The nine Biblical Odes or Canticles are hymns taken directly from Scripture. They form the basis of the canon, a major component of the Matins service. They are:

  1. The (First) Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-19)
  2. The (Second) Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43)
  3. The Prayer of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10)
  4. The Prayer of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:1-19)
  5. The Prayer of Isaiah (Isaiah 26:9-20)
  6. The Prayer of Jonah (Jonah 2:2-9)
  7. The Prayer of the Three Holy Children (Daniel 3:26-56])*
  8. The Song of the Three Holy Children (Daniel 3:57-88)*
  9. The Song of the Theotokos (the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55); the Song of Zacharias (Luke 1:68-79)

Originally, these odes were chanted in their entirety every day, with a short refrain inserted between each verse.

In many daily and festal services a canon is sung, consisting of verses referring to the nine Biblical Odes. During Great Lent, the original Odes are read at Matins.


*In Protestant versions of the Bible, this is found separately in the “Apocrypha.”