibly even getting them to come to some Vespers? That way it could be a smoother transition than just up and leaving. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, just give suggestions to help you along the way. I don't want you to give up. Please tell me if I ever overstep any bounds, Jim.
    Your friend,

  10. Lavenna/Ambrosia,

    It must have felt horrible to be judged by people who are supposed to be displaying God's love! I am glad you were able to transition to the Orthodox Church where, hopefully, they act as Icons of Christ!

    Part of the struggle to go to Orthodoxy is that my protestant church is full of people who are loving and caring...they are striving to be like Christ...that makes it hard to leave...but I know what I have to do (eventually).

    I don't mind your suggestions or advice at all. I like them because I know it comes from a sincere desire for me go grow close to Christ. I am grateful for that!

    by the way, which do you prefer, Lavenna or Ambrosia?