Liturgy Book 8.19.17_GreenBook_LHM
An Akathist hymn is a profound, devotional poem set to verse and dedicated to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Holy Trinity, the Mother of God or to a specific Saint. The word akathist literally means to be ‘unseated’ and therefore the hymn is oftentimes chanted while standing out of piety and respect.
The Akathist Hymn to THE HOLY APOSTLES (1)
“We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere on earth. We cannot describe it to you; we only know that God dwells there among men and that their Service surpasses the worship of all other places…”
In the latter part of the tenth century, Vladimir the Prince of Kiev sent envoys to various Christian centers to study their form of worship. These are the words the envoys uttered when they reported their presence at the celebration of the Eucharist in the Great Church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople. The profound experience expressed by the Russian envoys has been one shared by many throughout the centuries who have witnessed for the first time the beautiful and inspiring Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church.
The Holy Eucharist is the oldest experience of Christian Worship as well as the most distinctive. Eucharist comes from the Greek word which means thanksgiving. In a particular sense, the word describes the most important form of the Church’s attitude toward all of life. The origin of the Eucharist is traced to the Last Supper at which Christ instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory. The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation.
In the Orthodox Church, the Eucharist is also known as the Divine Liturgy. The word liturgy means people’s work; this description serves to emphasize the corporate character of the Eucharist. Orthodox worship is an experience which involves the entire Church. When each of us comes together for Worship, we do so as members of a Church which transcends the boundaries of society, of time and of space.