Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos

Before the Holy Rosary of the West, there was the Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos from the East, composed in the 6th Century in Constantinople by the Syrian St. Romanos the Melodist.

PRAISES

Blessed is our God, always, now and forevermore. Amen.

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, You are everywhere present and fit all things. Treasury of blessings, and giver of life, come and dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O Gracious one!

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal one, have mercy on us. (Three times)

O most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us! O Lord, cleanse us of our sins! O Master, forgive our transgressions! O holy one, come to us and heal our infirmities for your name’s sake!

Lord, have mercy. (Three times)

Glory be to the father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit , now and ever, and forever, Amen.

Our father who art in heaven , hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory, Father+, son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen

Let Us Pray To The Lord.

[Response]: Lord, have mercy!

 

FIRST STASIS

PRELUDE

As soon as the angel had received his command, he hastened to Joseph’s house and said to the ever-virginal one: “Behold, heaven was brought down to earth when the Word Himself was fully contained in you! Now that I see Him in your womb, taking a servant’s form, I cry out to you in wonder: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!”

FIRST CHANT

An Archangel was sent from heaven to greet the Mother of God, and as he saw You taking a body, O Lord,  at the sound of his bodiless voice, O Lord, he stood rapt in amazement and cried out to Her in these words:

Hail, O You through whom Joy will shine forth;
Hail, O You through whom the curse will disappear!
Hail, O Restoration of the fallen Adam;
Hail, O Redemption of the tears of Eve!
Hail, O Peak above the reach of human thought;
Hail, O Depth even beyond the sight of angels!
Hail, O You who have become a kingly throne;
Hail, O You who carry Him who carries all!
Hail, O Star who manifest the Sun,
Hail, O Womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Hail, O You through whom creation is renewed;
Hail, O You through whom the Creator becomes a babe!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

SECOND CHANT

Knowing that she was a virgin, the blessed one courageously answered the angel: “Your surprising expression seem hard for my mind to accept. How can you speak of a birth that is to come from a conception without seed? And why do you cry: Alleluia?”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

THIRD CHANT

Trying to grasp the meaning of this mystery, the Virgin asked the holy messenger: “How is it possible that a son be born from a virginal womb? Tell me.” And he answered her with awe, crying out in these words:

Hail, O hidden Sense of the Ineffable Plan!
Hail, O Belief in silence that must be!
Hail, O Forecast of the marvels of Christ!
Hail, O Fountainhead of truths concerning Him!
Hail, Celestial Ladder, by whom God came down;
Hail, O Bridge leading earthly ones to heaven!
Hail, O Wonder, ever-thrilling to the angels;
Hail, O Wound, ever-hurting to the demons!
Hail, O You who gave birth to Light ineffably;
Hail, O You who told no one how it was done!
Hail, O You who surpass the wisdom of the wise;
Hail, O You who enlighten faithful minds!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

FOURTH CHANT

When the power of the Most High overshadowed the one who had never known the nuptial bed, her fruitful womb conceived, and she became for all a delicious field: for those who wished to reap salvation by singing “ALLELUIA!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

FIFTH CHANT

Pregnant with God, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth and her unborn child rejoiced, immediately knowing her embrace. Bouncing and singing, he cried out to the Mother of God:

Hail, O Tendril whose Bud shall not wilt;
Hail, O Soil whose Fruit shall not perish!
Hail, O Tender of mankind’s loving Tender;
Hail, O Gardener of the Gardener of Life!
Hail, O Earth who yielded abundant mercies;
Hail, O Table full-laden with appeasement.
Hail, for You have greened anew the pastures of delight;
Hail, for You have prepared a haven for the souls!
Hail, acceptable Incense of Prayer;
Hail, Expiation of the whole universe!
Hail, O You favor of God to mortal man;
Hail, O You trust of mortals before God!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

SIXTH CHANT

Filled with a storm of contradictory thoughts, the wise Joseph was greatly disturbed: until then, he had seen You a virgin, and now he suspected You of secret guilt, All-blameless One! Learning that Your Conception was of the Holy Spirit he cried out: “Alleluia!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

 

SECOND STASIS

SEVENTH CHANT

PRELUDE:

As soon as the angel received his command, he hastened to Joseph’s house and said to the ever-virginal one: “Behold, Heaven was brought down to earth when the Word Himself was fully contained in You! Now that I seen Him in Your womb, taking a servant’s form, I cry out to You in wonder: “Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!”

