Akathistos (Gk.: ‘not seated’).
- Dimitri Conomos
(Gk.: ‘not seated’).
In the Byzantine rite, an anonymous Kontakion chanted in honour of the Virgin and performed while the congregation stands. The Akathistos possibly dates from the 6th century and continued in use despite the liturgical changes of the 8th century when the performance of entire kontakia was suppressed. It was originally a chant for the feast of the Annunciation (25 March) but is now sung in the Greek Orthodox Church at the vigil of the fifth Saturday in Great Lent.
The Akathistos consists of two prooimia (see Prooimion) and 24 oikoi (stanzas) linked by an alphabetic acrostic; each oikos is seven lines long and has the same metrical pattern. The even-numbered stanzas simply have an ‘allēlouïa’ refrain, whereas the odd-numbered oikoi include a set of Salutations to the Virgin – 12 lines in metrically-matching pairs, with each line beginning ‘Hail!’. Each oikos ends with the refrain ‘Hail, bride unwedded!’. The texts of the first 12 ...