Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos, Blessed among Women

Kontakion 1

Holy Theotokos, we sing praises of thanksgiving to you, for you pleased only God and willingly gave your whole life to the service of His people. You believed, beyond doubt, in the ability of God to work wonders and to achieve His divine purpose on earth. Through you, blessed Virgin, Christianity was inaugurated in the days of Herod, the King of Judea. In simplicity of soul and with genuine love for God, you became the first Christian. We therefore cry out to you with all our heart:

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Ikos 1

When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to you, blessed Virgin, and told you that the Holy Spirit would come upon you and that you would bear the Son of God, you offered your womb as an earthly Heaven for the Holy One. In full cooperation with God’s plan for salvation, you said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to Your word.” Then the angel departed, and all generations since that day have sung:

Rejoice, humble Maiden, immaculate and full of grace.

Rejoice, honorable Virgin, shining forth a mystery of God.

Rejoice, partaker in divine communication through an angel.

Rejoice, for you spoke with an angel in purity of soul.

Rejoice, in your wondrous womb you carried the Immortal Son.

Rejoice, on earth you gave birth to the Creator and Savior of all.

Rejoice, favored diamond of faith.

Rejoice, righteous ruby of hope.

Rejoice, cherished emerald of charity.

Rejoice, silent sapphire of prayer.

Rejoice, majestic Mother of the Pearl of Great Price.

Rejoice, Sovereign Queen in service to God’s people.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 2

In preparation for the birth of Christ, it was right that other holy events would begin to take place. An angel appeared to the righteous but troubled Joseph, assuring him that you, Mary, would give birth to a Son conceived through the Holy Spirit. The angel instructed Joseph to name the child “Jesus,” and related this name to the prophet’s words about Immanuel — meaning, “God with us.” Joseph then took you home, Mary, as he was commanded by the angel, and together you said: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

Your older cousin, Elizabeth, was righteous and observed all the Commandments, yet she had never been blessed with children. However, nothing is impossible with God. In her old age she conceived a son who would later become known as John the Baptist. When you visited Elizabeth, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and she said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” We likewise offer you praises such as these:

Rejoice, betrothed to Joseph: in you and by you the promise of salvation was brought to the lowly.

Rejoice, cousin of Elizabeth: your faith deepened daily as you took part in the events of salvation.

Rejoice, daughter of Joachim and Anna: you are the fulfillment of their lifelong prayers.

Rejoice, God-pleasing Handmaid: you are to fulfill the prayers of many through your appearances on earth.

Rejoice, for the word of God was accomplished in you.

Rejoice, for you entrusted yourself wholly to His wisdom.

Rejoice, for you are consecrated and without reproach.

Rejoice, for you are resplendent with His grace.

Rejoice, river of absolution for the repentant.

Rejoice, fountain of blessings for the faithful.

Rejoice, meadow of rest for the meek.

Rejoice, tree of good fruit for the trustful.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 3

Giving birth to Jesus, you gave to mankind the meaning of life. Bringing forth Jesus, begotten of the Heavenly Father, you brought forth the Lamb of God and the Head of the Church. We do not believe in a myth, Birthgiver of God, but in Jesus Who lay in a manger and Who continues to live and walk among His people who say: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

Birthgiver of God, through one Divine Child you would obtain an abundance of children. He Who was born a child, would bless children and make disciples of all nations. Your children, gracious Mother of all, do not worship idols or follow false teachers. Your children follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life – Who was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod. In gratitude for our salvation, we offer these humble gifts of praise:

Rejoice, Birthgiver, pouring forth the Light of the world.

Rejoice, Theotokos, bringing forth the salvation of mankind.

Rejoice, for the Son of God became a newborn on earth.

Rejoice, for you cradled baby Jesus with motherly adoration.

Rejoice, for the people from round about heard and saw the Divine Child.

Rejoice, for the Prophetess Anna awaited this day in fasting and prayer.

