Akathist Hymn on Caring for Children

Kontakion 1

Father Almighty, we are Your children, for You created us in Your image. We therefore pray for all little ones, regardless of their upbringing, and we speak as the fathers, mothers, grandparents, godparents, doctors, nurses, teachers, and social service workers who love them, and we say:

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Ikos 1

Let us begin with Saint Emilia, the mother of Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and eight other children. We beseech her to guide each family in kindness and unity. May all parents serve as disciples of Christ, and may each child be a blessing to everyone:

Help us, Holy God, through the tender guidance of Saint Emilia.

Help us, Holy God, for the sake of abundant love and mercy.

Help us, Holy God, from one generation to the next.

Help us, Holy God, in this present time of need.

Help us, Holy God, by the wondrous thoughts of Basil and Gregory.

Help us, Holy God, within the home of every parent and child.

Help us, Holy God, against the cunning of the devil.

Help us, Holy God, upon the path of unceasing prayer.

Help us, Holy God, throughout each child’s spiritual journey.

Help us, Holy God, because every child is loved by every saint.

Help us, Holy God, since You are with us at all times.

Help us, Holy God, into the depths of Your wisdom and joy.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 2

We turn to Saint Felicitas, a fearless woman who saw her seven sons being martyred and who encouraged them not to denounce Jesus Christ. She was accused of offending the pagan gods because she professed the True Faith and raised her boys to love the True God, saying: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

Heavenly Father, we ask for the blessings of these holy sons and martyrs upon our children: Januaris, Felix, Philip, Silvanus, Alexander, Vitalius, and Marcial. After they were martyred, Felicitas was also martyred, and the blood of this family testifies to ultimate truth and loving unity:

Help us, Holy God, to train little ones with words and deeds.

Help us, Holy God, to be models of goodness and cheerfulness.

Help us, Holy God, to guide teenagers in unchanging truth.

Help us, Holy God, to be examples of maturity and steadfastness.

Help us, Holy God, to lead young adults to the triumph of virtue.

Help us, Holy God, to be living icons of worship and fruitfulness.

Help us, Holy God, to say a silent prayer for every child we encounter.

Help us, Holy God, to fulfill the Heavenly calling of parenthood.

Help us, Holy God, to place the Church above convenience.

Help us, Holy God, to put Jesus Christ above covetousness.

Help us, Holy God, to sit together at the dinner table.

Help us, Holy God, to stand in unity on Sunday morning.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 3

We call upon Saint Maurice, a military officer who watched the martyrdom of his son, Photinus, and who himself was martyred afterwards. During all tortures, father and son constantly prayed and were strengthened by the God Who created them, and they glorified God and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

Along with the Martyrs Maurice and Photinus, seventy soldiers were also martyred. Among them were Theodore and Philip, and we implore all these martyrs to intercede for every father and mother, for every son and daughter, and for all those responsible for the care of children:

Help us, Holy God, to scorn the pleasures of the deviant.

Help us, Holy God, to be soldiers in daily prayer.

Help us, Holy God, to reject the influence of the wayward.

Help us, Holy God, to be warriors in eternal truth.

Help us, Holy God, to decline the enticements of the corrupt.

Help us, Holy God, to be families in right worship.

Help us, Holy God, to prepare children in the ways of holiness.

Help us, Holy God, to equip their minds with the Nicene Creed.

Help us, Holy God, to comfort their hearts with the Beatitudes.

Help us, Holy God, to build their souls with Akathist Hymns.

Help us, Holy God, to shape their character with the Psalms.

Help us, Holy God, to fortify their image with sacred icons.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 4

Let us honor Saint Martha, the mother of Saint Simeon the Stylite of the Wonderful Mountain, who was widowed when her son was six-years old. She prayed at night and helped people during the day, while her son became a monk and prayed unceasingly on a pillar, and they said: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

When Saint Simeon was granted the gift of healing, Saint Martha advised him not to become conceited over his achievements  but to give all glory to God. In this manner, mother and son were found pleasing to God, for they lived in prayer, service, and humility:

Help us, Holy God, through the intercessions of Saint Martha.

Help us, Holy God, through the healing ways of Saint Simeon.

Help us, Holy God, to avoid the pride of life.

Help us, Holy God, to give thanks for another day.

Help us, Holy God, for we behold all children as Your creations.

Help us, Holy God, for we treasure each child as Your own.

Help us, Holy God, that mothers and sons seek the Kingdom.

Help us, Holy God, that fathers and daughters pursue eternal life.

Help us, Holy God, because parents and children need one another.

