Akathist Hymn to the Martyr Cecilia of Rome

Kontakion 1

God our Father, we thank You for the triumphant martyrs who sacrificed their fleshly bodies and thereby gained everlasting life. Among these was Saint Cecilia, a young and righteous woman who led many souls to Christ our Savior, and so we rightly proclaim:

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Ikos 1

Upon learning that the Son of God came down from Heaven and died on the Cross for the salvation of mankind, you yearned to be united with Him eternally. Saint Cecilia, your mind was fixed on Heaven above and not on earthly satisfaction, and we therefore honor you with praises:

Rejoice, courageous woman who upheld truth even unto death.

Rejoice, for you gave your life in conquest of falsehood and pride.

Rejoice, modest lady who understood the faith of the Apostles.

Rejoice, for you shed your blood in perpetuation of holiness.

Rejoice, wise Roman who crucified impure passions and desires.

Rejoice, for you devoted your time to singing hymns of praise.

Rejoice, bountiful Christian who worshipped in purity of heart.

Rejoice, for you loved and toiled according to all righteousness.

Rejoice, steadfast believer who brought forth nourishing fruit.

Rejoice, for you prayed to live as a stranger to any disobedience.

Rejoice, humble disciple who followed the straight path to victory.

Rejoice, for you scorned temptation and acquired every virtue.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 2

Saint Cecilia, you vowed to dedicate your entire being to Christ our Savior, but your parents betrothed you to a wealthy pagan. You prayed to be delivered from this unwanted fate, and for God to lead the young man to Christianity. With hope in your Heavenly Father, you said: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

An angel was sent to protect your dedication, as you and your husband began life together after the wedding. Thus, you told him about the angel who was there with you to preserve your total dedication to serving God. Saint Cecilia, we stand in awe of your faith and we offer these praises:

Rejoice, beloved handmaid of the God of unfailing love.

Rejoice, for you trusted in God throughout unforeseen turns.

Rejoice, favored instrument of the mercy of Christ on this earth.

Rejoice, for you followed Christ completely in His mysterious ways.

Rejoice, thankful recipient of the Gospel message of forgiveness.

Rejoice, for you cherished every word of the Gospel as truth.

Rejoice, blessed member of the Church in a time of persecution.

Rejoice, for you found meaning in the Church of the saints and martyrs.

Rejoice, earnest partaker of the sufferings of the Savior of mankind.

Rejoice, for you sought the risen Savior and not worldly approval.

Rejoice, gracious leader of the repentant to Baptism and knowledge.

Rejoice, for you treasured Baptism as the doorway to everlasting life.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 3

Saint Cecilia, your husband wished to see the angel. You told him that only the pure of heart could see angels, and that he must be baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He was then curious to learn of the True God, and soon he would say: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

Your husband, named Valerian, who was to be baptized with water and also martyred by blood, listened to your instructions to search out Bishop Urban for the purpose of renouncing the devil and following Jesus Christ. We praise you, Saint Cecilia, for your conversion of precious souls:

Rejoice, our hope of spiritual vitality.

Rejoice, for we flee to you for holy nurture.

Rejoice, our lamp of timeless wisdom.

Rejoice, for we hasten to you for sacred direction.

Rejoice, our wealth of abundant righteousness.

Rejoice, for we beseech you for daily blessings.

Rejoice, our harbor of  welcome tranquility.

Rejoice, for we implore you for tender mercies.

Rejoice, our depth of heartfelt contrition.

Rejoice, for we depend on you for new beginnings.

Rejoice, our fortress of loving protection.

Rejoice, for we rely on you for constant kindnesses.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 4

Saint Valerian traveled the Roman road known as the Via Appia, as Saint Cecilia recommended. Then, he sighted the paupers who loved Saint Cecilia for her charity toward them, and they escorted him to Bishop Urban’s secret dwelling. The kind paupers courageously said: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

Bishop Urban, who was hiding from the cruel persecutors of Christians, immediately praised God for the holy influence of Saint Cecilia upon her husband’s soul. Saint Cecilia, we likewise praise you today as we endeavor to emulate your life of prayer and assistance:

Rejoice, beautiful soul who sought the Kingdom before all else.

Rejoice, for you acquired inward beauty through faith and worship.

