The Akathist Hymn: Hail, O Bride Unwedded!

The icon of Panagia Hodegetria from the Church of St. George in the village of Dromesioi, first half of the 17th century, now in the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina. Photo by Konstantinos Plakidas, via Wikimedia Commons

On March 25, we celebrated the Annunciation which is both the Lord’s Feast and a Feast dedicated to the Theotokos. This Feast is not the only time in Great Lent we commemorate the Theotokos. There is a service held on each of the first four Fridays of Great Lent called the Salutations to the Theotokos (Χαιρετισμοί) and on the fifth Friday, the entire Akathist Hymn (Ακάθιστος Υμνος) is heard. The Akathist Hymn heard on the fifth Friday is a compilation …

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1 Comment

  1. It is not uncommon for the Akathist, with the Compline and Canon, to be chanted in its entirety each Friday rather than dividing it up. This takes less than 2 hours as long as chanters and choirs don’t overdo it.

    There has been discussion as to whether Xaire should be translated as Hail or Rejoice, a discussion that reflects not translation but meaning. A lesser debate has been the choice between Champion General (a strict translation) or Champion Leader which is less harsh on the ear.

    Also, and one needs to understand Greek to know, but the Akathist is actually a poem with internal and ending rhyme. The middle of each line rhymes with the middle of the next line, and the end of each line rhymes with the end of the next line. The Hymn is one of the greatest literary achievements in Greek.

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