Saturday, August 16, 2014

Akathist to our Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ

The Holy Mandylion (source)
 
The following is a well-known and beautiful akathist in praise of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was originally written in Greek, attributed to various monastic writers, and probably written between the 9th to the 11th centuries. In a publication of the service in praise of the Holy Mandylion published in 1745, this akathist is prescribed to be chanted interspersed with the Orthros on the feast of the Holy Mandylion (August 16) (similar to the famous Akathist to the Theotokos, prescribed to be chanted on the Fifth Saturday of Great Lent). Though this Akathist can be chanted at any time, I think that this is a perfectly fitting feast to do so, as we worship our Lord Jesus, our true God, Who truly put on flesh to save us all.  May He have mercy on us all and save us!
   

The Akathist hymn to
our sweetest Lord Jesus Christ

KONTAKION
Plagal of Fourth Tone
To You, the Champion Leader and Lord, the Vanquisher of Hades, I, Your creature and servant, offer a song of praise, for You have delivered me from eternal death. But as You have ineffable loving-kindness, deliver me from all dangers, that I may cry to You:
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
A
Creator of Angels and Lord of Hosts, as of old You opened the ear and tongue of him that was deaf and dumb, so now open my perplexed mind and tongue to praise You most holy Name, that I may cry to You:
Jesus, most wonderful, Astonishment of Angels.
Jesus, most powerful, Deliverance of Forefathers.
Jesus, most sweet, Exultation of Patriarchs.
Jesus, most glorious, Dominion of kings.
Jesus, most desired, Fulfillment of Prophets.
Jesus, most praised, Steadfastness of Martyrs.
Jesus, most gladsome, Comfort of monastics.
Jesus, most compassionate, Sweetness of presbyters.
Jesus, most merciful, Abstinence of fasters.
Jesus, most tender, joy of the righteous.
Jesus, most pure, Sobriety of virgins.
Jesus, pre-eternal, Salvation of sinners.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
B
Seeing the widow weeping bitterly, O Lord, You were moved with compassion, and raised up her son as he was being carried to burial; likewise have compassion on me, O Friend of man, and raise up my soul which has been slain by sins, as I cry aloud:
Alleluia. 
 
C
Seeking to know knowledge unknown Philip asked: Lord, show us the Father; and You answered him: Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? Therefore, O Unsearchable One, with fear I cry to You:
Jesus, God before the ages.
Jesus, King almighty.
Jesus, Master long-suffering.
Jesus, Saviour most merciful.
Jesus, my Guardian most kind.
Jesus, be gracious unto my sins.
Jesus, take away my iniquities.
Jesus, pardon my unrighteousness.
Jesus, my Hope, forsake me not.
Jesus, my Helper, reject me not.
Jesus, my Creator, forget me not.
Jesus, my Shepherd, lose me not.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
D
You endued with power from on high Your Apostles who tarried in Jerusalem, O Jesus. Clothe also me also, who am stripped bare of every good work, with the warmth of You Holy Spirit, and grant that with love I may chant to You:
Alleluia. 
 
E
In the abundance of Your mercy, O compassionate Jesus, You have called publicans and sinners and unbelievers. Now despise not me who am like them, but accept this hymn as precious myrrh:
Jesus, invincible Power.
Jesus, unending Mercy.
Jesus, radiant Beauty.
Jesus, unspeakable Love.
Jesus, Son of the living God.
Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Jesus, hear me who was conceived in iniquity.
Jesus, cleanse me who was born in sin.
Jesus, teach me who am foolish.
Jesus, enlighten me who am darkened.
Jesus, purify me who am defiled.
Jesus, restore me, the prodigal.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
F
Having a tempest of doubting thoughts within, Peter was sinking. But beholding You, O Jesus, bearing flesh and walking on the waters, he knew You to be the true God; and receiving the hand of salvation, he cried:
Alleluia. 
 