Rejoice, young wife who set her husband on the road to redemption.

Rejoice, for you practiced the virtues in words and actions.

Rejoice, generous giver who sympathized with the destitute.

Rejoice, for you gave cheerfully and held nothing back selfishly.

Rejoice, diligent worker who profited from taking the lowly place.

Rejoice, for you lived each day on earth with purpose from above.

Rejoice, renewed being who spread the good news in a dangerous city.

Rejoice, for you died to the old self and lived in humility and endurance.

Rejoice, grateful conqueror who overcame the forces of evil.

Rejoice, for you extended goodwill to the least of mankind.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 5

Upon the Bishop’s thanking God for the toil of Saint Cecilia and requesting conversion for Saint Valerian, an elder appeared to Saint Valerian in a vision. The elder, clothed  in a white robe, told him to read from the book which he was holding in his hands, and Saint Valerian said: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

The book was opened to the words of the Apostle Paul: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Saint Valerian believed these words of truth, and so we again praise Saint Cecilia for increasing the Kingdom:

Rejoice, plentiful contributor of souls to the Heavenly Kingdom.

Rejoice, for the Heavenly Kingdom stirred you to emulate the saints.

Rejoice, great multiplier of believers through charity in God’s Name.

Rejoice, for the God of the martyrs worked through you for the needy.

Rejoice, wonderful builder of the Church which cannot be destroyed.

Rejoice, for the Church filled you with an understanding of creation.

Rejoice, marvelous receptacle of the love of Christ our Savior.

Rejoice, for the Savior Christ sacrificed Himself as the greatest love.

Rejoice, fruitful branch of the only Vine of goodness and mercy.

Rejoice, for the Vine of life infused you with eternal blessedness.

Rejoice, worthy temple of the Holy Spirit since receiving Baptism.

Rejoice, for the Holy Spirit moved you even unto martyrdom.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 6

Bishop Urban baptized Saint Valerian who then went home where Saint Cecilia was in prayer. There, Saint Valerian saw an angel as was his wish, for an angel stood beside Saint Cecilia and held two wreaths of red roses and white lilies, and the angel said: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

The angel told the two saints to guard the two wreaths, which came from Paradise, by living in prayer as brother and sister. This they did, for Saint Valerian had a brother, Tiburtius, and desired to save him even as Saint Cecilia had saved him, and so we continue to praise her:

Rejoice, our guiding light in the darkest hours.

Rejoice, for we see the radiance of your purity.

Rejoice, our enduring song in the longest nights.

Rejoice, for we hear the holiness of your conscience.

Rejoice, our compassionate sister in the life of prayer.

Rejoice, for we pursue the counsel of your single-mindedness.

Rejoice, our kind mother in the struggles of humanity.

Rejoice, for we seek the charity of your spiritual riches.

Rejoice, our enlivening step in the workday fatigue.

Rejoice, for we walk the path of your vitality.

Rejoice, our purifying fountain in the corrupt world.

Rejoice, for we drink the water of your integrity.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 7

As it happened, Saint Tiburtius visited Saint Valerian and felt refreshed from the fragrance of roses and lilies. Saint Valerian told him that it was only through the grace of the True God that he could perceive this wonder. Saint Tiburtius, like his brother, wished to see an angel and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

Saint Cecilia, you taught Saint Tiburtius about the Christian Faith: God the Father and His Only-Begotten Son Who was sent into the world to take away sins, the many miracles, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. We therefore praise you, Saint Cecilia, for your gathering together of souls:

Rejoice, admirable teacher who taught and lived according to truth.

Rejoice, for you vanquished idols and falsehood with the glad tidings.

Rejoice, excellent educator who prepared a pathway to immortality.

Rejoice, for you spoke the words of the holy fathers and forefathers.

Rejoice, tireless worshipper who prayed fervently and unceasingly.

Rejoice, for you thrived on praising and supplicating the Creator.

Rejoice, selfless follower who repented totally and unpretentiously.

Rejoice, for you flourished on obeying and serving the Almighty.

Rejoice, gracious homeowner who lived as though always in church.

Rejoice, for you fulfilled the meaning of conversion to righteousness.

Rejoice, cheerful laborer who plowed sacred fields for catechumens.

