Holy Wisdom Orthodox Mission
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The Akathist Kanon to the Theotokos

On most evenings at Small Compline, we read the following after the Creed.

Apolitikion, Tone Plagal 4

Having secretly received the command, the Archangel hastened to Joseph’s abode and spoke to the holy Virgin. He who bowed the heavens and came down is contained wholly and unchanged in you. When I behold Him in your womb taking the likeness of a servant, I stand and cry out to you: Rejoice O Bride unwedded.

Kontakion, Tone Plagal 4

To you, the champion Commander, I your city inscribe victorious anthems of thanksgiving, for deliverance from sufferings, O Theotokos. Inasmuch as you have power unassailable, from all manner of dangers set me free, that I cry out to you: Rejoice O bride unwedded!

First Stanza


An angel and the chief among them, was sent from heaven to cry: “Rejoice!” to the Mother of God. And beholding You O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood marveling, and with his bodiless voice cried aloud to her saying:

Rejoice, O you through whom joy shall shine forth; rejoice, O you through whom the curse shall be blotted out.

Rejoice, O restoration of the fallen Adam; rejoice, O redemption of the tears of Eve.

Rejoice, O height, hard to climb, for human minds; rejoice, O depth, hard to explore, even for the eyes of angels.

Rejoice, O you that are the throne of a King; rejoice, O you that sustains the Sustainer of all.

Rejoice, O star that caused the Sun to appear; rejoice, O womb of the divine incarnating.

Rejoice, O you through whom the Creator is renewed; rejoice, O you through whom the Creator becomes a babe.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Boldly and without fear the holy maiden spoke to Gabriel, knowing her own chastity: “To my soul your strange message is hard to believe; how do you speak of a virgin and stainless conception? crying aloud: Alleluia.


Craving to know unknown knowledge, the pure maiden cried to him who ministered to her: “From a virgin body how is it possible for a Son to be born? Tell me.” Then he spoke to her in fear, crying aloud thus:

Rejoice, O initiate of the ineffable counsel; rejoice, O surety of those who beseech you in silence.

Rejoice, O beginner of the miracles of Christ; rejoice, O completer of His ordinances.

Rejoice, O heavenly ladder by which God came down; rejoice, O bridge leading from earth to heaven.

Rejoice, O great marvel and wonder of angels; rejoice, O great cause of wailing in demons.

Rejoice, O you who ineffably gave birth to the Light; rejoice, O you who withheld the divine secret from all.

Rejoice, O you who oversoars the knowledge of the wise; rejoice, O you who gives light to the understanding of the faithful.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Divine power for her conceiving then overshadowed her who knew not wedlock, and showed her fruitful womb as a fertile field to all those who desire to reap their salvation, as they sing: Alleluia.


Enshrining God in her womb, the virgin hastened to Elizabeth, whose unborn babe at once recognized the salutation of the Mother of God, and rejoiced and as it were leapt and sung and cried to her:

Rejoice, O branch of unfading growth; rejoice, O wealth of unmingled fruit.

Rejoice, O you who labors for Him, whose labor is love; rejoice, O you who tends Him who tends our life.

Rejoice, O corn land growing fertility of mercies; rejoice, O table sustaining abundance of oblations.

Rejoice, O you who receives the green fields of joy; rejoice, O you who prepares a haven for souls.

Rejoice, O acceptable incense of intercession; rejoice, O oblation for all the world.

Rejoice, O favor of God to mortals; rejoice, O access of mortals to God.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Floods of doubtful thoughts troubled the wise Joseph within, when he saw you, O blameless and unwedded maiden, and he feared for you; but when he learned of your conception through the Holy Spirit, he cried: Alleluia.

Second Stanza


Gloriously the angels hymned the incarnate presence of Christ, and the shepherds heard; and hastening as to a Shepherd, they beheld Him as a Lamb without spot, reposing on Mary’s breast, and her they hymned and they said:

Rejoice, O Mother of the Lamb and of Shepherd; rejoice, O fold for the sheep of His pasture.

Rejoice, O bulwark from invisible foes; rejoice, O opener of the gates of paradise.

Rejoice, for the things of heaven rejoice with the earth; rejoice, for the things of earth join chorus with the heavens.

Rejoice, O never-silent voice of the apostles; rejoice, O never-conquered courage of the champions.

