Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Akathist Hymn in honor of the Mother of God

First Ode

I shall open my mouth and it will be filled with the Spirit, and I shall sing a hymn to the Queen and Mother and I shall celebrate with splendor and sing with joy of her wonders.

O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

As the Archangel beheld you, immaculate one a living scroll of Christ which the Spirit had sealed, he cried out to you: "Hail, vessel of joy, in whom the curse of Eve is lifted!" O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, O Virgin, bride of God, restoration of Adam and destruction of Hades! Hail, all-blameless one, unique palace of our King! Hail, fiery throne of the Almighty!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Hail, O you who alone gave rise to the unfading Rose! Hail, O you who bore the fragrant Apple in such perfume as to be pleasing to the King of All! Hail, salvation of the world, O you, the ever-Virgin! Now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.

Hail, treasury of purity who raised us from our fall! Hail, O Lady, fragrant lily perfuming all the faithful sweet-scented incense and ointment of great price!
Third Ode

O Theotokos, living and overflowing fountain, strengthen those who applaud you in this spiritual gathering; and in your holy feast make them worthy of crowns of glory. O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, mystical earth, who without plowing have given forth a Wheat divine! Hail living table who support the Bread of life! Hail, O Lady, unfailing fountain of the living Water! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, O Maiden who have borne a Child unto the faithful and yet remained immaculate! Hail, O You who have borne unto the world the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world! Hail, O fervent intercessor for the remission of sins! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Hail, A radiant dawn who alone have borne Christ the Sun, Source of Light! Hail, O dwelling place of Light! Hail, dispeller of darkness and terror of the demons of gloom! Now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.

Hail, O Lady, unique gateway through whom the Lord alone has passed! Hail, O you who, through your maternity, have shattered the locks of Hades! Hail, divine access towards salvation for the saved, O you so perfectly worthy of our praise!
Fourth Ode

He who sits in glory upon the throne of the divinity: Jesus the Supreme God. came down on an ethereal cloud and with his pure hand redeemed those who cry out to him: Glory to your power, O Christ. O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

With faith, we raise our voices in melodious hymns to you who are worthy of all praise: Hail, fertile mountain raised aloft by the Spirit! Hail, lighthouse! Hail vessel containing the Manna, O you so sweet to the taste of pious men! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, immaculate Lady who have brought pardon to the world! Hail, O ladder who through grace have lifted us from the earth! Hail, O bridge who in truth do lead from death to life all those who sing your praise! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, O pure one, more lofty than the heavens! Hail, for without pain you have borne within your womb the Foundation of the earth! Hail, O murex shell, who with your blood have dyed a robe of purple for the King of Hosts! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Hail, O Lady, true Mother of the Lawgiver who granted pardon to those who broke his Law! Hail, O Lady unfathomable depth, inaccessible summit, O ever-Virgin through whom we have been made divine! Now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.

We sing a hymn of thanksgiving to you who have plaited for the world a crown no other hand can fashion and we cry out to you O Virgin, hail! O fortress and protection, shelter and blessed haven unto all!
Fifth Ode

The universe was amazed at your divine glory, for you, O Virgin who knew not wedlock, have borne in your womb the God of all and have given birth to an eternal Son, who grants salvation to those who praise you. O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, all-blameless one who have borne the Way of Life, and have saved the world from the flood of sin! Hail, immaculate one! Hail, betrothed of God to whom was spoken an awesome mystery! Hail, O dwelling-place of the Master of creation! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, Immaculate one, strength and fortress of mankind! Hail, temple of glory and destruction of Hades, light of every bride and joy of every angel! Hail, assistance of those who pray to you with faith! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, O Lady, fiery chariot of the Word, living paradise holding in your midst the Tree of Life, the Lord Himself! The Lord whose sweetness revives the sinners who partake of Him with faith! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Strengthened through your power, we cry out to you with faith: Hail, city of the King of the Universe, of whom songs of praise and glory have been sung and are worth hearing! Hail, O mountain unhewn and depth never fathomed! Now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.

