"A remarkable interpretation of the Bible unfolds throughout the Great Canon.... Originally the Great Fast was a preparation for Christian initiation, the death-and-resurrection with Christ that was conferred during the Paschal night. Each day... the bishop would give a biblical catechesis in which the literal and spiritual meaning fitted each other, and in which the entire Bible was interpreted as being the encounter of the two Adams, as one vast parable of the Prodigal Son. These efforts to understand were inseparable from a committed asceticism—as they still should be—for one must approach Scripture with an intelligence that is purified, heart and mind united. Traces of this primitive catechesis survive in the hymnography of the Triodion, particularly in Saint Andrew’s Great Canon. Eight of its nine odes consist, in the main, of a 'metanoic' [i.e., repentant] rumination on the Old Testament, with the grace of the life-giving Cross appearing not just in the typology but directly in the final troparia of each ode before coming into its own in the ninth, which is entirely devoted to it. In this way, the Bible becomes the story of humanity, the story of the 'total Adam,' of the 'single Man,' as the Fathers put it, and consequently of my story. Not in the sense that I should turn the Bible into a game of pietistic allegories so as to express the various states of my soul. Rather, in the sense that I am wrested from my smug or dreary individuality and discover that I am “consubstantial” with the heart-rending experience of all men.... [O]ur fallen state is not something closed in on itself. Despair turns into hope. Someone has descended into our hell to make light shine in it." —Olivier Clément
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