Friday, March 14, 2014

Salutations to the Virgin Mary – The Akathist Hymn

From the first Friday and for 5 Fridays during Lent the Orthodox Church has the service of the Salutations to the Virgin Mary, where the Akathist Hymn is chanted. This service is only celebrated during the Lentern period, enriching it with its beautiful poetic hymns and chants. 

It was composed and sung, according to tradition, as a thanksgiving to the Theotokos, for the protection of Constantinople from a siege by the Arabs in 626 A.D. The Akathis Hymn is the greatest egkomion, hymn ever written for the Mother of God. It has a number of characteristics, i.e. it is a historical, theological narrative, showing glory to the Theotokos. The twenty-four verses, each beginning with a letter of the Greek alphabet, form a beautiful religious poem regarding the coming of Christ for the salvation of the world. It is believed to have been written by St. Romanos the Melodist, one of the greatest Greek-speaking poets of all time.

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