Akathist Hymn on Twelve Icons of the Mother of God

Kontakion 1

O Mother of God, we begin our praises and supplications by turning to your icon of “Unexpected Joy,” for you are the joy of sinners in need of salvation. You illuminate the darkness of our minds and you warm the coldness of our hearts, and therefore we cry out:

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Ikos 1

You brought joy to a young man who prayed before your icon, even as he planned to engage in sinfulness afterwards. He was amazed to hear your voice telling him not to re-crucify your Son. He then regretted his depravity, but was gladdened by receiving unexpected mercy:

Rejoice, for you accept the entreaties of the unworthy.

Rejoice, for you desire the redemption of the unbefitting.

Rejoice, our unexpected hindrance to doing contemptible things.

Rejoice, our unforeseen barrier to speaking detrimental words.

Rejoice, modest daughter who became the Mother of Salvation.

Rejoice, meek handmaid who brings divine joy to the repentant.

Rejoice, our perpetual fountain of loving intercession.

Rejoice, our constant spring of nurturing intervention.

Rejoice, chosen Birthgiver of the Son of God.

Rejoice, favored Temple of the Word of God.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 2

Praying before the icon of the “Seeker of the Lost,” many people have been delivered from poverty, illness, alcoholism, danger and despair. O Mother of God, we who are perishing in our sins and in the hardships of life, bow before you in humility and hope, and we rightly say: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

We see that you saved a man from freezing to death in the snow, that you saved an entire village from contagious disease, and that you saved a widower and his daughters from poverty. We therefore beseech you to visit us in our distress and fulfill our earthly needs and spiritual quests:

Rejoice, seeker of those in the clutches of untimely death.

Rejoice, finder of those in the doom of unsafe places.

Rejoice, deliverer from the shackles of failure and defeat.

Rejoice, liberator from the chains of misery and sadness.

Rejoice, healer of the unloved from scornful rejection.

Rejoice, rescuer of the unwanted from hateful separation.

Rejoice, bringer of relief to those suffering since childhood.

Rejoice, giver of consolation to those stricken in old age.

Rejoice, befriender of everyone who is hidden in prayer.

Rejoice, encourager of all who give from their labor of love.

Rejoice, preserver of the baptized from the deception of demons.

Rejoice, keeper of the zealous from the seduction of imposters.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 3

During the iconoclast heresy, a soldier drove his spear into a widow’s icon of you, O Mother of God. Your injured face then flowed with blood. The widow was divinely instructed to cast the icon upon the sea, and it sailed away toward Mount Athos. The faithful widow watched and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

A holy monk from the Iveron Monastery walked upon the waves of the sea and retrieved your icon. You proclaimed this icon a token of your love for the monastery. Therefore, the icon is known as the “Iveron Mother of God,” and it is gratefully venerated by the monks and all the Church:

Rejoice, wonderworker for the monks who pray in blessedness.

Rejoice, miracleworker for the faithful who worship in earnestness.

Rejoice, for you overcame heresy with your sacred image.

Rejoice, for you conquered falsehood with your holy splendor.

Rejoice, the restoration of those who do not betray you.

Rejoice, the affirmation of those who do not lead others astray.

Rejoice, our shield from the spears of wrongdoing.

Rejoice, our protection from the forces of deviance.

Rejoice, beautiful Lady within the vigils and liturgies.

Rejoice, royal Mother among the icons of the saints and martyrs.

Rejoice, every monk’s hope to carry the cross of sacrifice.

Rejoice, every widow’s pursuit to live a life of virtue.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 4

O Mother of God, as you set sail to Cyprus, a storm arose and blew the boat off course. You landed on a peninsula, today’s Mount Athos, and the pagan idols toppled when your feet touched the shore. You declared this place a haven of worship of the True God, that all might say: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

You are therefore known as the “Abbess of Mount Athos” and, in the icon, you are standing on this holy mountain with your staff in hand. You are the sacred Abbess of every monastery and cave, the foremost head of all the monks, the summit and lily, and Heavenly mediator:

Rejoice, and be the Abbess-bountiful to all who hope and trust.

Rejoice, and be the Abbess-watchful over all monastic habitats.

Rejoice, and count us among those who are pleasing to you.

Rejoice, and gather us with those who are sheltered by you.

