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♦Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Mother of God (the Theotokos)

 

The "Akathistos" Hymn

In the Byzantine tradition, one of the oldest and most revered expressions of Marian devotion is the hymn of the "Akathistos" - meaning the hymn sung while standing. It is a literary and theological masterpiece, encapsulating in the form of a prayer, the universally held Marian belief of the primitive Church.

 

The Akathist Hymn is one of the most well-loved services of devotion in the Eastern Church. Although there is some debate concerning the particulars of its authorship, many scholars agree with the pious tradition which states that the Akathist was composed in the imperial city of Constantinople, "the city of the Virgin," by St. Romanos the Melodist, who reposed in the year 556.

 

 

Having secretly received the command, the Archangel hastened into Joseph's abode and spoke to the Holy Virgin. He Who bowed the Heavens with His descending, is wholly contained, yet unchanged in You. And seeing Him taking the likeness of a servant in your womb, I stand in amazement and cry unto you: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride [3 times].

Kontakion 1

Unto you, O Theotokos, invincible Champion, your City [or "we your people"], in thanksgiving ascribes the victory for the deliverance from sufferings. And having your might unassailable, free us from all dangers, so that we may cry unto you:

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

Eikos 1

The Archangel was sent from Heaven to cry 'Rejoice!' to the Theotokos. And beholding You, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe, and with his bodiless voice he cried aloud to her such things as these:

Rejoice, you through whom joy shall shine forth. Rejoice, you through whom the curse will vanish.

Rejoice, the Restoration of fallen Adam. Rejoice, the Redemption of the tears of Eve.

Rejoice, O Height beyond human logic. Rejoice, O depth invisible even to the eyes of Angels.

Rejoice, for you are the King's throne. Rejoice, you bear Him, Who bears the universe.

Rejoice, O Star revealing the Sun. Rejoice, O Womb of divine Incarnation.

Rejoice, you through whom creation is renewed. Rejoice, you through whom the Creator is born a Babe.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

Kontakion 2

Beholding herself in purity, the holy one courageously said to Gabriel: Your strange voice seems almost unbelievable to my soul; for how do you speak of birth-giving without seed? And she cried aloud:

Alleluia.

Eikos 2

Seeking to know the incomprehensible knowledge, the Virgin cried to him who ministered to her: How may a Son be born from a virginal womb? Tell me! To her he answered in fear, yet crying thus:

Rejoice, O seer of the ineffable Will. Rejoice, O surety of those praying in silence.

Rejoice, you the Preface of Christ's miracles. Rejoice, you the Pinnacle of His commandments.

Rejoice, O heavenly Ladder, by which God descended. Rejoice, O Bridge leading those from earth to Heaven.

Rejoice, O Miracle, much marveled of Angels. Rejoice, O trauma, much dirged of demons.

Rejoice, you who ineffably gave birth to the Light. Rejoice, you who revealed the mystery to none.

Rejoice, O knowledge superseding the wise. Rejoice, You who enlighten the minds of the faithful.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride

Kontakion 3

The power of the Most High then overshadowed the Virgin, that she might conceive; and her fruitful womb He made a fertile meadow for all those desiring to reap salvation, as they chant:

Alleluia.

Eikos 3

Carrying God in her womb, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth, whose unborn babe forthwith recognizing Mary's salutation rejoiced, and with leaps as it were with songs, he cried out to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, O branch of the unwithering Vine. Rejoice, O Land yielding the untainted Fruit.

Rejoice, O Husbandry of the merciful Husbandman. Rejoice, O birthgiver to the Planter of our life.

Rejoice, O Field bearing abundant compassion. Rejoice, O Table laden with an abundance of mercies.

Rejoice, for you make the meadow produce contentment. Rejoice, for you prepare a haven for souls.

Rejoice, acceptable Incense of intercession. Rejoice, Oblation for all the world.

Rejoice, Favour of God to mortals. Rejoice, Access of mortals to God.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

 

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Text © Mother Teresa Center of the Missionaries of Charity

 

 

 

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Mother Teresa Center

524 West Calle Primera,

Suite #1005N

San Ysidro CA 92173

USA

-------------------------------------------------

mtc@motherteresa.org

www.motherteresacenter.org

 

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