Help us, Holy God, because the trust of a child is precious.

Help us, Holy God, in our quest of loving relationships.

Help us, Holy God, in our hope of spiritual posterity.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 5

Heavenly Father, the Martyrs Julitta and Kyricus are much loved in the Church. Saint Julitta, who was raised a Christian, was widowed when her son was three-years old. She took the boy and fled the city for safety from the persecutors, leaving everything behind, and she said: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

When she was  discovered by the authorities, she said, “I am a Christian.” Kyricus also said, “I am a Christian.” They  threw the boy down the steps and he died of his injuries. Saint Julitta  thanked God for his martyrdom. Then they beheaded her, and she also received a Heavenly crown:

Help us, Holy God, to profess our faith as a cohesive family.

Help us, Holy God, to live together as a domestic church.

Help us, Holy God, to beseech our patron saints for discernment.

Help us, Holy God, to implore our guardian angels for illumination.

Help us, Holy God, to understand each child’s personality.

Help us, Holy God, to appreciate all stages of development.

Help us, Holy God, to nurture the sick child back to health.

Help us, Holy God, to encourage the able ones to serve.

Help us, Holy God, to want children more than we want mammon.

Help us, Holy God, to love them more than we love distractions.

Help us, Holy God, to give the little ones a foundation in Jesus.

Help us, Holy God, to fortify the older ones in purity of heart.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 6

Father Almighty, we see that families can consist of saints and from one generation to the other. Saint Nona was the mother of Saint Gregory the Theologian and the aunt of Saint Amphilochius. She also converted her pagan husband to Christianity, that all might say: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

Saint Nona was truly a woman of faith, committing her wellbeing entirely to God, always helping and praying, and worshipping in Church on every feast day. Though two of her children and her husband died before her, she loved life until she herself died while praying inside a church:

Help us, Holy God, to endure the inevitable trials of this fallen world.

Help us, Holy God, to have faith that our requests will be granted.

Help us, Holy God, to follow Saint Nona in parenting and praying.

Help us, Holy God, to emulate Saint Gregory in theological study.

Help us, Holy God, to pray for the departed souls of loved ones.

Help us, Holy God, to anticipate the unity and joy of All Saints.

Help us, Holy God, to redeem the time and not judge resentfully.

Help us, Holy God, to bear good fruit and not complain bitterly.

Help us, Holy God, to raise children with a love of learning.

Help us, Holy God, to inculcate a desire for divine knowledge.

Help us, Holy God, to bring children into the rational flock.

Help us, Holy God, to help them develop soul-saving habits.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 7

We stand in awe of Saint Mamas who was born in prison after his parents were arrested for professing Christianity, and his parents died in prison. Saint Mamas was raised by a wealthy Christian widow who attended to his educational and spiritual development, and they said: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

Saint Mamas converted other children to Christianity and, at age fifteen, he was arrested and eventually tortured. A pagan priest struck the last blow, and Saint Mamas found a cave where he died a martyr. He met his birth-parents, Saints Theodotus and Rufina, in the Heavenly Kingdom:

Help us, Holy God, that we might adopt children within Your will for us.

Help us, Holy God, that we might become foster parents if called forth.

Help us, Holy God, for we extend our charity to the neighborhood.

Help us, Holy God, for we pray that unbelievers will see the light.

Help us, Holy God, as we endeavor not to neglect the multitudes.

Help us, Holy God, as we wish not to forget the hungry and thirsty.

Help us, Holy God, in our duties as parents and citizens.

Help us, Holy God, in our witness as Christians and Good Samaritans.

Help us, Holy God, though we have sinned and are not worthy.

Help us, Holy God, though we have stumbled but arise with hope.

Help us, Holy God, so that our failings will not damage any child.

Help us, Holy God, so that our love will overflow to each one.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 8

Now we turn to Saint Zachariah and Saint Elizabeth whose child was Saint John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ. Saint Zachariah was a priest in the temple, and Saint Elizabeth was the sister of Saint Anna who was the mother of the Theotokos, and therefore everyone can say: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

Though they were childless, God was faithful and Saint Elizabeth had a son whom she hid from the murderous King Herod. However, they killed Saint Zachariah, and then Saint Elizabeth departed this life shortly thereafter. Yet, they died as holy parents of a holy child:

Help us, Holy God, to be bountiful descendants of the saints.

Help us, Holy God, to continue in the love of our ancestors.

Help us, Holy God, to fulfill our place in the divine plan of salvation.

Help us, Holy God, to bequeath spiritual riches to future generations.

Help us, Holy God, to give each child a sacred interconnectedness.

