Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos

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The Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos

(Trisagion Prayers)

Having secretly received the command, the Archangel hastened into Joseph’s abode and spoke to the Holy Virgin. He Who bowed the Heavens with His descending, is wholly contained, yet unchanged in You. And seeing Him taking the likeness of a servant in your womb, I stand in amazement and cry unto you:

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin [3 times].  

Kontakion 1

Unto you, O Theotokos, invincible Champion, your City, in thanksgiving ascribes the victory for the deliverance from sufferings. And having your might unassailable, free us from all dangers, so that we may cry unto you:

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Ikos 1

The Archangel was sent from Heaven to cry ‘Rejoice!’ to the Theotokos. And beholding You, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe, and with his bodiless voice he cried aloud to her such things as these:

Rejoice, you through whom joy shall shine forth.
Rejoice, you whom the curse will vanish.
Rejoice, the Restoration of fallen Adam.
Rejoice, the Redemption of the tears of Eve.
Rejoice, O Height beyond human logic.
Rejoice, O depth invisible even to the eyes of Angels.
Rejoice, for you are the King’s throne.
Rejoice, you bear Him, Who bears the universe.
Rejoice, O Star revealing the Sun.
Rejoice, O Womb of divine Incarnation.
Rejoice, you through whom creation is renewed.
Rejoice, you through whom the Creator is born a Babe.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 2

Beholding herself in purity, the holy one courageously said to Gabriel: Your strange voice seems almost unbelievable to my soul; for how do you speak of birth-giving without seed? crying aloud: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

Seeking to know the incomprehensible knowledge, the Virgin cried to him who ministered to her: How many a Son be born from a virginal womb? Tell me! To her he answered in fear, yet crying thus:

Rejoice, O seer of the ineffable Will.
Rejoice, O surety of those praying in silence.
Rejoice, you the Preface of Christ’s miracles.
Rejoice, you the Pinnacle of His commandments.
Rejoice, O heavenly Ladder, by which God descended.
Rejoice, O Bridge leading those from earth to Heaven.
Rejoice, O Miracle, much marveled of Angels.
Rejoice, O trauma, much dirged of demons.
Rejoice, you who ineffably gave birth to the Light.
Rejoice, you who revealed the mystery to none.
Rejoice, O knowledge superceding the wise.
Rejoice, You who enlightens the minds of the faithful.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin

Kontakion 3

The power of the Most High then overshadowed the Virgin, that she might conceive; and her fruitful womb He made a fertile meadow for all those desiring to reap salvation, as they chant: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

Carrying God in her womb, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth, whose unborn babe forthwith recognizing Mary’s salutation rejoiced, and with leaps as it were with songs, he cried out to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, O branch of the unwithering Vine.
Rejoice, O Land yielding the untainted Fruit.
Rejoice, O Husbandry of the merciful Husbandman.
Rejoice, O birthgiver to the Planter of our life.
Rejoice, O Field bearing abundant compassion.
Rejoice, O Table laden with an abundance of mercies.
Rejoice, for you make the meadow produce contentment.
Rejoice, for you prepare a haven for souls.
Rejoice, acceptable Incense of intercession.
Rejoice, Oblation for all the world.
Rejoice, Favour of God to mortals.
Rejoice, Access of mortals to God.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 4

Having doubtful thoughts, the righteous Joseph was troubled; for he suspected a secret union as he beheld you unwed, O blameless one; but when he learned of your conception through the Holy Spirit, he cried: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

On hearing the Angels praising the incarnate presence of Christ, the shepherds hastened as to a Shepherd, and beholding Him as a spotless Lamb, pastured in Mary’s womb, her they hymned, and said:

Rejoice, Mother of the Lamb and Shepherd.
Rejoice, Fold of the rational sheep.
Rejoice, O Defense against invisible foes.
Rejoice, Opener of the gates of Paradise.
Rejoice, for the things of Heaven rejoice with the earth.
Rejoice, the things of earth join chorus with the Heavens.
Rejoice, never-silent Voice of the Apostles.
Rejoice, never-conquered Courage of the Martyrs.
Rejoice, firm Support of the Faith.
Rejoice, shining Token of grace.
Rejoice, you through whom Hades was laid bare.
Rejoice, you through whom we are clothed with glory.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 5

Beholding the Godward-pointing Star, the Magi followed it radiance; and holding it as a lantern, they sought through it the mighty King. And having approached the Unreachable, they rejoiced and cried to Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