Rejoice, and establish our hearts in charity.

Rejoice, and inscribe our minds with wisdom.

Rejoice, and fortify the monks to keep their vows.

Rejoice, and strengthen the solitaries to pray unceasingly.

Rejoice, and arrange every home into a domestic church.

Rejoice, and form every icon corner into a refuge of daily prayer.

Rejoice, and expose our idols as nothing but brittle material.

Rejoice, and uncover our sins that we may repent and sin no more.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 5

Let us remember Saint John of Damascus who was an ardent defender of the Church, for he was accused of treason against an iconoclastic city official. O Mother of God, you love those who follow your Son, and you tenderly respond to everyone who says: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

The official punished Saint John by cutting off his hand. Saint John then took the severed hand and applied it to his arm, praying to you, O Mother of God, and you restored it to life. Hence, we have the icon “Of Three Hands,” in which Saint John’s miraculous hand yields to Mother and Son:

Rejoice, for Saint John trusted in your loving-kindness.

Rejoice, for the Church thereby acquired another holy icon.

Rejoice, replenishment of all who have been aggrieved.

Rejoice, rekindling of all who have been demoralized.

Rejoice, generous supply of icons to comfort those in need.

Rejoice, pure image of beauty to assure those in prayer.

Rejoice, the only Mother of God and all-hymned intercessor.

Rejoice, the only Queen of Heaven and all-praised mediator.

Rejoice, our gateway to deliverance and righteousness.

Rejoice, our pathway to obedience and fruitfulness.

Rejoice, because you heal our hands to do the will of God.

Rejoice, because you uphold our desire to serve Him.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 6

In the town of Ahktyrsk, in the land of Russia, a priest was cutting the grass with his new scythe in a field near the church. There he saw your radiant icon, O Mother of God, and he took it home and kept it for three years. The icon is called the “Mother of God Ahktyrskaya,” and we all say: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

You instructed him to wash the icon, in which you are praying to your Son on the Cross, and the water thereby became holy. The priest’s daughter was healed of malaria by drinking of that water. Empress Elizabeth built a church for the icon and Saint Joasaph of Belgorod blessed the cornerstone:

Rejoice, that we may behold the brilliance of your countenance.

Rejoice, that we may drink of the blessings from your icons.

Rejoice, that our prayers arise from purity of heart.

Rejoice, that our thoughts reflect the mind of the Church.

Rejoice, that the priests know your Son and Him crucified.

Rejoice, that the people taste and see as a royal priesthood.

Rejoice, that every field is radiant with souls to be harvested.

Rejoice, that every home is glowing in the warmth of Godliness.

Rejoice, that All Saints guide the faithful in truth and mercy.

Rejoice, that all of Heaven rejoices over a sinner who repents.

Rejoice, that Saint Joasaph might guide our activities.

Rejoice, that the holy Bishop might bless our endeavors.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 7

The “Sitka Mother of God” icon, painted in the style of the “Kazan” icon, rests in a cathedral in the city of Sitka, in the land of Alaska, far to the north of mainland America. O Mother of God, in that place of missionaries and Native Peoples, your love caused everyone to say: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

The faithful are amazed at the beauty of your icon, O Mother of God, by the sincerity of your face which draws in our prayers and offers healing of our afflictions. We pray to you today, in humility and gratitude, for mercy and illumination, and to be made alive in Christ your Son and our God:

Rejoice, most plentiful Mother who nourishes Christ’s true family.

Rejoice, most beloved Mother who cherishes Natives as her own.

Rejoice, for your Son came to give life more abundantly.

Rejoice, for the Child in your arms is the light of the world.

Rejoice, flowing forth with kindness and transformation.

Rejoice, pouring out with tenderness and reconciliation.

Rejoice, our merciful benefactor who loves pious households.

Rejoice, our gracious protector who invites us to her wondrous icons.

Rejoice, caregiver to those whom your Son was born to save.

Rejoice, sanctuary to those who believe all things are possible with God.

Rejoice, the integrity of the ancient Faith.