Rejoice, for even in His infancy the Son of God overcame poverty and persecution.

Rejoice, for He received gifts in the manger and then escaped the murderous rampage of Herod.

Rejoice, Beloved of God.

Rejoice, vision of saints.

Rejoice, Directress of monks.

Rejoice, Protectress of nuns.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 4

According to tradition, the family went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. When the days were completed, holy Mother, you journeyed back home with Joseph and the rest of the caravan. You were not aware that the twelve-year old Jesus had remained behind in the Temple, listening to the elders and asking questions. This marked the end of His infancy and the beginning of His manhood, for He was growing strong in spirit and gaining in wisdom. Therefore within your heart, dearest Mother, you said: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

In fulfillment of His Divine Sonship, it was right for Jesus to begin separating from His foster-father in order to complete all obedience to His Father in Heaven. Holy Mother, the Son of God was sent into the world for a ministry of salvation. This is why the elders in the Temple were amazed at His understanding. The true family of Jesus consists of those who hear the word of God and do it. Since you are devoted to pleasing God in all things, we rightfully praise you thus:

Rejoice, Mother of God, for your Divine Son began fulfilling His duty to lead the people.

Rejoice, Mother of Life, for He began establishing the Kingdom in obedience to His Heavenly Father.

Rejoice, God-loving Virgin, for you raised Jesus in a pious home.

Rejoice, all-holy Lady, for you pondered all events in your heart.

Rejoice, chosen flower of chastity.

Rejoice, marvelous branch of motherhood.

Rejoice, wise woman of faith.

Rejoice, beautiful boast of Christians.

Rejoice, for you attend to our heartfelt prayers.

Rejoice, for Christ God grants your requests.

Rejoice, for you defend those who respect your holy work.

Rejoice, for you protect those who venerate your sacred icons.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 5

When your innocent Son was crucified, blessed Theotokos, you entered into a new kind of maternity. You became the universal Mother of the Christian race, beginning with another son, John the Theologian, who also stood at the Cross of Christ. As the Mother of Jesus Christ, you became the Mother of all who cry out: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

Pray for us sinners, Virgin Mother of God, that we do not crucify Christ again by our sinfulness. Let us not betray Christ, our only Savior, but glorify Him by walking in His teachings. Let us not disgrace you, our only Mother, but honor you by worshipping in purity of heart. We implore you to bless our path and accept our praises:

Rejoice, victorious Virgin, for in the Cross is the triumph of Christ over evil.

Rejoice, glorious Mother, for through the Cross we have salvation in Christ.

Rejoice, for the centurion said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God.”

Rejoice, for the Cross of Christ will transform many lives.

Rejoice, for Christ will rise from the dead.

Rejoice, for all will declare, “Christ is Risen.”

Rejoice, Mother of Christians.

Rejoice, Mother of those who seek salvation.

Rejoice, loyal participant.

Rejoice, royal Handmaid.

Rejoice, confidence of prayer.

Rejoice, consequence of hope.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 6

You have never left us alone or bereft of help, Gracious Lady. You pray for us unceasingly and, from time to time, you have mercifully appeared to the saints for the sake of our salvation. You appeared to Saint Andrew, the Holy Fool for Christ, in a church in Constantinople. Included in this glorious vision were John the Baptist, John the Theologian, and other saints and angels who said: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

Saint Andrew saw you spread your holy veil over the people who were praying in the church. You did this as an indication of your protection of the congregation against all enemies. To this day, now as always, you continue to protect those who believe in your Son and who bring you praises in this manner:

Rejoice, for you revealed yourself to a man at worship in the Holy Church.

Rejoice, for you prayed there with tears for the salvation of the people.

Rejoice, for many people since then have sought your holy protection from the wickedness of this world.

Rejoice, for we also pray that your sacred veil will guard us from physical dangers and emotional distress.

Rejoice, for you are surrounded by a plentitude of saints and angels.

Rejoice, for you attend to the needy multitudes on earth.