Help us, Holy God, to represent accurate history and true doctrine.

Help us, Holy God, to contribute to the building of the Kingdom.

Help us, Holy God, to uphold the natural dignity of every child.

Help us, Holy God, to provide safety from perpetrators.

Help us, Holy God, to give protection from childhood trauma.

Help us, Holy God, to guide children in regulating their emotions.

Help us, Holy God, to assist them in managing their reactions.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 9

We beseech Saint Joachim and Saint Anna, the parents of the Virgin Mary and therefore the grandparents of Christ Himself, for they can guide us to fruitfulness as God sees fit for our salvation and for the salvation of others. They became parents in their old age, and they said: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

Saint Joachim and Saint Anna lived in the shame of bareness within the cultural standards of the time, though they never complained but made their requests known to God. They received His mercy, for He created them to be His holy servants and to be loved by the whole Church:

Help us, Holy God, because we trust in Your divine love and mercy.

Help us, Holy God, because we have no other gods before You.

Help us, Holy God, for we suffer various injustices on earth.

Help us, Holy God, for we are the worst sinners nonetheless.

Help us, Holy God, to be fruitful in whatever way pleases You.

Help us, Holy God, to find contentment in Your provision.

Help us, Holy God, that the little ones will be drawn to You.

Help us, Holy God, that the older ones will be faithful to You.

Help us, Holy God, since the worldly try to brainwash our children.

Help us, Holy God, since the decadent want to twist their values.

Help us, Holy God, in our old age when we ourselves need assistance.

Help us, Holy God, in a new springtime if You prolong our usefulness.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 10

Let us praise Saint Cyril and Saint Maria who were the parents of Saint Sergius of Radonezh. He was the second of three sons, and he wanted to become a monk. His brothers had married and were settled in life, and his parents asked him to stay home with them, and he said: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

Heavenly Father, in Your wisdom, You inspired Cyril and Maria to enter monasteries in their later years, and they died in this state. Saint Sergius then became a monk and is much loved in the True Church. In this manner, we see spiritual unity in the family and in the monastic calling:

Help us, Holy God, to thank the monks and nuns who pray for us.

Help us, Holy God, to thank them for continuing the monastic tradition.

Help us, Holy God, to thank the reputable doctors who fight diseases.

Help us, Holy God, to thank them for their dedication to all age groups.

Help us, Holy God, to thank the diligent nurses who watch over the sick.

Help us, Holy God, to thank them for their tender care of the little ones.

Help us, Holy God, to thank the good teachers in the nation’s classrooms.

Help us, Holy God, to thank them for their courage in these harsh times.

Help us, Holy God, to thank the responsible social service workers.

Help us, Holy God, to thank them for their commitment to the troubled.

Help us, Holy God, to thank the first responders all over the world.

Help us, Holy God, to thank them for rescuing children in peril.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 11

We implore the help of Saint Helen and her sons, Saint Milutin and Saint Dragutin. She was a widow who devoted herself to good deeds, including the building of many shelters for the destitute. Before her death, she took her monastic vows and she departed this life saying: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

Saint Dragutin abdicated the throne of Serbia to his brother, and lived as an ascetic in his own grave which he dug for himself. Saint Milutin then became king, and he built many churches and monasteries to the glory of God. Both sons constantly thanked God for all His ways:

Help us, Holy God, for we wish our children to gather with the saints.

Help us, Holy God, for we entreat Saint Helen for her attentiveness.

Help us, Holy God, as our children must navigate society’s systems.

Help us, Holy God, as we therefore ask Saint Dragutin for direction.

Help us, Holy God, in our hope for deliverance from temptation.

Help us, Holy God, in our request that Saint Milutin prepare a path.

Help us, Holy God, that no child is ever lost because of us.

Help us, Holy God, that no parent is ever left alone in distress.

Help us, Holy God, because children absorb what the parents do and say.

Help us, Holy God, because learning is often an unconscious process.

Help us, Holy God, through the difficult moments in family life.

Help us, Holy God, through the cherished victories in Your Name.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 12

Let us conclude our supplications with devotion to the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, for she is the Mother of Salvation and the “summit of humility.” She gave birth to her Son and our God, and raised Him in a pious household filled with love and togetherness, saying: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

Hear us, Theotokos, for you were the joy of your parents and you are the honor of the human race. Through you, through Christ, we are blessed and our children, girls and boys, are given a sublime example of purity of heart and trust in God. We bow before you in the hope of eternal life:

Help us, Holy God, to confess the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God.

Help us, Holy God, to introduce our children to Mary early on.

