Kanōn (Gk.: ‘rule’)
- Miloš Velimirović
A liturgical poem chanted at Orthros in the Byzantine rite, in the position once occupied by the biblical canticles. It is one of the two most important poetic forms in medieval Byzantine religious poetry, the other being the kontakion.
The codification of a series of nine ōdai (odes, or biblical canticles) consisting of the ‘Psalms outside the Psalter’ gave rise to the poetic form of the kanōn. In its complete form the kanōn consists of a series of nine odes, each paraphrasing one of the biblical canticles. Within a kanōn each ode is assigned a number that refers to the canticle being paraphrased; the theme of an ode is taken from the subject of the corresponding canticle. Each ode consists of a model stanza (heirmos) and three, four or sometimes more further stanzas called troparia (see Troparion. The first stanza of an ode, its heirmos, establishes the basic rhythmic and accentual pattern followed in the ...