Andrew of Crete

ANDREW of Crete, St. b. ca. 660; d. ca. 732. Andrew was the oldest representative of kanon* writers who distinguished himself as both poet and orator. A native of Damascus, St Andrew became archbishop of Gortyna in Crete, ca.712, where it is believed he wrote his most famous hymn, the Great Kanon. This vast cycle, sung in sections on the first four days of Lent and in its entirety on the fifth Thursday of Lent, is characterised by the fusion of praise of the Divinity with passages of confession and contrition, made evident in its constant refrain, ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, have mercy upon me’. At the same time it is a meditation on the whole body of Scripture, embracing all the sinners...

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