Biblical Odes

From OrthodoxWiki
Revision as of 23:42, April 9, 2007 by ASDamick (talk | contribs) (minor copyedit)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Biblical Odes (also called canticles) are nine hymns that are taken directly from Scripture. They are chanted at Orthros, and form the basis of the canon, a major component of Orthros.

The Nine Odes are as follows:

  • Ode One — The (First) Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-19)
  • Ode Two — The (Second) Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43)[1]
  • Ode Three — The Prayer of Hannah (1st Samuel 2:1-10)
  • Ode Four — The Prayer of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:1-19)
  • Ode Five — The Prayer of Isaiah (Isaiah 26:9-20)
  • Ode Six — The Prayer of Jonah (Jonah 2:2-9)
  • Ode Seven — The Prayer of the Three Holy Children (Daniel 3:26-56])[2]
  • Ode Eight — The Song of the Three Holy Children (Daniel 3:57-88)[3]
  • Canticle Nine — The Song of the Theotokos (the Magnificat: {Luke 1:46-55)); the Song of Zacharias (the Benedictus {Luke 1:68-79))

Originally, these Odes were chanted in their entirety every day, with a short refrain inserted between each verse. Eventually, short verses (troparia) were composed to replace these refrains, a process traditionally inaugurated by Saint Andrew of Crete.[4] Gradually over the centuries, the verses of the Biblical Canticles were omitted (except for the Magnificat) and only the composed troparia were read, linked to the original canticles by an Irmos. During Great Lent however, the original Biblical Canticles are still read.


  1. Canticle Two is normally only said on Tuesdays of Great Lent.
  2. In many Protestant versions of the Bible, this is found separately in the Apocrypha.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ware, Kallistos, The Festal Menaion (Faber and Faber, London, 1969), p. 546.