Hail, Immaculate Mother of God, spacious tent of the Word! Hail, O wondrous shell from whom came forth the Pearl divine! Hail, O you who are all-magnificent, and who have reconciled with God all those who bless your name, O Mother of God!
Sixth Ode

Come, divinely inspired, let us clap our hands and celebrate this and most honorable feast of the Mother of God and glorify God who was born of her. O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, O perfect purity, immaculate bridal chamber of the Word, cause of the deification of us all, sweet-sounding echo of the voice of the prophets! Hail, O glory of the apostles! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

From you, O Virgin, came forth the dew through which the flame of paganism was made to die and so we cry out to you: Hail, O Virgin, dewy fleece who Gideon in olden times had seen. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Behold, we cry out Hail to you! Be unto us a shaven and a shelter, for we are tossed by heavy seas, be a refuge in the ocean of our troubles, save us from the snares of our enemy! Now and always and for ever and ever. Amen

O cause of our joy, be gracious to us: enlighten our minds, so that we may cry out to you: Hail, O burning and unconsumed bush, all-brilliant cloud spread out above the faithful!
Seventh Ode

The three Young Men, divinely inspired, refused to worship creatures instead of the Creator. But with courage they trampled upon the threatening fire and sang joyfully: Blessed are you, O all praised Lord, the God of our Fathers! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

We praise you and cry out to you: Hail, mystical chariot of the living Sun! True vine who have given forth a full-grown Cluster, dripping with spiritual wine to fill with joy those who faithfully sing your praise! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Hail, O spouse of God who have borne the Healer of mankind! O mystical rod on whom there came to blossom a Flower that never fades! Hail, O our Lady: in you we find the fullness of Joy; through you, we inherit eternal Life! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

O Lady, the most brilliant speakers fall short when they sing your praise, for you are set above the Seraphim for having given birth to Christ the King! Oh, beg Him to deliver from every snare all those who come with faith to bow before you. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

The extremities of the earth bless you and sing your praise: in their love, they cry out to you: Hail, immaculate one, holy book in whom the Word is written by the hand of the Father. O Mother of God, pray him to write the names of your servants in the Book of Life! Now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.

We your servants implore you, O immaculate one: we bow before you and surrender our hearts to you. Be kind to us, and save us who are drowning in countless sorrows: protect your flock against the snares of the enemy.
Eighth Ode

The maternity of the Theotokos preserved the Three young Men in the furnace. Then it was prefigured but that it is accomplished, it brings the whole world together to sing: O works of the Lord, praise and exalt him for ever. O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Immaculate one, you have received in your womb the Word Himself, and have borne the Sustainer of the universe; you have fed with your milk the Nourisher of creation! To Him therefore we sing: "O works of the Lord, praise Him and exalt Him forever!"

O holy and all-immaculate Virgin, Moses foresaw in the burning bush the mystery of your tremendous maternity and the three young men foretold it and described it in clear words as they stood unscathed in the midst of the flames. Therefore we praise you forevermore. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Through you, the dead are returned to life, for you have given birth to the Author of life! Through you, the dumb are made eloquent, the lepers whole, sicknesses are driven away, and the multitude of evil spirits that roam around the world are vanquished, O Virgin, salvation of mankind! Now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.

O you who have given to the world the salvation through whom we have been lifted from the earth: Hail! blessed and immaculate one, our protection and our strength, refuge and shelter of those who cry out: "O works of the Lord, praise the Lord and bless Him forever!"
Ninth Ode

Let every human being take up a torch and let him dance in spirit, and let the immaterial sprite celebrate this holy feast of the Mother of God and cry out: Rejoice, O all blessed and pure and ever virgin Theotokos. O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

The reader: O Maiden, deliver us who through you have become partakers of the eternal joy, so that we may be worthy to hail you: deliver us from all temptations, from cruel assaults, and from all the miseries that threaten us because of our many sins! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

You are for us an illumination and a safeguard, and so we. cry out to you: Hail, unwaning star, heralding the great Sun unto the world! Hail, immaculate one who have opened the gates of Eden! Hail, heavenly pillar guiding mankind towards the life of heaven! O Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Let us reverently stand in the house of God, and let us sing: Hail, Queen of the universe! Hail, Mary, the Lady of us all! Hail, only immaculate one, most beautiful among women! Hail, vessel who have contained the everlasting perfume that was poured into you! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Hail, eternal Virgin, dove in whom Mercy was born! Hail, pride of every saint, and crown of every martyr! Hail, divine beauty of the just, salvation unto all of us the faithful! Now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.

O Lord, spare your inheritance and dismiss our sins; O Christ, accept the supplication of the Woman who without seed, conceived You in her womb, when in your great mercy you deigned to assume a human form.

Triumphant Leader to you belong the strains of victory, and since you save us from adversity we offer you our thanks: We are your people, O Mother of God. So, as you have that invincible power, continue to deliver us from dangers that we may cry out to you: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.

