This Post is a further development of the Akathist Hymns recently Posted on Zephyrinus, headlined "Saint Anne. Mother of The Blessed Virgin Mary. Feast Day 26 July", which can be found HERE
The Text for this Article can be found on FACEBOOK
"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, O Bride un-wedded,
the world's salvation."
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 Akathist Hymns 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 recognise 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 first part of the Hymn is about the Annunciation to The Virgin Mary by the Angel. It describes Mary’s surprise at the news, Her visit to Her mother (Saint Anne) and Joseph’s doubts as to her innocence. The second part of the Hymn 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 Christ’s Coming, and the amazement of the Angels and The Wise Men at the sight of the Incarnation of God’s Son. The fourth, and the last, part of the Hymn is once more a lyric and rhetorical appraisal of The 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 the human race from Earthly sin.
On the first four Fridays of Great Lent, during the Service of the Small Compline, the Akathist Hymn is observed in the following order:
The chanting of the nine Odes or Canon;
The chanting of the Kontakion with censing ("Ti Ipermacho" - "O Champion General . . .");
The chanting by the Priest of the first part of the stanzas on the first Friday, the second part on the second Friday, the third part on the third Friday and the fourth part on the fourth Friday;
The chanting of the Kontakion with censing;
Veneration of the Icon, with the chanting of the Theotokion, before the conclusion of the Compline Service;
The Troparion of the Saturday of the Akathist is chanted three times;
The first part of the Hymn is chanted;
The first and third odes of the Canon are chanted;
The Kontakion is chanted with censing;
The second part is chanted;
The fourth, fifth and sixth odes are chanted, followed by the Kontakion with censing;
The third part is chanted;
The seventh, eighth and ninth odes are chanted, followed by the Kontakion and censing;
The fourth part is chanted. At the end of the 24th stanza, the Celebrant chants the first Verse of the first stanza: “An Archangel was sent” . . . then continues the whole stanza;
The Kontakion is chanted, with censing, followed by the Veneration of the Icon of The Holy Mother of God, with the chanting of the Theotokion.