Rejoice, O firm support of faith; rejoice, O shining token of grace.

Rejoice, O you through whom Hades was laid bare; rejoice, O you through whom we are clothed with glory.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

High in the heavens the Magi beheld the Godward-pointing star, and they followed its rays and kept it as a beacon before them; through it they sought a mighty King, and as they approached the Unapproachable they rejoiced and cried out to Him: Alleluia.


In the virgin’s hand the sons of the Chaldees saw Him Who with His hand had made man; and knowing Him as Master, though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened with gifts to do homage, and cried to her who is blessed:

Rejoice, O Mother of the Star that never sets; rejoice, O dawn of the mystic Day.

Rejoice, O you who quenches the furnace of error; rejoice, O you who enlightens those who know the Trinity.

Rejoice, O you who casts out the inhuman tyrant of old; rejoice, O you who shows forth the Lord, the merciful Christ.

Rejoice, O you who redeems from the creeds of barbarism; rejoice, O you who releases from the morass of evil deeds.

Rejoice, O you who made the worship of fire to cease; rejoice, O you who made the flame of suffering to be allayed.

Rejoice, O guide of the wisdom of the faithful; rejoice, O joy of all generations.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

King’s messengers, the wise men became, when they returned to Babylon; they fulfilled Your prophecy and to all preached You as the Christ, and they left Herod as a trifler who knew not how to cry: Alleluia.


Lighting in Egypt the lamp of truth, you, O Savior, did cast out of the darkness of falsehood, and their idols endured not your strength but fell; and those among them who were saved cried to the Mother of God:

Rejoice, O uplifting of men; rejoice, O downfall of demons.

Rejoice, O you who tramples upon the wanderings of error; rejoice, O you who refutes the lies of idols.

Rejoice, O sea which drowned Pharaoh and his schemes; rejoice, O rock which refreshed those thirsty for life.

Rejoice, O fiery pillar, leading those in darkness; rejoice, O shelter of the world, broader than a cloud.

Rejoice, O sustenance in succession to manna; rejoice, O messenger of holy joy.

Rejoice, O land of promise; rejoice, O you from which flows honey and milk.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Marveling at your ineffable wisdom when you were presented to him as a new-born Babe, Simeon, who was nearing his time of departure from this age of error, recognized You as perfect God and he cried: Alleluia.

Third Stanza


New was the creation which the Creator showed to us His creatures, when He appeared born from the womb of a virgin; and she was guarded, as she was, in perfect purity; so that when we see this marvel, we may praise her and sing:

Rejoice, O flower of incorruption; rejoice, O crown of chastity.

Rejoice, O you who flashes forth the Type of the resurrection; rejoice, O you who shows clearly the life of the angels.

Rejoice, O plant of goodly fruit by which the faithful are nourished; rejoice, O tree of leafy branches by which many are sheltered.

Rejoice, O you who bears the Guide of wanderers; rejoice, O you who engenders the Redeemer of captives.

Rejoice, O pleader before the righteous Judge; rejoice, O forgiveness for many transgressors.

Rejoice, O robe of boldness for the naked; rejoice, O tenderness vanquishing all desire

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Our minds are transported to heaven when we behold this strange birth giving, so let us now be estranged from the world; it was for this that the most-high God appeared on earth as mortal man, and that He might raise on high those who sing to Him: Alleluia.


Present in all our completeness with those below, was the uncircumscribed Word, yet in no way absent from those above; for this was a divine descent and not a mere change of place; and His birth was from a virgin, and in her inspiration she heard words like these:

Rejoice, O space for the uncontained God; rejoice, O door of solemn mystery.

Rejoice, O doubtful rumor of the faithless; rejoice, O undoubting boast of the faithful.

Rejoice, O all-holy chariot of Him Who rides upon the Cherubim; rejoice, O all-glorious chair of Him Who sits upon the Seraphim.

Rejoice, O you who makes things that differ to agree; rejoice, O you who yokes together virginity and motherhood.

Rejoice, O you by whom transgression is annulled; rejoice, O you by whom paradise is opened.

Rejoice, O key of the Kingdom of Christ; rejoice, O hope of eternal blessedness.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Quickly understanding your great deed of Incarnation, the hosts of angels were amazed; for they saw the inaccessible God accessible to all as a Man, dwelling among us and hearing from all: Alleluia.