Rejoice, the honor of the apostolic Church.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 8

O Mother of God, you are attentive to the needs of all kinds of people, including the emotionally disturbed. There was a woman who tried to take her own life, with repeated attempts, but then she prayed to you and promised to become a nun if healed, and she said: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

You were patient with her for, although you did not fail her, she failed in her promise and got worse. You appeared to her and told her to go to a certain monastery and have an icon painted, the “Mother of God of the Passion,” which healed her again as well as many others:

Rejoice, illuminator of each day with rays of sacredness.

Rejoice, protector of each household with beams of holiness.

Rejoice, revealer of staggering peaks of mercy.

Rejoice, sender of rolling waves of compassion.

Rejoice, cultivator of wholesomeness in the young.

Rejoice, enricher of fruitfulness in the old.

Rejoice, receiver of the prayers of the distraught.

Rejoice, welcomer of the repentance of the sorrowful.

Rejoice, maker of gladsome hearts.

Rejoice, builder of rational minds.

Rejoice, helper of those who love you.

Rejoice, preserver of those who love your Son.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 9

The Old Testament foretold of your purity and beauty, O Mother of God. We see that God called to Moses from the midst of a bush which was burning with fire but not consumed. Thus, we now have the icon of the “Mother of God of the Unburnt Bush,” and to this we say: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

The meaning of the Unburnt Bush is that you gave birth to your Son and our God while remaining Virgin. You are shown with the Christ Child and within in a symbolic burning bush with shapes of stars and petals, and these contain portrayals of the Archangels and the Four Evangelists:

Rejoice, admired by the Archangels who serve God.

Rejoice, prized by the Four Evangelists who testify of Christ.

Rejoice, wonderful Mother containing Very God in her womb.

Rejoice, marvelous Virgin enclosing One of the Holy Trinity.

Rejoice, for your beauty gave rise to the Sun of Righteousness.

Rejoice, for your purity brought forth the Salvation of mankind.

Rejoice, the dwelling-place of the Divine.

Rejoice, the fleshly garment of your Creator and Child.

Rejoice, because the Church exalts your giving birth to God.

Rejoice, because you are indisputably the Mother of God.

Rejoice, celebration of our forefathers and fathers.

Rejoice, joy of strangers and all creatures on earth.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 10

There was a woman who had an incurable disease for many years. Yet, she always said her daily prayers. One morning as she prayed, she heard you, O Mother of God, telling her to go to a certain church where she would find your icon, the “Joy of All Who Sorrow.” She obeyed and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

The priest of that church celebrated a Molieben and a blessing of water, after which the woman was healed of her infirmity. O Mother of God, in your icon, the suffering implore your help as the painted scrolls express: the injured, weak, poor, sorrowing, hungry, naked, and ill:

Rejoice, and have pity on the multitudes in need of holy direction.

Rejoice, and have mercy on a world in need of true counsel.

Rejoice, and hear the prayers of those who can barely cry out.

Rejoice, and see the pain of those who can hardly go to church.

Rejoice, and let no one sleep tonight without peace.

Rejoice, and let no one awake tomorrow without trust.

Rejoice, and fulfill our lifelong quest for purity of being.

Rejoice, and satisfy our immediate want of necessities.

Rejoice, and equip us that we may be of assistance to others.

Rejoice, and enliven us that we may be of service to the Church.

Rejoice, and feed the hungry with everlasting bread.

Rejoice, and clothe the naked in radiant apparel.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 11

In a monastery on Mount Athos, the cook carried a burning torch into the kitchen, whereupon you warned him, O Mother of God, not to get soot on your icon. He did not heed your voice and was struck blind. All the monks then venerated your icon properly, and they truly said: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

The monk was forgiven and his sight was returned to him. You told the monks that you would be the protector of the monastery, and that you would intercede before your Son for all their petitions to be speedily fulfilled. Hence, we have the icon, “She Who Is Quick to Hear:”

Rejoice, she who both restores and blesses the contrite.

Rejoice, she who carries her intercessions before Christ our God.

Rejoice, our speedy and unfailing aid in our travails and hardships.

Rejoice, our quick and trustworthy help in our weaknesses and frailty.

Rejoice, advising us to avoid the consequences of gross negligence.

Rejoice, instructing us to guard against everyday carelessness.

Rejoice, responsive even when we are unaware of it.

Rejoice, attentive to many things which we take for granted.

Rejoice, for you assemble believers together in work and prayer.

Rejoice, for you give beautiful icons to be carried in procession.