Rejoice, for you have given the Church a great celebration: the Feast of the Protecting Veil.

Rejoice, for you gather us together in remembrance of this splendid event.

Rejoice, for God’s plan of salvation continues to work through you and by you.

Rejoice, for we are not forsaken in our iniquity.

Rejoice, for your Protecting Veil is the fruit of your loving-kindness.

Rejoice, for beneath its mercy we may also become fruitful in virtue.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 7

Saint Seraphim of Sarov owed his life to you, Mother of God, for you watched over him with maternal vigilance. You healed him from sicknesses and appeared to him in visions on earth. In one appearance, John the Theologian was at your side. Looking at the bedridden Saint Seraphim, you said to the Apostle John, “He is of our lineage.” We on earth praise your fortification of this mild monk and sincere saint. In gratitude, all the faithful say: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

The acquisition of the Spirit of Peace is the holy way of life taught by Saint Seraphim. Thus, he has saved thousands of souls through his meekness: in the light of Christ, in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and by the loving-kindness of the Handmaid of God to whom we offer these praises:

Rejoice, for the saints of Russia rejoice with all the saints from every time and place.

Rejoice, for the angels of Heaven rejoiced with Saint Seraphim as he prayed in church day after day.

Rejoice, for Saint Seraphim rejoices with those who expunge their bitterness through his peaceful spirit.

Rejoice, for Christians rejoice with all the faithful who say to one another, “My joy. Christ is Risen.”

Rejoice, beloved Mother of the Godly-minded.

Rejoice, honored patroness of monks and nuns.

Rejoice, hidden treasure of the pure in heart.

Rejoice, interior wealth of the virtuous.

Rejoice, Paschal joyfulness.

Rejoice, prayerful immersion.

Rejoice, mystical calling.

Rejoice, maternal tenderness.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 8

Lady Theotokos, we live a world that does not prize virginity and chastity. Not only are we beset with conflict from our passions, but we endure ridicule and pressure from a world that seeks every illicit pleasure. Since you are known as the standard-bearer of virginity and a lily among thorns, we appeal to your help as children to their trusted Mother. In our hopeful expectation of your merciful intervention, we cry: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

Your Son, Jesus Christ, has said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We entrust our purity to you, Ever-Virgin Mary, that we may always live in simplicity and contentment. Protect our eyes, hands, lips and heart. Guide us in our words and deeds. We ask your blessings upon our daily work, so that we may acceptably sing praises in this way:

Rejoice, without your loving-kindness we are like a bird without feathers.

Rejoice, for we yearn to soar above the clouds on the expansive wings of your compassion.

Rejoice, without your purity we are like a house without a roof.

Rejoice, for we desire shelter from sin beneath the magnitude of your Protecting Veil.

Rejoice, for who but you will search for the forgotten ones?

Rejoice, for only you can put them in the right choir and teach them to sing praises to the True God.

Rejoice, for who but you will pity the motherless ones?

Rejoice, for only you can dress them in white robes and present them to your Son, Jesus Christ.

Rejoice, holy Handmaid, for God has given you many children.

Rejoice, gracious Mother, for you adorn the true family of Christ with rich blessings of mercy and wisdom.

Rejoice, transparent gem radiating beams of light.

Rejoice, jeweled crown beckoning angelic delight.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 9

Saint Sergius of Radonezh was an unlearned man who became known as the Abbot of Russia. Not knowing how to read or write as a boy, he met a venerable elder who told him to take the Psalter and, “Speak the word of God without doubt.” This he did, and to the joy of his holy parents. He became a monk and abbot, and his disciples founded many monasteries which proclaimed: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

One night, after reading an Akathist to the Mother of God, Saint Sergius beheld you, the very Mother of God, and you responded to his prayers, saying, “I will be with your monastery, supplying its needs abundantly, and protecting it.” From humble beginnings, Virgin Mary, you are able to spread the works and wonders of the Church through the blessings of Christ our Savior. For this cause, we fall down before you with praises:

Rejoice, for the parents of Saint Sergius rejoice with the holy elder.

