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For Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Christians, today is “Clean Monday,”
the first day of the Great Fast. In many of these churches, the faithful will
gather tonight for the service of Compline with the singing of a portion of the
“Penitential Canon,” also known as the “Great Canon of St.
Andrew of Crete.” The
First Ode of the Great Canon uses as a springboard
the text of the Canticle of Moses contained in Exodus 15: 1-19. The
singing of the Great Canon in the First Week of the Great Fast, is intended to
invoke compunction in the penitent heart.

(Irmos) A Helper
and Protector has become salvation to me.

This is my God; I
will glorify Him.

God of my fathers,
I will exalt Him;

for in glory has He
been glorified!


Glory to You, our
God, glory to You!
(or the refrain changes to “Have mercy on me, O God,
have mercy on me!” when sung at Compline in the first of the Fast)

Where shall I begin
to lament the deeds of my wretched life?

What first-fruits
shall I offer, O Christ, for my present lamentation?

But in your
compassion, grant me release from my sins.

Glory to You…

Come, wretched

with your flesh
confess to the Creator of All.

In future, refrain
from your former brutishness

and offer to God
tears in repentance.

Glory to You…

Having rivaled the
first-made Adam in my transgressions,

I realize that I am
stripped naked of God

and of the
everlasting kingdom of bliss through my sins.

Glory to You…

Alas, wretched

Why are you like
the first Eve?

For you have
wickedly looked and been bitterly wounded,

and you have
touched the tree

and rashly tasted
the forbidden fruit.  (cf Gen. 3:6)

Glory to You…

The place of bodily
Eve has been taken

by the Eve of my

in the shape of a
passionate thought in the flesh,

showing me sweet

yet ever making me
taste bitter things.

Glory to You…

Adam was rightly
exiled from Eden

for not keeping
Your one commandment.

O Savior, what
shall I suffer,

who am always rejecting
Your living words? (cf. Gen. 3:26/Acts 7:38)


Glory to the Father
and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!

Trinity adored in

take from me the
heavy yoke of sin,

and in Your

grant me tears of

Now and ever and
forever. Amen.

O Theotokos,

hope and
intercessor of those who sing to you,

take from me the
heavy yoke of sin,

and as you are our
pure Lady,

accept me that


Helper and a Protector is He unto salvation.

He is my God, and I
glorify Him;

God of my fathers,
and I magnify Him,

for He is greatly