Rejoice, the devotion of a people of true theology.

Rejoice, the wealth of a culture of tender mercies.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 12

O Mother of God, during the time of Tatar brutalism in the land of Russia, the city of Kursk was horribly attacked. Yet, outside the city, a hunter found one of your icons lying face down on a tree root. He picked it up and straightway a spring of water was released, and the hunter said: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

That icon is called the “Kursk Root,” or the “Mother of God of the Sign,” symbolizing the moment of conception, for humans are created in the image of God at conception. You have therefore given us a sign that you pray for us to be spared from all forms of destruction:

Rejoice, that all c0untries and peoples might venerate your icons.

Rejoice, that all cities and villages might worship rightly.

Rejoice, that we recognize the image of God in our neighbors.

Rejoice, that we regard ourselves as the first among sinners.

Rejoice, that the unborn are cherished from the beginning.

Rejoice, that the child belongs to God and is entrusted to parents.

Rejoice, that our nation will be God-loving and a beacon of light.

Rejoice, that our land will be protected from disasters and wars.

Rejoice, that the Bible is neither added to nor subtracted from.

Rejoice, that the Church prevails through heresies and worldliness.

Rejoice, that those who repent shall be restored.

Rejoice, that those who pray shall be spared.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Kontakion 13

O Mother of God, your holy icons, at different times and in different places, have aided those who repent and pray. We treasure your icons in our churches and homes, and we trust in your mercy upon our sufferings. We give thanks for your purity and beauty. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

(Repeat Kontakion 13 three times.)

Kontakion 1 (repeated)

O Mother of God, we begin our praises and supplications by turning to your icon of “Unexpected Joy,” for you are the joy of sinners in need of salvation. You illuminate the darkness of our minds and you warm the coldness of our hearts, and therefore we cry out:

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

Ikos 1 (repeated)

You brought joy to a young man who prayed before your icon, even as he planned to engage in sinfulness afterwards. He was amazed to hear your voice telling him not to re-crucify your Son. He then regretted his depravity, but was gladdened by receiving unexpected mercy:

Rejoice, for you accept the entreaties of the unworthy.

Rejoice, for you desire the redemption of the unbefitting.

Rejoice, our unexpected hindrance to doing contemptible things.

Rejoice, our unforeseen barrier to speaking detrimental words.

Rejoice, modest daughter who became the Mother of Salvation.

Rejoice, meek handmaid who brings divine joy to the repentant.

Rejoice, our perpetual fountain of loving intercession.

Rejoice, our constant spring of nurturing intervention.

Rejoice, chosen Birthgiver of the Son of God.

Rejoice, favored Temple of the Word of God.

Rejoice, Mother of God, shining forth in purity and beauty, and save us who flee to your holy icons.

A Prayer

We implore you, O Mother of God, to forgive our sins against you, against your Son and our God, and against the Church. In sorrow, we repent, like many others who came to a realization of their sinfulness as they stood before your  icons. In humility, we thrive on your generous kindnesses. It is also through your holy icons that we become more appreciative of your intercessions, and we thank you for giving birth to our Savior. We pray never to re-crucify Christ, nor to grieve you, nor to stray from the Church, but to live each day in holiness and according to the will of God. Amen.

[The icons are listed in the order of their feast days: Unexpected Joy – 01/25, Seeker of the Lost – 02/05, Iveron – 02/12, Abbess of Mount Athos – 04/04, Three Hands – 06/28, Ahktyrskaya – 07/02, Sitka – 07/08, Passion – 08/13, Unburnt Bush – 09/04, Joy of All Who Sorrow – 10/24, Quick to Hear – 11/09, Of the Sign – 11/27.]

Disclaimer: This Akathist was written as a matter of personal faith and historical reports and/or legends. The author cannot guarantee that the reading or praying of this Akathist will result in the healing of body, mind, or soul, rescue from harm or danger, resolution of any matters, or alleviation of any kind of hardship or pain whatsoever. If this Akathist is read as a prayer, then such a standpoint is within the context of the reader’s personal approach to God and the reader’s belief system. The author is not responsible for the use or misuse of this Akathist.

Copyright © 2018 by Natalia J. Garland
Batch 1018, Version 2
This material may be reprinted and redistributed for personal and non-profit uses only.