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A '''canon''' is a structured [[hymn]] used in a number of [[Eastern Orthodoxy|Eastern Orthodox]] services. It consists of nine ''odes'', sometimes called ''canticles'' or ''songs'' depending on the translation, based on compositions (also called odes) found in the [[Bible]] and with one exception, the [[Old Testament]].
The canon dates from the 7th century and was either devised or introduced into the Greek language by [[Andrew of Crete|St. Andrew of Crete]], whose penitential Great Canon is still used on certain occasions during [[Great Lent]]. It was further developed in the 8th century by Sts. [[John of Damascus]] and [[Cosmas
of Jerusalem]], and in the 9th century by Sts. [[Joseph the Hymnographer]] and [[Theophanes the Branded]].
Over time the canon came to replace the [[kontakion]], a vestigal form of which is still used on several occasions and which has been incorporated into the performance of the canon.