Help us, Holy God, to uphold the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

Help us, Holy God, to keep icons of Christ and Mary in our homes.

Help us, Holy God, to honor the Theotokos as blessed among women.

Help us, Holy God, to give our children confidence in her intercessions.

Help us, Holy God, to stand with the Theotokos at the Holy Cross.

Help us, Holy God, to raise sober children who renounce all sinfulness.

Help us, Holy God, to celebrate the feast days of the Mother of God.

Help us, Holy God, to assist our children to partake of the feasts.

Help us, Holy God, to respect the Mother of God as the Queen of Heaven.

Help us, Holy God, to know that her purity is greater than our defects.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Kontakion 13

Heavenly Father, we marvel at the examples of holy living which You have given to strengthen our families within the True Church. We live not for ourselves but for one another and to accomplish Your holy will for us. In this, we find purpose, meaning, and joy. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

(Repeat Kontakion 13 three times.)

Kontakion 1 (repeated)

Father Almighty, we are Your children, for You created us in Your image. We therefore pray for all little ones, regardless of their upbringing, and we speak as the fathers, mothers, grandparents, godparents, doctors, nurses, teachers, and social service workers who love them, and we say:

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

Ikos 1 (repeated)

Let us begin with Saint Emilia, the mother of Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and eight other children. We beseech her to guide each family in kindness and unity. May all parents serve as disciples of Christ, and may each child be a blessing to everyone:

Help us, Holy God, through the tender guidance of Saint Emilia.

Help us, Holy God, for the sake of abundant love and mercy.

Help us, Holy God, from one generation to the next.

Help us, Holy God, in this present time of need.

Help us, Holy God, by the wondrous thoughts of Basil and Gregory.

Help us, Holy God, within the home of every parent and child.

Help us, Holy God, against the cunning of the devil.

Help us, Holy God, upon the path of unceasing prayer.

Help us, Holy God, throughout each child’s spiritual journey.

Help us, Holy God, because every child is loved by every saint.

Help us, Holy God, since You are with us at all times.

Help us, Holy God, into the depths of Your wisdom and joy.

Help us, Holy God, and bless our children with truth and righteousness.

A Prayer

Holy God, Your mercy is boundless toward Your creation. You enable us to have families, to raise up children in the True Church, and You give us the capacity to love all children and to desire their salvation. We pray to be worthy parents and caregivers, and to love You for all Your ways. Amen.

 

[The saints are listed in the order of their feast days: Saints Basil and Emilia — 01/01 (Saint Gregory — 01/10), Saint Felicitas — 01/25, Saint Maurice — 02/22, Saint Martha — 07/04, Saints Julitta and Kyricus — 07/15, Saint Nona — 08/05, Saint Mamas — 09/02, Saints Zachariah and Elizabeth — 09/05, Saints Joachim and Anna — 09/09, Saints Cyril and Maria — 09/28, Saint Helen of Serbia — 10/30.]

[Three other children of Saint Emilia, in addition to Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory of Nyssa, are recognized as saints: Saint Macrina, ascetic; Saint Peter, Bishop of Sebaste; Saint Theosebia, deaconess. Saint Emilia’s husband is also recognized as a saint, and is known as Saint Basil the Elder. This information is according to the Orthodox Church in America.]

[Saint Nona had a total of three children, all of whom are recognized as saints: Saint Gregory the Theologian, Saint Caesarius, and Saint Gorgonia.]

[Some of the content of this Akathist was inspired by the writings of Saint John of Kronstadt and Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain.]

[NOTE: This Akathist in no way suggests that financial poverty is holier than or preferable to financial stability. The use of the word mammon, for example, is not in reference to money alone, but is meant to be understood in a broad or whole context: raw ambition for worldly power and wealth, lust for status and material things, such that the spiritual, emotional, and social needs of the family are compromised and devalued. To want children more than mammon is simply an affirmation of our humanity and the centrality of Christ in the family as well as in each individual.

Also, this Akathist in no way suggests that to be bountiful or abundant means that a large family is superior to a small family. Family size itself is not within the scope of this Akathist. Saint Emilia had ten children, Saint Nona had three, Saint Martha had one, etc. Again, the number of children or the reasons for it are outside the purpose of this Akathist, the purpose being the care of children by parents and other caregivers. Words such as bountiful refer to the quality of spirituality and the impact which this has on those in contact with any family and on the entire Church. It also means that childless couples can be bountiful, whether through the adoption of children or through other forms of service.]

 

Copyright © 2019 by Natalia J. Garland
Batch 44, Version 1
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