Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

St. Romanos the Melodist—The Akathist Hymn

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 25, 2020 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin!”

Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation!

The hymn we will be hearing is one of the most well-loved services of devotion in the Eastern Church. Although there’s some debate concerning the particulars of its authorship, many scholars agree with the pious tradition that the Akathist Hymn was composed by St. Romanos the Melodist, c. 530 in Constantinople.

St. Romanos was a deacon and noted hymnographer, whose hymns have been praised both for their beauty as well as for their profound theology. The Akathist Hymn—just one of the many hymns attributed to St. Romanos—was originally composed for liturgical use in the celebration of the great Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, March 25.

After the great liberation of Constantinople in 626, it was chosen to be sung as the hymn of thanksgiving for the miraculous victory that had been achieved through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. The faithful prayed all through the night without sitting, hence the Greek meaning of the title, Akathistos—“not seated.”

During this time of global pandemic, may we, too, be found upright in thanksgiving and supplication, invoking Mary’s invincible intercession to deliver us from these sufferings and to free us from all danger.

Full text: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=899

Example of sung chant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2IYzQ2Ava4

Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2020/03/20/200320c.html

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.

James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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