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, 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!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

Knowing herself for ever pledged to purity, the holy Maiden boldly said to Gabriel: Your strange message appears to me hard of acceptance; for how can you speak of virginity and conception, crying out: Alleluia. Alleluia.

When the Virgin tried to fathom the mystery, she asked the messenger: Tell me, how can a son come forth from my virginal womb? With fear he answered saying to her:

Hail, O you who know the plan beyond description;
Hail, O confidence of those who approach you in silence!

Hail, O preface of Christ's miracles;
Hail, O book of His teachings!

Hail, O celestial ladder by whom the Lord descended;
Hail, O bridge leading from earth to heaven!

Hail, O most renowned marvel of the angels;
Hail, O most painful wound of demons!

Hail, O you who brought forth the Light ineffable;
Hail, O you who cost teach our reason to accept!

Hail, O you who exceed the knowledge of the wise;
O Hail, O you who illumine the minds of the faithful!

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

The power of the Most High overshadowed her who knew not wedlock, and revealed her fruitful womb as a garden of delight to all those who desire to gather salvation, as they sing: Alleluia. Alleluia.

Bearing God in her womb, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth whose unborn babe recognized her greetings. He rejoiced and leaped as if he were singing to the Mother of God:

Hail, O branch of a Tree ever green;
Hail, O soil producing fan imperishable Fruit!

Hail, O you who reared the Labourer who loves mankind;
Hail, O Mother of Him who sowed our life!

Hail, O fertile meadow of mercies abundant;
Hail, O table laden with forgiveness!

Hail, O you who revive the green fields of bliss;
Hail, O you who prepare a haven for souls!

Hail, O acceptable incense of intercession;
Hail, O propitiation for all the world!

Hail, O good pleasure of God among men;
Hail, O access of the human race to God.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

The chaste Joseph felt within him the storm of troublous conflict. He became perplexed as he looked upon you, O Virgin. And he feared that you had been betrayed, O blameless one. But when he knew that your conception was of the Holy Spirit, he said: Alleluia. Alleluia.

The shepherds heard the angels extolling the coming of Christ in the flesh, and they hastened unto Him as unto a shepherd. And when they beheld Him feeding at Mary's breast as a spotless lamb, they sang to her saying:

Hail, O Mother of both Lamb and Shepherd;
Hail, O fold of rational sheep!

Hail, O weapon against unseen foes;
Hail, O key of the gates of paradise!

Hail, for heaven rejoices with earth;
Hail, for earth sings with heaven.

Hail, O unstilled voice of the Apostles;
Hail, O impregnable strength of martyrs.

Hail, O firm support of faith;
Hail, O shining token of grace.

Hail, O you through whom Hades has been despoiled;
Hail, O you through whom we have put on glory.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

WHEN THEY SAW the Star moved by God, the Magi followed its glittering light; and 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! Alleluia.

THE SONS OF CHALDEA saw in the Virgin's hands the One whose hands had fashioned men: and acknowledging Him as 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 never-setting Star;
Hail, O mystical radiance of day.

Hail, O quencher of the furnace of guile;
Hail, O light to those who have knowledge of the Trinity.

Hail, O you who did expel the tyrant from his kingdom;
Hail, O you who did reveal Christ, the Lord, lover of men.

Hail, O you who deliver us from pagan doctrine;
Hail, O you who rescue us from the flames of passion.

Hail, O guide of the faithful to chastity;
Hail, O joy of all generations.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

THE MAGI, become God-bearing messengers, returned to Babylon, conforming to your command. They announced to all that you are the Christ, and they forsook the inept Herod, too spiteful to sing. Alleluia. Alleluia.

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 Pharao;
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!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

AS SIMEON was about to cave 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! Alleluia!

THE CREATOR displayed a new creation to us who had come from Him: He came forth from a virginal womb and He left it intact as it had been, so that at the sight of this marvel, we may sing to her and cry out:

Hail, O flower of virginity;
Hail, O crown of chastity.

Hail, O you who flash forth the sign of Resurrection;
Hail, O you who have shown us the life of angels.

Hail, O tree of delectable fruit nourishing the faithful;
Hail, O shady plant, beneath whose leaves many find cover.

Hail, O you who did bear the guide of the wanderers;
Hail, O you who engendered the Redeemer of captives.

Hail, O intercessor with the righteous Judge;
Hail, O forgiveness for many transgressors.