The sons of the Chaldees saw in the hands of the Virgin Him Who by His hand fashioned man; and sensing Him as Lord, even though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened with gifts to do homage, and they cried out to her who is blessed:

Rejoice, Mother of the never-setting Star.
Rejoice, Dawn of the mystic Day.
Rejoice, you who has quenched the fiery furnace of error.
Rejoice, you who enlightens the initiates of the Trinity.
Rejoice, you who has removed the inhuman tyrant from power.
Rejoice, you who has shown Christ, the man-befriending Lord.
Rejoice, you who has redeemed us from the pagan religion.
Rejoice, you who has rescued us from the works of mire.
Rejoice, you who ceased the worship of fire.
Rejoice, you who saves us from the flames of passions.
Rejoice, Guide of the faithful to chastity.
Rejoice, O Delight of all generations.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 6

Having become God-bearing heralds, the Magi returned to Babylon. Fulfilling Your prophecy, and having preached You as the Christ to all, they left Herod as a trifler, who knew not how to chant: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

Having shed the light of truth in Egypt, You expelled the darkness of falsehood; and unable to bear Your strength, O Saviour, her idols fell; and they that were set free from them cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, Uplifting of men.
Rejoice, Downfall of demons.
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the delusion of error.
Rejoice, you who censured the deceit of the idols.
Rejoice,Sea which drowned the symbolic Pharoah.
Rejoice, Rock which refreshed those thirsting for life.
Rejoice, Pillar of fire, guiding those in darkness.
Rejoice, Protection of the world, more spacious than a cloud.
Rejoice, Nourishment, successor to manna.
Rejoice, Minister of holy joy.
Rejoice, Land of promise.
Rejoice, you from whom flows milk and honey.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 7

When Symeon was prepared to leave from this age of deception, You were presented to him as a newborn Babe, but he recognized You as perfect God. Wherefore, he marvelled at Your ineffable wisdom, chanting: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

New was the Creation which the Creator showed to us His creatures, when He sprang forth from the seedless womb; and He preserved it incorrupt, even as it was, that we, seeing this Miracle, may praise her saying:

Rejoice, Flower of incorruption.
Rejoice, Crown of self-restraint.
Rejoice, O shining Token of Resurrection.
Rejoice, you whom reflects the life of the Angels.
Rejoice, Tree of delectable Fruit that nourishes the faithful.
Rejoice, well-shaded Tree under which many find shelter.
Rejoice you who bears the Guide of those astray.
Rejoice, you who gives birth to the Redeemer of captives.
Rejoice, Intercession before the righteous Judge.
Rejoice, Forgiveness for many transgressors.
Rejoice, Robe of confidence for those bare of courage.
Rejoice, Tenderness conquering all desire.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 8

Seeing a strange childbirth, let us estrange ourselves from the world by transporting our minds to Heaven; to this end the Most High God appeared on earth a lowly man, that He might draw to the heights those who cry out to Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

The Infinite Word was wholly present with those on earth, yet never absent from those in Heaven; for this was a divine condescension and not a mere change of place; and His birth was from a Virgin chosen of God, who heard such words as these:

Rejoice, Land of the Uncontained God.
Rejoice, Gate of the sacred mystery.
Rejoice, doubtful Rumour of the faithless.
Rejoice, undoubtful Pride of the faithful.
Rejoice, all-holy Chariot of Him Who is above the Cherubim.
Rejoice, most excellent Dwelling-place of Him Who is above the Seraphim.
Rejoice, you who conducts the opposites of unity.
Rejoice, you who has woven maidenhood into motherhood.
Rejoice, you through whom transgression is annulled.
Rejoice, you through whom Paradise is open.
Rejoice, Key of the Kingdom of Christ.
Rejoice, Hope of eternal blessings.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin

Kontakion 9

All angel-kind was amazed by the great deed of Your Incarnation; for they saw the inaccessible God as Man accessible to all, dwelling among is and hearing from all: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

Orators most eloquent do we behold mute as fish before you, O Theotokos; for they are at loss to explain how you could remain a virgin and yet give birth. But as for us, marvelling at this mystery, we cry with faith:

Rejoice, Vessel of the Wisdom of God.
Rejoice, Treasury of His providence.
Rejoice, you who proves the philosophers fools.
Rejoice, you who proves the logicians illogical.
Rejoice, for the subtle debaters are confounded.
Rejoice, for the inventors of myths are faded away.
Rejoice, you who breaks the webs of the Athenians.
Rejoice, you who fills the nets of the Fishermen.
Rejoice, who draws us from the depths of ignorance.
Rejoice, you who enlightens many with knowledge.
Rejoice, Raft for those who desire to be saved.
Rejoice, Haven for those who fare on the sea of life.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 10

Wishing to save the world, to this end did the Ruler of all come of His own will; and, though as God He is the Shepherd, for us He appeared as a Man like us; for by this likeness He called those of like kind, yet as God He hears: Alleluia

Ikos 10

You are a fortress protecting all virgins, O Theotokos and Virgin; for the Master of heaven and earth prepared you, O Immaculate One, and dwelt in your womb, and taught all to cry out to you:

Rejoice, Pillar of virginity.
Rejoice, Gate of salvation.
Rejoice, Leader of spiritual restoration.
Rejoice, Bestower of divine goodness.
Rejoice, for you regenerated those conceived in shame.
Rejoice, for you gave guidance to the thoughtless.
Rejoice, you who abolished the corrupter of hearts.
Rejoice, you who gave birth to the Sower of chastity.
Rejoice, bridal Chamber of a seedless marriage.
Rejoice, you who joined the faithful to the Lord.
Rejoice, fair Nursing-mother of virgins.
Rejoice, bridal Escort of holy souls.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 11

Defeated is every hymn that strives to pay homage to the multitude of Your many compassions; for even should we offer You, O holy King, odes of praise numberless as the sands, we should still have done nothing worthy of what You have given to us who cry to You: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

As a brilliant beacon-light shining to those in darkness do we behold the holy Virgin; for she kindles the celestial Light and leads all to divine knowledge; she illuminates our minds with radiance and is honoured by these our cries:

Rejoice, Ray of the spiritual Sun.
Rejoice, Beam of the innermost Splendour.
Rejoice, Lightning, enlightening our souls.
Rejoice, Thunder, striking down the enemy.
Rejoice, for you caused the many-starred Light to dawn.
Rejoice, for you caused the ever-flowing River to gush forth.
Rejoice, you who depicts the image of the Font of Siloam.
Rejoice, you who washes away the stain of sin.
Rejoice, Laver purifying conscience.
Rejoice, Wine-bowl over-filled with joy.
Rejoice, sweet-scented Fragrance of Christ.
Rejoice, Life of mystic festival.

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin

Kontakion 12

Wishing to bestow His grace, He that forgives the ancient debts of all mankind came of His own will to dwell among those who departed from His favor; and tearing up writ of indebtedness, He hears from all: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

Whilst praising your Offspring, we all praise you, O Theotokos, as a living temple; for the Lord, Who holds all things in His hand, dwelt in your womb, and He sanctified and glorified you, and taught all to cry to you:

Rejoice, Tabernacle of God the Word.
Rejoice, Holy one, holier than the Hollies.
Rejoice, Ark made golden by the Spirit.
Rejoice, inexhaustible Treasury of Life.
Rejoice, precious Diadem of godly kings.
Rejoice, venerable Boast of faithful priests.
Rejoice, unshakeable Tower of the Church.
Rejoice, impregnable fortress of the Kingdom.
Rejoice, you through whom trophies are raised up.
Rejoice, you whom enemies are cast down.
Rejoice, Healing of my flesh.
Rejoice, Salvation of my soul.
Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Kontakion 13

O all-hymned Mother, worthy of all praise, who brought forth the Word, the Holiest of all Saints [3 times], as you receive this our offering, rescue us all from every calamity, and deliver from fu ture torment those who cry with one voice: Who is more lleluia [3 times].

Ikos 13

The Archangel was sent from Heaven to cry: Rejoice! to the Theotokos. And beholding You, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe, and with his bodiless voice he cried aloud to her such things as:

Rejoice, you through whom joy shall shine.
Rejoice, you the Redemption of the tears of Eve.
Rejoice, Height hard to climb for human thought.
Rejoice, Depth hard to explore even for the eyes of Angels.
Rejoice, for you are the Throne of the King.
Rejoice, for you sustained the Sustainer of all.
Rejoice, Star that causes the Sun to appear.
Rejoice, Womb of the divine Incarnation.
Rejoice, you through whom creation is renewed.
Rejoice, you whom the Creator is born a Babe.
Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin

Kontakion 1

Unto you, O Theotokos, invincible Champion, your City, in thanksgiving ascribes the victory for the deliverance from sufferings. And having your might unassailable, free us from all dangers, so that we may cry unto you:

Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.

