Andrew of Crete

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St. Andrew of Crete (c. 660-740) was born around 660 AD in Damascus and eventually entered monastic life at Mar Saba. He later served at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and was ordained a deacon at the great cathedral of Constantinople and mother Church of Eastern Christendom, Hagia Sophia, around 685. Always exhibiting great pastoral solicitude for orphans, widows, and the aged, Saint Andrew spent his last days as Archbishop of Gortyna on Crete, a position to which he was elevated in 692. Attrbuted by many with the invention of the canon as a style of religious writing, his works display not only great rhetorical skill, but an incomparable depth of theological understanding. He is considered one of the great spiritual writers on the theme of repentance, and his Great Canon, prayed during Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, stands as a great testimony to man's repentant cry to God, our merciful Father. Saint Andrew of Crete is numbered among those great Christian writers known as the Early Church Fathers.