Hail, O compassionate garment of the naked;
Hail, O tenderness surpassing all tenderness.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.

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! Alleluia!

The infinite Word dwelt among men but was not removed from those above, for divine condescension needed no change of place. His birth was of a Virgin overshadowed by the Spirit of God, who heard these hymns of:

Hail, O sanctuary of God whom no place can bound;
Hail, O gate of the sublime mystery.

Hail, O message hidden from the unfaithful;
Hail, O unquestionable pride of those who do believe.

Hail, O sacred chariot of Him who rides upon the Cherubim;
Hail, O holy abode of Him who sits upon the Seraphim.

Hail, O you who reconciled things opposed;
Hail, O you who united virginity and motherhood.

Hail, O you by whom iniquity was abated;
Hail, O you by whom paradise was opened.

Hail, O key of the kingdom of Christ;
Hail, O hope of eternal blessedness.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.

All the orders of angels were amazed at the great event of Your incarnation, for they saw the God beyond all reach, become a man accessible to all, walking among us and listening to us all chanting: Alleluia! Alleluia!

O MOTHER OF GOD, we see the best of speakers 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, while marveling at the mystery, we cry out to you with faith:

Hail, vessel of God's wisdom;
Hail, treasury of His providence.

Hail, you who expose the foolishness of the wise;
Hail, you who silence the tongue of orators.

Hail, for those who would explain you labored in vain;
Hail, for you dried up the inventors of myths.

Hail, for Athenian subtlety dissolved before your name;
Hail, for you did fill the fishermen's nets.

Hail, you who drew us from the depths of ignorance;
Hail, you who implanted knowledge in many minds.

Hail, ship of salvation to men of good will;
Hail, haven for those who struggle on the ocean of life.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.

When the Maker of all planned to save the world, He freely came among us. At once our God and our Providence, He took our flesh and, having become like unto us, lovingly listens as we cry: Alleluia. Alleluia!

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 this 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 gate of salvation.

Hail, O source of our rebirth to reason;
Hail, O bestower of divine beneficence.

Hail, for you did regenerate our fallen race;
Hail, for you did instill the truth in minds lacking truth.

Hail, for you destroyed the work of corrupter of souls;
Hail, for you did give birth to the sower of purity.

Hail, O holy chamber of virginal wedlock;
Hail, O reconciliation of the faithful with God.

Hail, O gracious instructress of virgins;
Hail, O adornment of the souls of Saints.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

All praise falls short when it tries to comprehend the multitude of your mercies, O most holy King; for if our hymns were as many as the sands of the seashore, they would still be as nothing compared to what you have done for us who sing to you: Alleluia! Alleluia!

WE SEE the holy Virgin as a brilliant luminary enlightening those who live in darkness; for having kindled the immaterial Light, she leads men to the knowledge of God and fills their minds with her radiance, so that she is worthily praised in these words: Hail, O radiance of the suprasensible sun; Hail, O beam of light that sets not.

Hail, O lightning illuminating our souls;
Hail, O thunder that strikes down the enemy.

Hail, for you caused the radiant light to dawn;
Hail, for you made the overflowing stream gush forth.

Hail, O image of Bethesda's pool;
Hail, O remover of the abomination of sin.

Hail, O laver purifying conscience;
Hail, O cup wherein joy is compounded.

Hail, O sweet fragrance of Christ;
Hail, O life of the mystical banquet.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

BECAUSE He wished to grant release from all the ancient debts, the Remitter of all debts came down Himself to those who had spurned his grace, He tore up their obligations, and heard from all of them this cry: Alleluia! Alleluia!

In honoring your maternity, O Theotokos, we praise you, O living temple. For the Almighty Lord who holds all in His hand has dwelt in your womb, sanctifying and glorifying you and teaching all men to sing to you:

Hail, O tabernacle of God, the Word;
Hail, O holiest of all saints.
Hail, O ark guilded by the Spirit;
Hail, O inexhaustible treasury of life.

Hail, O precious crown of pious kings;
Hail, O true honor of zealous priests.

Hail, O unshakable tower of the Church;
Hail, O unbreachable wall of our nation.

Hail, O you through whom the flags of victory fly;
Hail, O you through whom the enemy is destroyed.

Hail, O healing of my body;
Hail, O salvation of my soul.

Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!
Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure!

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! Alleluia!

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? By what name shall I call you? I am lost and bewildered But I shall greet you as I was commanded: Hail, O full of grace.

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