The Shepherds heard the angels singing hymns of praise to the coming of Christ in the Flesh. And running to Him as to a shepherd, they saw Him as a spotless lamb, grazing at Mary’s breast. They sang a hymn to Her and said:

Hail, O Mother of Lamb and Shepherd;
Hail, O Fold of rational sheep!
Hail, O Protection against unseen foes;
Hail, O Key to the doors of Paradise!
Hail, for the heavenly rejoice with the earthly;
Hail, for the earthly meet the heavens in song!
Hail, the unsilenced Voice of the Apostles;
Hail, the undaunted Might of Martyrs!
Hail, O steadfast Foundation of Faith;
Hail, O shining Emblem of Grace!
Hail, O You through whom Hades was despoiled;
Hail, O You through whom we were clothed with glory!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

EIGHTH CHANT

When they saw the Star, moved by God, the Magi followed its glittering light. Using it as a beacon, they found through it the Mighty King, and reaching the One beyond all reach, they rejoiced and cried out to Him: “Alleluia!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

NINTH CHANT

The Sons of Chaldaea saw in the Virgin’s hands the One whose hands had fashioned men: and acknowledging Him as the Master, although He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened to honor Him with their gifts, and cried out to the Blessed One:

Hail, O Mother of the Star Without Setting;
Hail, O Radiance of the mystical Day!
Hail, O you who quenched the flame of error;
Hail, O Light of those who search the Trinity!
Hail, O you who unthroned the enemy of men;
Hail, O you who showed forth Christ the Lord, Lover of mankind!
Hail, O you who cleansed us from the stain of pagan worship;
Hail, O you who saved us from the mire of evil deeds!
Hail, O you who made cease the cult of fire;
Hail, O You who made cease the cult of fire!
Hail, O you who dispelled the flames of passion!
Hail O You who guide the faithful towards wisdom;
Hail, O you, Delight of all the nations!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

TENTH CHANT

The Magi, become God-bearing heralds, returned to Babylon conforming to Your command, announcing You, the Christ, to all, and leaving Herod as a fool who did not know how to sing: “Alleluia!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

ELEVENTH CHANT

Illuminating Egypt with the Light of Truth, You cast away the darkness of error. For the idols, unable to stand your might, fell down, and those who had been delivered from them cried out to the Mother of God:

Hail, O resurrection of mankind;
Hail, O Downfall of the demons!
Hail, O You who crushed the error of deceit;
Hail, O You who exposed the fraud of idols!
Hail, O Sea who drowned the symbolic Pharaoh;
Hail, O Rock who quenched those who thirst for life!
Hail, O Pillar of Fire who guided those in darkness;
Hail, O Shelter of the world, wider than the clouds!
Hail, O Food ,who took the place of manna;
Hail, O Handmaid of holy Delight!
Hail, O Land of the promised Good;
Hail, O You who flow with milk and honey!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

 

THIRD STASIS

PRELUDE

As Simeon was about to leave the present deceitful world, You were entrusted to him as an infant, but You made Yourself known to him as the perfect God. Wherefore he marveled at your wisdom beyond words, and cried out: “Alleluia!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

THIRTEENTH CHANT

The Creator displayed a new creation to us who had come from Him: He came forth from a womb that had received no seed, and He left it intact as it had been, so that at the sight of this marvel, we would sing to her and cry out:

Hail, O Blossom of incorruption;
Hail, O Crown of self-mastery!
Hail, O You who shone forth as a sign of Resurrection;
Hail, O You who displayed the life of Angels!
Hail, Fruitful Tree from whom believers feed;
Hail, Shady Glen where any are sheltered!
Hail, O You who have born the Guide of the lost;
Hail, O You who have birth to the captives’ release!
Hail, O You who unsettled the Just Judge;
Hail, Indulgence of many who have fallen!
Hail, O Stole for those who lack freedom to speak;
Hail, O Tenderness who exceed all desire!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

 

FOURTEENTH CHANT

Now that we have seen this strange birth, let us estrange ourselves from the world and turn our minds to Heaven. Indeed, it is for this that the God Most High appeared on earth as a lowly man, desiring to draw up to Heaven those who cry out to Him: “Alleluia!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

FIFTEENTH CHANT

While fully present amid those below, the uncircumscribed Word was in no way absent from those above: for what happened was a divine condescension, and not a moving from one place to another: and it was a birth from a Virgin inspired by God, who heard these words:

Hail, O Space of the spaceless God;
Hail, O Gate of the sublime Mystery!
Hail, O Message unsure to men without faith;
Hail, O Glory most certain to those who believe!
Hail, O Sacred Chariot of the One above the Cherubim;
Hail, Perfect Dwelling of the One above the Seraphim!
Hail, O You who reconciled opposites;
Hail, O You who combined maidenhood and motherhood!
Hail, O You through whom transgression was erased!
Hail, O Key to the Kingdom of Christ;
Hail, O Hope for the ages of bliss!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]:  Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

SIXTEENTH CHANT

The whole order of the Angels marveled at the great work of Your becoming a man: for they saw the One inaccessible as God become a Man accessible to all, living with us and hearing us cry out: “Alleluia!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

SEVENTEENTH CHANT

O Mother of God, we see the most eloquent of orators become as mute as fish in Your regard, for they could not explain how You could give birth while remaining a virgin. As for us,  marveling at the mystery, we cry out to You with faith:

Hail, O Container of God’s Wisdom;
Hail, O Treasury of His Providence!
Hail, O You who prove philosophers fools;
Hail, O You who prove logicians illogical!
Hail, for You perplexed the inquisitive minds;
Hail, for You dried up the inventors of myths!
Hail, for You ripped the Athenians’ webs;
Hail, for You filled the fishermen’s nets!
Hail, O Retriever from the abyss of ignorance;
Hail, O Lamplight of Knowledge to many!
Hail, O Ship for those who seek salvation;
Hail, O Harbor for the sailors of Life!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

EIGHTEENTH CHANT

Desiring to save the world, the Creator of All came down to it of His own will. Being at the same time our Shepherd and our God, He appeared among us. And so the like called upon the like, and as God He heard: “Alleluia!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

 

FOURTH STASIS

PRELUDE

As soon as the angel received his command, he hastened to Joseph’s house and said to the ever-virginal one: “Behold, Heaven was brought down to earth when the Word Himself was fully contained in You! Now that I seen Him in Your womb, taking a servant’s form, I cry out to You in wonder: “Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!”

NINETEENTH CHANT

O Virgin Mother of God, you are the bastion of virgins and of all those who have recourse to You. For the Maker of Heaven and earth covered You with His shadow, O Pure One, and came to dwell in Your Womb, and taught us all to cry out to You:

Hail, O Pillar of Virginity;
Hail, O Gateway of Salvation!
Hail, O Principle of the new creation;
Hail, O Dispenser of God’s bounties!
Hail, for You restored those born in shame;
Hail, for You gave sense to those who had lost it!
Hail, O You who stopped the corruptor of minds;
Hail, O You who bore the Sower of Chastity!
Hail, Holy Chamber of virginal wedlock;
Hail, O you who join the faithful with God!
Hail, O gracious Foster-Mother of virgins;
Hail, O Bridesmaid of holy souls!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

TWENTIETH CHANT

Every hymn falls short when it attempts to sing the multitude of Your mercies; we could sing to You as many songs are there are grains of sand, O Holy King, without ever doing anything worthy of what You have given to those who cry out to You:  Alleluia!

TWENTY-FIRST CHANT

We see the Holy Virgin as a brilliant luminary enlightening those who live in darkness, for having kindled the Immaterial Light, She leans men to the knowledge of God and fills their minds with radiance, so that She is worthily praised in these words:

Hail O Beam of the Mystical Sun;
Hail, O Radiance of the Light Without Setting!
Hail, O Lightning-Flash that brightens the souls;
Hail, Thunderclap that strikes down the foes!
Hail, for You have raised the many-lighted star;
Hail, for You have opened the many-coursed stream!
Hail, O You who traced the living Model of the pool;
Hail, O You who erased the stain of sin!
Hail, Flowing Water that cleanses the conscience;
Hail, Holy Vessel overflowing with joy!
Hail, O Fragrance of the sweetness of Christ;
Hail, O Life of the mystical banquet!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

TWENTY-SECOND CHANT

 

Because He wished to grant release from all the ancient debts, the One who pays men’s dues came down Himself to those who had spurned His grace; He tore up their obligations, and heard from all of them this cry: “Alleluia!”

[RESPONSE]: Alleluia!

TWENTY-THIRD CHANT

By singing praise to Your Maternity, we all exalt You as a spiritual temple, Mother of God! For the One who dwelt within Your womb, the Lord who holds all things in His hands, sanctified You, glorified You, and taught all men to sing to You:

Hail, O Tabernacle of God the Word;
Hail, O Holy One, more holy than the saints!
Hail, O Ark that the Spirit has gilded;
Hail, inexhaustible Treasure of Life!
Hail, Precious Crown of godly kings;
Hail, Sacred Glory of reverent priests!
Hail, Unshakable Tower of the Church;
Hail, Unbreachable Wall of the Kingdom!
Hail, O You through whom the trophies are raised;
Hail, O You through whome the enemies are routed;
Hail, O Healing of my body!
Hail, O Salvation of my soul!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

[RESPONSE]: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

TWENTY-FOURTH CHANT

O Mother worthy of all praise, You who have given birth to the Word, the Holiest of the Holy, accept this present offering, deliver all men from every affliction, and save from the future punishment those who cry out to You: “Alleluia!”

We Your servants, ascribe to You, O Mother of God, thank-offerings of victory, O Champion Leader, for we have been liberated from terror; but as you have that invincible power do You free us from every kind of danger, so that we may cry out to You: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever-pure!

At the magnificence of Your virginity and Your exceedingly splendorous purity, Gabriel stood amazed and cried out to You, O Theotokos: “What praise may I offer You, that is worthy of Your beauty! But I shall greet You as I was commanded: Hail, hail, O Full of Grace.