Rhetoric’s many followers were mute as fish when they saw you, O Mother of God; for they dared not ask: How can you bear a Child, and yet remain a virgin? But we marvel at this mystery, and with faith cry:

Rejoice, O vessel of the wisdom of God; rejoice, O treasury of His foreknowledge.

Rejoice, O you who shows philosophers fools; rejoice, O you that proves logicians illogical.

Rejoice, for the subtle disputants are confounded; rejoice, for the writers of myths are withered.

Rejoice, O you who did break the webs of the Athenians; rejoice, O you who did fill the nets of the fishermen.

Rejoice, O you who draws us from the depths of ignorance; rejoice, O you who enlightens many with knowledge.

Rejoice, O raft for those who desire to be saved; rejoice, O haven for those who swim on the waves of the world.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Salvation it was that the Architect of all desired to bring to the world, and for this, by His own will, He came; and though as God He is Shepherd, for us he appeared to us as a Man, and called the same by the same, still as God He hears: Alleluia.

Fourth Stanza


To virgins and to all who flee to you, O virgin Mother of God, you are as a city wall; for the Maker of heaven and earth prepared you, O pure maiden, and dwelt in your womb, and taught all to call upon you:

Rejoice, O pillar of virginity; rejoice, O gate of salvation.

Rejoice, O beginning of rational restoration; rejoice, O leader of divine righteousness.

Rejoice, for you did regenerate our fallen race; rejoice, for you did remind those who were mindless.

Rejoice, O you who did bring to nought the corruption of hearts; rejoice, O you who did give birth to the Sower of chastity.

Rejoice, O bridal chamber of a virgin marriage; rejoice, O you who joins the faithful to the Lord.

Rejoice, O fair nursing-mother of virgins; rejoice, O bridal escort of holy souls.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Unworthy is every hymn that would encompass the multitude of Your many mercies; for if we should offer to You, O holy King, hymns of praise numberless as the sands, we should still have done nothing to compare to what You have given to us who sing to You: Alleluia.


Verily we behold the holy virgin as a shining beacon light appearing to those in darkness: for she kindles the supernal Light and leads all to divine knowledge; she illumines our minds with radiance and is honored by these our chants:

Rejoice, O ray of the living Sun; rejoice, O flash of fadeless luster.

Rejoice, O lightning, shining upon our souls; rejoice, O you, who as thunder, strikes down the enemy.

Rejoice, for you did cause the many-starred Light to dawn; rejoice, for you did cause the ever-flowing River to gush forth.

Rejoice, O you who did from life trace the image of the font; rejoice, O you who did take away the stain of sin.

Rejoice, O laver purifying conscience; rejoice, O wine bowl for the mingling of joy.

Rejoice, O sweet-scented fragrance of Christ; rejoice, O life of mystic festival.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

When He, Who forgives the ancient debts of all men, would grant grace, of His own will He came to dwell among those who had departed from His favor; and when He had rent asunder the handwriting against them, He hears from all: Alleluia.


Yet while we sing to Him Whom you did bear, we all praise you, O Mother of God, as a living temple; for the Lord, Who holds all things in His hand, dwelt in your womb, and He hallowed and glorified you, and taught all to cry to you:

Rejoice, O tabernacle of God and of the Word; rejoice, O holiest of holy saints.

Rejoice, O ark made golden by the Spirit; rejoice, O inexhaustible treasury of life.

Rejoice, O precious diadem of godly kings; rejoice, O venerable boast of faithful priests.

Rejoice, O immovable tower of the Church; rejoice, O impregnable bulwark of the Kingdom.

Rejoice, O you through whom trophies are set up; rejoice, O you through whom our enemies are cast down.

Rejoice, O healing of my flesh; rejoice, O salvation of my soul.

Rejoice, O bride unwedded.

Zealously we praise you, O Mother, who did bear Him Who was the most-holy Word of all the saints; and when you receive this our offering, deliver us all from every ill, and redeem from future woe those who cry to you: Alleluia.

And again the Kontakion, Tone Plagal 4

To you, the champion Commander, I your city inscribe victorious anthems of thanksgiving, for deliverance from sufferings, Theotokos. Inasmuch as you have power unassailable, from all manner of dangers set me free, that I cry out to you: Rejoice O bride unwedded!

End of the Akathist.

Then, return to Small Compline, “It is truly proper ...,” (click here)