The Holy Mandylion (source)
   
G
When the blind man heard You, O Lord, passing by, he cried: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! And You called him and open his eyes. Therefore, by Your mercy enlighten the spiritual eyes of my heart as I cry to You and say:
Jesus, Creator of those on high.
Jesus, Redeemer of those below.
Jesus, Vanquisher of the nethermost powers.
Jesus, Adorner of every creature.
Jesus, Comforter of my soul.
Jesus, Enlightener of my mind.
Jesus, Gladness of my heart.
Jesus, Health of my body.
Jesus, my Saviour, save me.
Jesus, my Light, enlighten me.
Jesus, from all torment deliver me.
Jesus, save me who am unworthy.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
H
As of old You redeemed us from the curse of the law by You divinely shed blood, O Jesus, likewise rescue us from the snares that the serpent has entangled us through the passions of the flesh, through lustful incitement and perilous lethargy, as we cry to You:
Alleluia. 
 
I
Beholding in human form Him Who by His hand fashioned man, and understanding Him to be their Master, the children of the Hebrews hurried with boughs to do homage, crying: Hosanna! But we offer You a hymn of praise, saying:
Jesus, true God.
Jesus, Son of David.
Jesus, glorious King.
Jesus, innocent Lamb.
Jesus, Shepherd most marvellous.
Jesus, Protector of mine infancy.
Jesus, Guide of my youth.
Jesus, Boast of mine old age.
Jesus, my Hope at death.
Jesus, my Life after death.
Jesus, my Comfort at Your judgment.
Jesus, my Desire, let me not then be ashamed.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
J
Fulfilling the words and proclamations of the God-bearing Prophets, O Jesus, You appeared on earth, and You Who are uncontainable dwelled among men. Therefore, being healed by Your wounds, we learned to chant:
Alleluia. 
 
K
When the light of Your truth shone in the world, devilish delusion was driven away; for the idols, O our Saviour, have fallen, unable to endure Your power. But we who have received salvation cry to You:
Jesus, Truth dispelling falsehood.
Jesus, Light transcending every light.
Jesus, King surpassing all in strength.
Jesus, God constant in mercy.
Jesus, Bread of life, fill me who am hungry.
Jesus, Well-spring of knowledge, refresh me who am thirsty.
Jesus, Garment of gladness, clothe me who am naked.
Jesus, Haven of joy, shelter me who am unworthy.
Jesus, Giver to those who ask, grant me mourning for my sins.
Jesus, Finder of those who seek, find my soul.
Jesus, Opener to those who knock, open my hardened heart.
Jesus, Redeemer of sinners, wash away my sins.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
L
Desiring to unveil the mystery hidden from all ages, You were led as a sheep to the slaughter, O Jesus, and as a voiceless lamb before its shearer. But as God, You rose from the dead and ascended with glory to Heaven, and together with Yourself, raise us up who cry:
Alleluia. 
   
The Holy Mandylion (source)
 
M
New was the creation which the Creator revealed to us when He appeared, for without seed He took flesh of a Virgin and rose from the tomb without breaking the seal of either, and bodily entered to the Apostles whilst the doors were shut. Therefore, marvelling at this we chant:
Jesus, Word uncontainable.
Jesus, Intelligence unfathomed.
Jesus, Power incomprehensible.
Jesus, Wisdom immeasurable.
Jesus, Divinity undepictable.
Jesus, Dominion unbounded.
Jesus, Kingdom invincible.
Jesus, Sovereignty unending.
Jesus, Strength sublime.
Jesus, Authority everlasting.
Jesus, my Creator, fashion me anew.
Jesus, my Saviour, save me.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
N
Seeing the strange Incarnation of God, let us alienate ourselves from this vain world and raise our mind to things divine. To this end God descended to earth, that He might raise to Heaven us who cry to Him:
Alleluia. 
 
