Skip to comments.The Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos
Posted on 02/17/2008 4:37:32 PM PST by Kolokotronis
"Rejoice, unfading rose. Rejoice, the only one who budded forth the unfading apple. Rejoice, birth-giver of the aromatic balm of the King of all. Rejoice, 0 Bride unwedded, the world's salvation."
The Akathist Hymn is a profound, devotional poem, which sings the praises of the Holy Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary. It is one of the most beloved services in the Orthodox Church. It was composed in the imperial city of Constantinople, "the city of the Virgin," by St. Romanos the Melodist, who reposed in the year 556. The Akathist Hymn has proven so popular in the liturgical life of the Church that many other hymns have been written following its format. These include Akathists to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the Cross, and to many Saints.
The Akathist hymn consists of praises directed to the Mother of God, beginning with the salutation of the Archangel Gabriel: "Rejoice." As the hymn is chanted all of the events related to our Lord's Incarnation pass before us for our contemplation. The Archangel Gabriel marvels at the Divine self-emptying and the renewal of creation which will occur when Christ comes to dwell in the Virgin's womb. The unborn John the Baptist prophetically rejoices. The shepherds recognize Christ as a blameless Lamb, and rejoice that in the Virgin "the things of earth join chorus with the heavens." The pagan Magi following the light of the star, praise Her for revealing the light of the world.
The word "akathistos" means "not sitting," i.e., standing; normally all participants stand while it is being prayed. The hymn is comprised of 24 stanzas, arranged in an acrostic following the Greek alphabet. The stanzas alternate between long and short. Each short stanza is written in prose and ends with the singing of "Alleluia." Each longer stanza ends with the refrain: "Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded."
The first part of the hymn is about the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary by the Angel. It describes Marys surprise at the news, her visit to her mother and Josephs doubts as to her innocence. The second part is about the birth of Christ, the worship of the Shepherds and Magi, the flight to Egypt and the visit to Saint Simeon in the Temple. In the third part the hymn directs our attention to the renewal of the world by Christs coming, and the amazement of the Angels and the wise men at the sight of the Incarnation of Gods Son. The fourth and the last part is once more a lyric and rhetorical appraisal of Virgin Mary, whom the poet adorns with the most beautiful of adjectives asking her to accept his poetical offering and to intercede for the salvation of human race from the earthly sin.
Akathist Ping to those of you in Western Lent. Please ping your lists. BTW, this is the chant which proclaims the Theotokos as “Butter Mountain”!
I love the colors and the gold dangly-things on that Icon. I have my own copy of the Akathist now (Byzantine Catholic, I think). I like to get it out and read a few estrofas when the Grumps hit.
I hope to go back to St. Nektarios during the Greeks’ Lent this year. I saw their priest at Sam’s Club last week; he didn’t want to buy Girl Scout cookies :-). The next day we saw a Chabad Jewish man!
I guess we’ll have to listen to a batch of YOPIS-based lectures on how the term “Mother of God” can be mis-read by those who don’t know any better.
“I guess well have to listen to a batch of YOPIS-based lectures on how the term Mother of God can be mis-read by those who dont know any better.”
You know, FL, when it comes to Panagia, I just don’t care anymore what they think or say.
I sometimes wonder what people who attack the Lord’s Mother say about their own mothers, or their mothers-in-law. Somewhere in it, I think there’s a deep-seated rejection of the entire concept of motherhood.
Wow, that was wonderful! (I had to update my Quicktime player in order to listen to it but it was well worth it!) Thank you for posting that, and God Bless.
“Wow, that was wonderful! (I had to update my Quicktime player in order to listen to it but it was well worth it!) Thank you for posting that, and God Bless.”
You are very welcome.
“I hope to go back to St. Nektarios during the Greeks Lent this year. I saw their priest at Sams Club last week; he didnt want to buy Girl Scout cookies :-)”
Probably a cheapskate!
“The next day we saw a Chabad Jewish man!”
OK, I’ll bite. Did he buy any cookies?
Not at all...But we're talking about God here...
Just look at the picture...You have Mary bigger than life and then who's that midget??? The runt of the litter???
The picture is so disproportionate that it ofcourse had to be intentional to put ALL of the focus on Mary and none on God...
The pagan Magi following the light of the star, praise Her for revealing the light of the world.
Each longer stanza ends with the refrain: "Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded."
The fourth and the last part is once more a lyric and rhetorical appraisal of Virgin Mary, whom the poet adorns with the most beautiful of adjectives asking her to accept his poetical offering and to intercede for the salvation of human race from the earthly sin.
You attempt to insult us and tell us we have no love for our mothers because we won't blindly follow your heretical religion...
You can increase Mary and decrease Jesus all you want...Doesn't affect me at all...
I'm counting on the shed blood of Jesus Christ to get me to heaven...Apparently, you guys are counting on his mother, Mary...
No, but he did smile at the girls. I'm sure the cookies aren't kosher!
The other Catholic girl in the troop recognized the Greek priest's outfit (he'd probably already bought cookies from girls in his congregation :-), but none of them were familiar with the Lubavitcher Chabad clothes.
Have you bought Girl Scout cookies, since it's not your Lent yet?
“Have you bought Girl Scout cookies, since it’s not your Lent yet?”
Yup...and you give me far too much holiness credit. Lent NEVER stopped this old sinner from buying and eating Girl Scout cookies!
I give up Girl Scout cookies for Lent during the years I’m not pregnant. I have a dreadful case of vanity!
It's Jesus as a baby. Did you think we was born six-feet tall? ;-D
He was, that is.
FormerLib discreetly reads the label of the Girl Scout cookie box lying next to the computer while saying nothing...
If you'll note, the iconographers have inscribed his halo with a cross so even the dull and ignorant would be able to figure it out.
What a beautiful icon — and beautiful prayer! Thanks for posting!
They stand for "Xristos Iesous", Christ Jesus.
You are very welcome. The women chanting the Akathist are sisters and all the wives of Greek Orthodox priests.
Proving once again that no system is foolproof when you underestimate the ignorance of the fools!
What do the rest of the Greek characters represent? I don’t recognize any of the words we’ve learned - no second-person singular verbs :-).
“What do the rest of the Greek characters represent?”
At the top left and right are abbreviations for “Mother of God”. Underneath that are the words “The Unfading Rose”.
“Proving once again that no system is foolproof when you underestimate the ignorance of the fools!”
Except YOPIS; YOPIS is inerrant! :)
I will check out the hymn after quick time loads.
When does the EO Lent start?
Thanks. We haven’t learned any of those words yet :-), let alone the abbreviations. But we can say, “The brother reads the words of an apostle,” which is worth something. Maybe more useful than saying, “Please give me three red pens and four blue pencils,” in Japanese.
“When does the EO Lent start?”
“But we can say, The brother reads the words of an apostle, which is worth something. Maybe more useful than saying, Please give me three red pens and four blue pencils, in Japanese.”
In Greek school about 100 years ago, the Papas taught us the Our Father in Greek (actually our mothers did but we let the priest think he did. He also taught us “Give me one piece of chocolate cake, please.” I was a miserable sinner even at 8 and preferred the latter to the former
The only sentences I remember from Japanese class are, “Where is the bathroom?” and “Shut up and die!” My father, the Captain, recommends, “Please give me two beers!” as the most useful sentence in any language :-).
I’m past the part about your namesake in the History of Modern Greek, but haven’t reached the part about Crete after World War I. Anoreth was stuned to find that “modern” Greece started in the 4th Century!