Rejoice, for all the saints in Heaven rejoice with the righteous on earth.

Rejoice, for the learned fathers rejoice with the simple monks.

Rejoice, for the monks and nuns in monasteries rejoice with all the people from round about.

Rejoice, for Christ-loving children rejoice with Christ-loving parents.

Rejoice, for God-loving orphans rejoice with you, the God-loving Virgin Mother.

Rejoice, for the abbots and the abbesses rejoice with the newly received novices.

Rejoice, for the upright of ancient days rejoice with Christians in the modern world.

Rejoice, finest star.

Rejoice, loveliest rose.

Rejoice, truest song.

Rejoice, brightest lamp.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 10

Why should God be faithful to us who have been unfaithful to Him? Yet, God is faithful to His plan of salvation. His truth is unchangeable. The constancy of Christ is unwavering. Teach us, Mother of God, to be faithful to God our Father, to His Word, to the truth of the Gospel, and to the precepts of the Church. Help us to faithfully carry our cross until the end of our days on earth, always saying: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

What is a Christian without faith? We trust in you, dearest Theotokos, because you faithfully completed your journey on earth. You lived a life pleasing to God, and now you guard Christians from dangers and heal them of illnesses. Though we are unworthy to behold the beams of light which emanate from your glorious countenance, we entreat you to safeguard our faith as we struggle against the enemy. Let us keep vigilance in prayer and chant praises to you:

Rejoice and uplift our hearts in unceasing prayer.

Rejoice and surround us with the wisdom of the Church.

Rejoice and remove our impurities and grant us peace.

Rejoice and deepen our faith until the end.

Rejoice and search for us when we lose our way.

Rejoice and gather us together beneath your Protecting Veil.

Rejoice and direct us to the things that please God.

Rejoice and enter into the events of our daily life.

Rejoice and renew our spirit and let us say, “Christ is Risen.”

Rejoice and pour forth your mercy upon our path.

Rejoice and reconcile us with the saints and martyrs.

Rejoice and fill our void with the beauty of your icons.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 11

Saint Andrei, a prince in Russia, was a man of prayer and he gave alms to the beggars. You appeared to him, Gracious Lady, and told him to build a church and monastery. The monastery, including the town that blossomed forth, was called Bogolyubov — meaning, “God-loving” or “Beloved of God.” The prince became known as Andrei Bogolyubsky, the “God-lover,” and he commissioned the Bogolyubsk Mother of God icon, saying: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

We are blessed, Beloved Mother of God, to have the prayer which you said over the site of Bogolyubov. “Lord, All-Merciful Son of God, I pray to You. May Your people receive the gift of plenty and may the brilliant ray of Your glory descend upon the holy place.” May God have mercy upon us sinners, pure Mother, and make us worthy to utter praises to you:

Rejoice, charitable Mother, for you have blessed the world with your wondrous appearances.

Rejoice, grace-filled Virgin, for we walk in solemn procession behind your wonderworking icons.

Rejoice, devoted Handmaid, for you have served mankind over the centuries.

Rejoice, faithful Theotokos, for you have not forgotten us who struggle in these latter times.

Rejoice, pure in heart.

Rejoice, true in thought.

Rejoice, sure in faith.

Rejoice, right in belief.

Rejoice, generous in love.

Rejoice, zealous in prayer.

Rejoice, alive in kindness.

Rejoice, forever in blessedness.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 12

In Jesus Christ there can be no bareness. There can be only fruitfulness and spiritual posterity. United to Christ and united in Christ, we share an ancestry and we are commanded to produce good fruit in continuance of the generations that worship the True God. Let us repent before Christ and His pure Mother, that we may bring forth an acceptable harvest and say: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

May we ripen in spiritual maturity and become the good fruit of your planting, Mother of God. You have nourished us wholly, so that we might also produce fruit to the glory of God and to the building of the Kingdom. Pray for us that we plant wisely and reap with the seasons, and that we yield all glory to God as we sing to you, our Protectress and Directress:

Rejoice, because of you, we do not worship sterile idols but the God of abundant life.

