From the Archive: The Akathist Hymn
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July 24, 2020 is being observed by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as a day of mourning for Hagia Sophia, in response to the decision by Turkey’s President to convert the historic cathedral in Istanbul from a museum to a mosque.
In a message to the Greek Orthodox faithful, Archbishop Elpidiphoros wrote, “knowing that on Friday, July 24th, there will be an ‘inauguration’ of this program of cultural and spiritual misappropriation and a violation of all standards of religious harmony and mutual respect, we call upon all the beloved faithful of our Holy Archdiocese to observe this day as a day of mourning and of manifest grief. We urge you to invite your fellow Orthodox Christians and indeed all Christians and people of goodwill to share in the following observances.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops shared this invitation, indicating that the Hagia Sophia—after serving for over eighty years as a museum—had become a place of encounter and dialogue between people of all faiths and cultures.
The Greek Orthodox have asked that every church toll its bells, every flag be raised to half-mast, and that the Akathist Hymn is chanted in the evening—to which the USCCB has added that for Catholics unfamiliar with the Akathist Hymn, the recitation of the rosary is recommended. Both prayers entreat the Mother of God for her intercession.
It is for this reason that we are re-releasing our reading of the Akathist Hymn, which appeared on this podcast back in March for the feast of the Annunciation. As access beyond the most recent 15 episodes of this podcast is restricted to our registered users, this particular episode is a perfect example of the kind of content only available to those who register for free at catholiculture.org/getaudio.
We want everyone, however, to have access to this resource on this day. So for those who have yet to register, please consider doing so. And for those who have already registered and listened to this episode, we hope this re-release will serve as a prompting to join together with us as we unite alongside our fellow Christians in this day of mourning, praying the words of this powerful and ancient prayer to the Mother of God.
Example of sung chant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2IYzQ2Ava4
Go to http://www.catholicculture.org/getaudio to register for FREE access to the full archive of audiobooks beyond the most recent 15 episodes.
Theme music: 2 Part Invention, composed by Mark Christopher Brandt, performed by Thomas Mirus. ©️2019 Heart of the Lion Publishing Co./BMI. All rights reserved.
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