Triple Litany


Have mercy on us O God, according to Thy great mercy, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

Lord have mercy [after every petition]

Again we pray for the holy Orthodox Patriarchs of the East; for the Orthodox episcopate of the Russian Church; for our lord the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Vitaliy, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad; for our lord the Most Reverend Anthony, Archbishop of Western America and San Francisco; and for our lord, the Most Reverend Bishop Kyrill; and all our brethren in Christ:

Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, and visitation for the servants of God NN: (while the names are read, the people sing the litany response softly), and for the pardon and remission of their sins.

Again we beg Thee, O Lord, to hearken to our petition, and have mercy on Thy servants NN: (the response is sung softly as above). In Thy grace and bounty, fulfill their petitions, and forgive all their sins, whether voluntary or involuntary. Accept their sacrifice of praise upon Thy heavenly altar; protect them from every visible and invisible enemy; deliver them from all misery, sickness, and affliction; grant them health and length of days, we pray Thee, O Lord, hearken and have mercy.

Again we pray for travelers by land, by sea, and by air; for the sick and the suffering; for the servants of God NN: (as above), and for all those that are under trial, in harsh labor, in exile, imprisonment, and in every tribulation, necessity, and danger, and for their salvation, we pray Thee O Lord, hearken and have mercy.

Again we pray that the Lord our God will preserve this city and this holy temple and every city and country from pestilence, famine, earthquake, flood, fire, the sword, the invasion of enemies, civil war, and sudden death, and that our good God, Who loveth mankind, will be graciously favorable and easily entreated, and will turn away from us all the wrath stirred up against us, and deliver us from all His righteous chastisement which impendeth against us, and have mercy on us.

Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable, holy Orthodox Patriarchs, and pious kings and right-believing queens, and the founders of this holy temple, and for all our fathers and brethren gone to their rest before us, and the Orthodox here and everywhere laid to rest.

Again we pray for all the people here present, who await Thy great and rich mercy.

Again we pray that the Lord will listen to the prayers of us sinners, and have mercy on us.

Hear us O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of those who are far off upon the sea, and show mercy, show mercy O Master, upon us sinners. For Thou art a merciful God and Thou lovest mankind, and unto Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.


Let us pray to the most holy Theotokos.

(all kneel as we sing:)

Our most gracious Queen, our hope, O Theotokos, Who receivest the orphaned and art the intercessor for the stranger; the joy of those in sorrow, protectress of the wronged, see our distress, see our affliction! Help us, for we are helpless. Feed us, for we are strangers and pilgrims. Thou knowest our offences; forgive them, and resolve them as Thou dost will. For we know no other help but Thee, no other intercessor, no gracious comforter, only Thee, O Theotokos to guard and protect us for ages of ages. Amen.

Wisdom, Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without corruption Thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify Thee.

Glory to Thee, O Christ our God and our hope, glory to Thee.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages, Amen. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Father, bless. (or Lord bless)

(priest gives the blessing of the day)

(If no priest: Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen.  )


About akathist hymns

An akathist (Greek, akathistos) is a hymn dedicated to a saint, holy event, or one of the persons of the Holy Trinity. The word akathist itself means “not sitting.” The akathist par excellence is that written in the 6th century to the Theotokos. In its use as part of the Salutations to the Theotokos service (used in the Byzantine tradition during Great Lent), it is often known by its Greek or Arabic names, Chairetismoi and Madayeh, respectively.

The writing of akathists (occasionally spelled acathist) continues today as part of the general composition of an akolouthia, especially in the Slavic tradition, although not all are widely known nor translated beyond the original language. Most of the newer akathists are pastiche, that is, a generic form imitating the original 6th century akathist into which a particular saint’s name is inserted.

Structure of akathist hymns

The Trisagion Prayers are often said as a prelude to the akathist hymn. The akathist hymn itself is divided into thirteen parts, each of which has a kontakion and an oikos. The kontakion usually ends with the exclamation: “Alleluia!” Within the latter part of the oikos comes an anaphoric entreaty, such as “Come!” or “Rejoice!” The thirteenth kontakion (which does not have a corresponding ikos) is usually followed by the repetition of the first ikos and kontakion. After the thirteen kontakia and ikoi, additional prayers are added, such as a troparion and another kontakion. In some akathists, Psalms are also included.