Rejoice, for there is no shame for those who believe in the living God.

Rejoice, because of you, we do not serve barren imposters but the Christ of plentiful harvest.

Rejoice, for there is no lack for those who trust in your Redeemer Son.

Rejoice, for your virginity was fruitful.

Rejoice, for your maternity was immaculate.

Rejoice, for your simplicity was virtuous.

Rejoice, for your wisdom was amazing.

Rejoice, Mother of Jesus of Nazareth.

Rejoice, Mother of salvation.

Rejoice, Mother of John the Theologian.

Rejoice, Mother of all the apostles.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Kontakion 13

In our sinfulness, we do not dare to look upon your grace and beauty. Yet, in our yearning for love, we cannot resist running to you for help. You are the humble Handmaid and the glorious Queen who has served generation after generation of Christians. We therefore beseech your forgiveness and mercy. It is a sign of God’s incomprehensible condescension that He allows us to bring praises to you, the Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We acknowledge our unworthiness and we bow to your blessedness by saying: Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

(Repeat Kontakion 13 three times.)

Kontakion 1 (repeated)

Holy Theotokos, we sing praises of thanksgiving to you, for you pleased only God and willingly gave your whole life to the service of His people. You believed, beyond doubt, in the ability of God to work wonders and to achieve His divine purpose on earth. Through you, blessed Virgin, Christianity was inaugurated in the days of Herod, the King of Judea. In simplicity of soul and with genuine love for God, you became the first Christian. We therefore cry out to you with all our heart:

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

Ikos 1 (repeated)

When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to you, blessed Virgin, and told you that the Holy Spirit would come upon you and that you would bear the Son of God, you offered your womb as an earthly Heaven for the Holy One. In full cooperation with God’s plan for salvation, you said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to Your word.” Then the angel departed, and all generations since that day have sung:

Rejoice, humble Maiden, immaculate and full of grace.

Rejoice, honorable Virgin, shining forth a mystery of God.

Rejoice, partaker in divine communication through an angel.

Rejoice, for you spoke with an angel in purity of soul.

Rejoice, in your wondrous womb you carried the Immortal Son.

Rejoice, on earth you gave birth to the Creator and Savior of all.

Rejoice, favored diamond of faith.

Rejoice, righteous ruby of hope.

Rejoice, cherished emerald of charity.

Rejoice, silent sapphire of prayer.

Rejoice, majestic Mother of the Pearl of Great Price.

Rejoice, Sovereign Queen in service to God’s people.

Rejoice, Theotokos, blessed among women: we magnify you.

A Prayer

Holy Theotokos, as we read the Bible and the lives of the saints, we behold your grace and your service to the people of God. You are the most blessed among women, for you were chosen to give birth to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and you cooperated fully with the Heavenly Father. We rightfully exalt you and humbly ask for your direction and protection. Guard our purity, deepen our faith, and guide us to all fruitfulness of life. Show us what is pleasing to God. May our eyes never wander from truth nor our hearts from mercy. May our words and deeds never impede others from beholding your works on earth. We thank you, Lady Theotokos, for you are our true and only Mother. Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Natalia J. Garland

Batch 24, Version 2

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ADDENDUM #1: (June 24, 2017)

1) Regarding Ikos 1, verse 1: the word immaculate is used as a synonym for pure, clean, or virgin. It does not refer to the ‘Immaculate Conception.’ Please note that the word immaculate is never capitalized in my hymns, and is always used as an adjective and not as a religious theory.

2) Regarding Ikos 11, verse 4: the term latter times is not meant to designate the end of the world, but rather our current era which is later than any previous era and which takes into account all of history to this point. In other Akathists, I have used the terms harsh times, complicated times and modern times to mean the same thing.

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