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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. Isaac E. Lambertsen has done a large amount of translation work, including many different akathists. 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.

There is more than one icon "of the Akathist": the Hilandar icon (January 12), the Dionysiou icon (March 27 and Fifth Saturday of Great Lent), and the Zographou icon (October 10).

Services of the Orthodox Church
Eucharist: Divine Liturgy | When the Eucharist cannot be served: Typika
Daily Cycle (Divine Office)
Vespers | Compline | Midnight Office | Matins
Little Hours (Prime,Terce,Sext,None) | Royal Hours | Mesorion
Other Services
Akathist Hymn | Paraklesis | Moleben
Great Blessing of Water | Artoklasia
Baptism-Chrismation Service | Holy Unction
Ordination Service | Marriage Service
Funeral Service | Memorial Service


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.


Relating to the Trinity

Akathist to

Relating to the Theotokos

Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos

When the word akathist is used alone, it most commonly refers to the original hymn by this name, the 6th century Akathist to the Theotokos, attributed to St. Roman the Melodist (though this attribution is hotly debated). This hymn is often split into four parts and sung at the "Salutations to the Theotokos" service on the first four Friday evenings in Great Lent; the entire Akathist is then sung on the fifth Friday evening. Traditionally it is included in the Orthros of the fifth Saturday of Great Lent. In monasteries of Athonite tradition, the whole Akathist is usually inserted nightly at Compline.

The four sections into which the Akathist is divided correspond to the themes of the Annunciation, Nativity, Christ, and the Theotokos herself.

The hymn itself forms an alphabetical acrostic—that is, each oikos ("house," possibly from the Syriac terminology) begins with a letter of the Greek alphabet, in order—and it consists of twelve long and twelve short oikoi. Each of the long oikoi include a seven-line stanza followed by six couplets, employing rhyme, assonance, and alliteration, beginning with the word Chaire (translated as either "Hail!" or "Rejoice!") and ending with the refrain, "Hail, Bride without bridegroom!" In the short oikoi, the seven-line stanza is followed by the refrain, "Alleluia!"

The Salutations to the Theotokos service, often known by its Greek name, the Chairetismoi (from the Chaire! so often used in the hymn), consists of Compline with the Akathist hymn inserted. It is known in Arabic as the Madayeh.

Akathist of the

Akathist to the

  • Holy Virgin Theotokos (by St. Roman the Melodist)
English - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (PDF), 13 (PDF)
Other - 14 (French), 15 (German-PDF), 16 (Spanish) 17 (Finnish)
  • Burning Bush of the Theotokos - 1 (PDF), 2 (Romanian)
  • Most Holy Theotokos "Keeper of the Portal" of Iviron - 1, 2, 3 (Slavonic), 4 (Romanian)
  • Most Holy Theotokos, Myrrh-streaming Montreal-Iveron Icon - 1, 2 (Slavonic)
  • Theotokos of All Protection - 1

Akathist to the Theotokos,

  • All-Venerable Abbess to Monasteries of the Entire World
  • Daughter of Zion - 1
  • the Deliverer
  • the Door-keeper
  • the Enricher of the Harvest
  • the Inexhaustible Cup - 1, 2, 3, Finnish
  • Joy of All Who Sorrow - 1
  • the Milkgiver
  • Nurturer of Children - 1
  • Our Lady of Sitka - 1 (PDF)
  • Port Arthur Mother of God - 1 (PDF), 2 (Russian)
  • Queen of All (Pantanassa, or "Healer of Cancer") - 1, 2
  • Spring of Healing
  • Swift to Aid
  • Unexpected Joy

Akathist to the Theotokos for Reconciliation

Akathist to the Theotokos at her

Relating to the Great Feasts

Akathist of the

Relating to Saints

Singular - Akathist to St.

Plural - Akathist to

  • All Saints 1 (Romanian)
  • the Chinese martyr saints who died in the Boxer (Yihetuan Movement) Rebellion - 1 (PDF), 2
  • to all the Saints that shone forth in the lands of the West - 1 (PDF), 2 (PDF-Romanian)
  • Ss. Joachim and Anna [2] (includes music)
  • Ss. Peter and Paul - [3]
  • Ss. Sergei and Herman of Valaam - 1 (Finnish)

Local/Diocesan Saints

Relating to Angels

Akathist to the

  • Holy Archangel Michael - 1 2 - (Finnish)
  • Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel
  • Guardian Angel

Other Akathists

  • Akathist for Holy Communion - 1, 2 (Finnish)
  • Akathist to the Tomb and the Resurrection of the Lord - 1, 2 (Finnish), 3
  • Akathist to the Resurrection of Christ 1 (Finnish)
  • Akathist "Glory to God for All Things" or "of Thanksgiving" - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Finnish)
The Akathist is often attributed to Priest Gregory Petrov who died in a Soviet prison camp in 1940, but also to Metropolitan Tryphon (Prince Boris Petrovich Turkestanov) +1934. The title is from the words of St. John Chrysostom as he was dying in exile. It is a song of praise from amidst the most terrible sufferings.
  • Akathist in Praise of God's Creation (by Metropolitan Tryphon (Turkestanov)) - 1
  • Akathist for the Repose of the Departed - 1, 2 (Finnish)

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