Rejoice, for you commiserated with the plight of burdened people.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 8

This trinity of saints, Cecilia, Valerian and Tiburtius, went to Bishop Urban so that Saint Tiburtius could be baptized into the True Church. They realized they were taking a great risk, for the Bishop was still in hiding and the persecutors were looking for him, but the holy saints said: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

They united in a decision for martyrdom and therefore eternal life, rather than consent to falsehood and man’s prideful satisfactions. To be deprived of the Heavenly Kingdom is far worse than the loss of the flesh and the things of the world. Saint Cecilia, do accept these our heartfelt praises:

Rejoice, wondrous saint of God and inspiration of many other saints.

Rejoice, for you thanked God for putting each person on your path.

Rejoice, amazing citizen of Rome and unafraid to reject the idols.

Rejoice, for you traversed Rome as a passageway to the life to come.

Rejoice, faithful witness of Christianity in the midst of hazards.

Rejoice, for you died to worldliness and arose in the ways of Christianity.

Rejoice, loyal friend of Christ even though death was approaching.

Rejoice, for you exulted that Christ trampled down death by death.

Rejoice, zealous ambassador of the Church as formed at Pentecost.

Rejoice, for you learned the precepts of the Church and delighted therein.

Rejoice, ardent seeker of the Kingdom with every prayer and deed.

Rejoice, for you desired to enter the Kingdom as pleasing to God.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 9

After Baptism, not only did Saint Tiburtius see angels, but he and Saints Valerian and Cecilia used their holy gifts to assist others. Together they performed miracles and healings, gave their wealth to the needy, and provided many martyrs of Rome with a proper funeral, saying: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

The brother saints were indebted to you, Saint Cecilia, because you directed them to the True God. You fortified your faith daily and sang hymns perpetually. Yet, you were to be persecuted, for Jesus Christ was persecuted and you were His follower. Thus, we bring forth praises:

Rejoice, our wreath of fragrant flowers.

Rejoice, for we look to you for unwithering gladness.

Rejoice, our crown of glittering jewels.

Rejoice, for we turn to you for unfading virtues.

Rejoice, our benefit of constant prayer.

Rejoice, for we bow to you in spiritual oneness.

Rejoice, our profit of charitable deeds.

Rejoice, for we arise to you in complete unity.

Rejoice, our tower of healing love.

Rejoice, for we sing to you for wondrous assistance.

Rejoice, our height of blessed humility.

Rejoice, for we appeal to you for merciful intercession.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 10

There was a military official, Saint Maximus, who desired to become a Christian upon meeting the holy brothers and hearing them speak. Saint Cecilia  made the arrangements, and Saint Maximus and all his household, as well as many Roman soldiers, were baptized and they said: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

It came to pass that Saint Valerian and Saint Tiburtius were beheaded for refusing to offer incense to a pagan god. Saint Maximus was beaten to death for saying that he saw the brothers’ souls ascend to Heaven. Saint Cecilia, you buried these martyrs, and we praise you for your fortitude:

Rejoice, brave widow who managed the funerals of martyrs.

Rejoice, for you recognized martyrdom as a calling from God.

Rejoice, holy mourner who prayed at the gravesites of loved ones.

Rejoice, for you overcame grief with confidence in eternal truths.

Rejoice, fellow wayfarer who saw angels administering to mankind.

Rejoice, for you toiled and prayed in but not of this world.

Rejoice, true companion who elevated paupers and catechumens.

Rejoice, for you respected the image of God in all people.

Rejoice, meditative being who valued inward purity.

Rejoice, for you pondered on whatsoever things were worthy.

Rejoice, vigorous laborer who expressed outward benevolence.

Rejoice, for you persevered in the whole message of the Apostles.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 11

The governor ordered that all the possessions of Saint Valerian and Saint Tiburtius be brought to him. However, Saint Cecilia had wisely and quickly given every last item to the needy. The governor was enraged and he ordered that Saint Cecilia be arrested, but she bravely said: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

Saint Cecilia, you were not attached to material things, not even to your own youth and beauty, and even less to trends which come and go. You sought only the everlasting joys of Heaven which are incomparably superior and forever, and you are thereby deserving of all praise:

Rejoice, valiant bearer of the Gospel before multitudes of unbelievers.

