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The Great Canon, as it is normally known in the Orthodox Church and beyond, is a very lengthy hymn (formally, a canon) by St. Andrew of Crete, dating from the 7th century, and used until today during Lent in the Orthodox Church. Andrew was a monk in Jerusalem, moving later on to Constantinople and finally Crete. Being within the Orthodox tradition, he probably wrote the Great Canon in Greek (can't find the source text). Today it is found in many languages like Ukranian, Russian, and English. In YouTube there are plenty of recordings of the hymn in live ceremonies.

I am after a Latin translation, but have struggled to find one. The hymn, for what I can read, was never formally adopted by the Roman (later Catholic) Church, which might explain its absence. But perhaps someone is more acquainted with the topic. Any ideas?

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  • I never heard of the great canon before today, but based on what I read from your links, it is taken from 9 Bible passages. All 9 of those passages can be found in the Vulgate. Am I missing something?
    – Figulus
    Sep 9 '21 at 3:42
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    @Figulus Yes. It contain lots and lots of purposely-made prayers. Literal Bible quotes are the least of its content.
    – luchonacho
    Sep 9 '21 at 14:02
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In Greek this is Ὁ Μέγας Κανών, but sometimes it is referred to by its first line: Πόθεν ἄρξομαι θρηνεῖν.

In Latin it's called the Magnus Canon. In the link provided, the orignal Greek is set side by side with a Latin translation. Here's a transcription of the Latin (along with some errors):

MAGNUS CANON

Adjutor et protector factus est mihi in salutem: Iste Deus meus, et glorificabo eum: Deus patris mei, et exaltabo eum: gloriose enim magnificatus est.

Unde primum miserae vitae meae actiones lamenter? Quod, Christe, hodierni planctus initium faciam? Enimvero, qui misericors sis, delictorum veniam concede.

Veni, misera anima, tua carne, comite: omnium confitere Creatori; deincepsque antiqua abstine aliena a ratione affectione; ac Deo lacrymas poenitens exhibe.

Qui Adam protoplastum praevaricando sim aemulatus; Deo, me, aeternoque regno et voluptate, meis cognovi peccatis nudatum.

Heu me, misera anima! Utquid primae Evae similis facta es? Male quippe vidisti, direque vulnerata es; ac manum admovisti ligno, petulansque escam absonam gustasti.

Evae sensibilis loco, spiritualis mihi insurrexit Eva; vitiosa, inquam, carnalis cogitatio; dulcia monstrans; amaramque nihilominus semper potionem gustans.

Jure merito Adam, ut qui unum tuum mandatum, o Salvator, non custodivisset, Edem illa ejectus est: at ego, qui continue vivifica eloquia tua spernam, quid sustinuero?

Caïni studio imitatus crudelem caedem, homicida animae conscientia fui; vivificans carnem; moerensque malis meis actionibus, adversus animam.

Abelis, o Jesu, justitiam non sum imitatus: numquam obtuli accepta tibi munera, non divinas actiones; non mundum sacrificium; aut vitam irreprehensibilem.

Qua Cain ratione, ea et nos; misera anima; omnium Creatori actiones sordidas, hostiamque vituperabilem, ac vitam pariter obtulimus inutilem: eoque damnationis reatum incurrimus.

Tu figulus, lutum fingendo vivificans, carnem mihi et ossa adhibuisti; spiritumque et vitam. Verum o fictor meus; Redemptor meus et cognitor; poenitentem me suscipe.

Tibi, Salvator, peccata annuncio quae feci, animaeque et corporis plagas; quas mihi saevae internae cogitationes imposuerunt, latronum more.

Quanquam, Salvator peccavi; novi nihilominus quia benignus et clemens sis. Feris miseranter; fervensque misereris; vides lugentem, atque ut pater, prodigum revocaturus, accurris.

Ad tuas me fores jacentem, Salvator, ne vel alta senectute, vacuum in infernum projicias: sed ante terminum vitae, delictorum veniam, pro tua clementia, tribue.

Incidi in latrones; nempe cogitationes. Totus ab eis jam vulneratus, plagis plenus sum; tu mihi, Christe Salvator accedens, medere.

Me sacerdos a longe videns, alia declinavit; Levitaque in malis aspiciens, nudum despexit: tu Jesu, ortus ex Maria, accedens miserare.

Tu, Agnus ille Dei, qui omnium peccata tollis; grave a me tolle peccati jugum; mihique, ut misericors, tribue veniam delictorum.

Tempus est poenitentiae: ad te accedo, fictorem meum. Grave a me tolle peccati jugum: mihique, ut misericors, tribue veniam delictorum.

Ne me, Salvator, abomineris, ne projicias a facie tua. Grave a me tolle peccati jugum: mihique, ut misericors, tribue veniam delictorum.

Voluntaria mea delicta praeterque voluntatem, manifestaque et occulta, cognita omnia et incognita, tu Salvator, velut Deus indulgens; propitius esto, ac me salvum facito.

Tua, Salvator, mandata, a juventute repuli; omnino negligens et supinus, vitam viciose transegi; quamobrem clamo ad te, Salvator, ut vel in fine salutem mihi praestes.

Consumpta, luxuriose tua substantia, o anima, nuda es sanctis operibus: clama in fame: Tu Pater misericordiarum praeveniens, mei miserere.

Tibi, Jesu, accido: Tibi peccavi; mihi esto propitius; grave a me, tolle peccati jugum; proque tua clementia, compunctionis lacrymas largire.

Ne mecum intraveris in judicium; meos proferens actus; cogitata et sermones exquirens, puniensque appetitionum motus: sed mea mala is tuis despiciens miserationibus, salvum me fac qui sis omnipotens.

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    Amazing stuff!! Thanks! A shame the text is not available beyond the image. Would be good to have it as a standalone text. Can't find the file to download anywhere. Plus OCR is still terrible anyway.
    – luchonacho
    Sep 9 '21 at 19:57
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    @luchonacho. You're welcome. Sep 9 '21 at 20:55

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