Rejoice, for you offered the Gospel truths to pagans and persecutors.

Rejoice, bold confessor of the Son of God to hostile authorities.

Rejoice, for you affirmed that the Son is above idols made of stone.

Rejoice, living icon of the Church for the sake of healing the sick.

Rejoice, for you understood the Church as a spiritual hospital.

Rejoice, fearless pursuer of the Kingdom and everything right and good.

Rejoice, for you feared not evil nor the adversaries of the Kingdom.

Rejoice, illuminating ray of Holy Wisdom through the fog of delusion.

Rejoice, for you esteemed Holy Wisdom and pierced all impurities.

Rejoice, willing sufferer of Golgotha in anticipation of eternal joy.

Rejoice, for you accepted the agony of Golgotha as undying love.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 12

Knowing that you would soon be arrested, you began speaking to the people who had gathered at your house. Saint Cecilia, you dedicated your last hours on earth to teaching everyone about the True God Who blesses those Who truly love Him, and the multitudes said: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

You sent for Bishop Urban who came out of hiding to baptize 400 men and women at your house. Saint Cecilia, you were then taken to the governor who questioned your motives. You declared that you spoke only from purity of heart and unwavering faith, and for this we gratefully praise you:

Rejoice, our splendid springtime above blatant deviation.

Rejoice, for we behold the blossoms of your abiding faith.

Rejoice, our brilliant sunlight above manmade confusion.

Rejoice, for we perceive the glory of your blameless suffering.

Rejoice, our unchanging instructor despite the decadent times.

Rejoice, for we recognize the clarity of your renewed mind.

Rejoice, our unflinching witness despite the disturbing events.

Rejoice, for we discern the purity of your transfigured heart.

Rejoice, our total commitment within unstable surroundings.

Rejoice, for we emulate the holiness of your every step.

Rejoice, our complete confidence within unreceptive settings.

Rejoice, for we trust the effectiveness of your perpetual prayers.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Kontakion 13

Saint Cecilia, the governor ordered your beheading. After three strikes of the sword to your neck, your head remained intact and the executioner ceased. You stayed alive for three days, encouraging other Christians in their faith, and then you departed this life. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

(Repeat Kontakion 13 three times.)

Kontakion 1 (repeated)

God our Father, we thank You for the triumphant martyrs who sacrificed their fleshly bodies and thereby gained everlasting life. Among these was Saint Cecilia, a young and righteous woman who led many souls to Christ our Savior, and so we rightly proclaim:

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

Ikos 1 (repeated)

Upon learning that the Son of God came down from Heaven and died on the Cross for the salvation of mankind, you yearned to be united with Him eternally. Saint Cecilia, your mind was fixed on Heaven above and not on earthly satisfaction, and we therefore honor you with praises:

Rejoice, courageous woman who upheld truth even unto death.

Rejoice, for you gave your life in conquest of falsehood and pride.

Rejoice, modest lady who understood the faith of the Apostles.

Rejoice, for you shed your blood in perpetuation of holiness.

Rejoice, wise Roman who crucified impure passions and desires.

Rejoice, for you devoted your time to singing hymns of praise.

Rejoice, bountiful Christian who worshipped in purity of heart.

Rejoice, for you loved and toiled according to all righteousness.

Rejoice, steadfast believer who brought forth nourishing fruit.

Rejoice, for you prayed to live as a stranger to any disobedience.

Rejoice, humble disciple who followed the straight path to victory.

Rejoice, for you scorned temptation and acquired every virtue.

Rejoice, Saint Cecilia, for God was your strength and your song.

A Prayer

Saint Cecilia, we beseech you to uplift our thoughts, for we encounter falsehood and deception in our own time. Embolden us as we attempt to shine as true lights in the darkness of chaos and conflict. Grant us your holy guidance as we endeavor to do only the will of God and to glorify Him. Encourage us to triumph over negative consequences on earth for the sake of everlasting life in Heaven. We thank you, Saint Cecilia, for your great help in our hour of need and throughout our spiritual journey. Amen.

[Bible quotation in this Akathist is from Ephesians 4: 5 — NKJV. Also, the refrain was adapted from Psalm 118: 14]

Copyright © 2019 by Natalia J. Garland
Batch 213, Version 1
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