O
Wholly present with those below, yet in no way separated from those above, was the Uncircumscribed One, when of His own will He suffered for us; by His death, our death He put to death, and by His Resurrection, He granted life to us who chant to Him such words as these:
Jesus, Sweetness of my heart.
Jesus, Strength of my body.
Jesus, Light of my soul.
Jesus, Liveliness of my mind.
Jesus, Gladness of my conscience.
Jesus, Hope unexcelled.
Jesus, Remembrance everlasting.
Jesus, Praise most exalted.
Jesus, my Glory most sublime.
Jesus, my Desire, reject me not.
Jesus, my Shepherd, seek me out.
Jesus, my Saviour, save me.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
P
All the orders of Angels in Heaven unceasingly glorify Your most holy Name, O
Jesus, crying: Holy, Holy, Holy! But we sinners on earth, with our tongues of clay, chant:
Alleluia. 
 
Q
We behold the most eloquent orators mute as fish before You, O Jesus our Saviour, for they are at a loss to explain how You are both perfect man and immutable God. But as for us, marvelling at this mystery, we cry with faith:
Jesus, God of gods.
Jesus, King of kings.
Jesus, Lord of lords.
Jesus, judge of the living and the dead.
Jesus, Hope of the despairing.
Jesus, Comfort of the mourning.
Jesus, Provision of the poor.
Jesus, condemn me not according to my deeds.
Jesus, cleanse me according to Your mercy.
Jesus, dispel my despondency.
Jesus, enlighten the thoughts of my heart.
Jesus, make me ever mindful of death.
Jesus. Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
R
Wishing to save the world, O Dayspring of the Orient, You came to the dark Occident of our nature and humbled Yourself even to death. Therefore, Your Name is exalted above every name, and from all created beings of Heaven and earth, You heard:
Alleluia. 
   
The Holy Mandylion (source)
 
S
Make Your holy Angels a rampart for us, O Christ, Father of the age to come, and cleanse us from every stain, as You cleansed the ten lepers; and heal us, as Your healed the covetous soul of Zacchaeus the publican, that we may cry to You with compunction and say:
Jesus, Treasure unfailing.
Jesus, Wealth inexpendable.
Jesus, Food most substantial.
Jesus, Drink inexhaustible.
Jesus, Raiment of the poor.
Jesus, Defender of widows.
Jesus, Protector of orphans.
Jesus, Champion of those in hardships.
Jesus, Companion of those who journey.
Jesus, Pilot of voyagers.
Jesus, Calm Haven of the tempest-tossed.
Jesus, raise me who am fallen.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
T
A most contrite hymn do I, the unworthy one, offer You, and like the Canaanite woman, I cry to You: O Jesus, have mercy on me! For not a daughter, but a flesh have I which is violently possessed by the passions and troubled with anger. Grant healing to me, who cries aloud to You:
Alleluia. 
 
U
You, the brilliant Beacon-light shining to those in the darkness of ignorance, did Paul once persecute; but, illumined by Your light and perceiving the power of Your divinely wise voice, the fury of his soul was eased. In like manner, enlighten the eyes of my darkened soul as I cry such things as these:
Jesus, my King supremely powerful.
Jesus, my God omnipotent.
Jesus, my Lord immortal.
Jesus, my Creator most glorious.
Jesus, my Guide supreme in goodness.
Jesus, my Shepherd most compassionate.
Jesus, my Master rich in mercy.
Jesus, my Saviour, Friend of man.
Jesus, enlighten my senses, darkened by passions.
Jesus, heal my body, wounded by sins.
Jesus, cleanse my mind from vain thoughts.
Jesus, preserve my heart from evil desires.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
V
Grant me Your grace, O Jesus, Forgiver of every debt, and receive me who repents, as You received Peter who denied You; and call me who am downcast, as of old You called Paul who persecuted You; and hear me as I cry to You:
Alleluia. 
 
W
Whilst hymning Your Incarnation, we all praise You, and with Thomas we believe that You are our Lord and God, Who sits with the Father, and shall come to judge the living and the dead. Grant that I may then stand at Your right hand, who now cry:
Jesus, King of peace, bestow Your peace upon me.
Jesus, sweet-scented Flower, make me fragrant.
Jesus, longed for Warmth, warm me.
Jesus, eternal Temple, shelter me.
Jesus, splendid Garment, adorn me.
Jesus, Pearl of great price, enrich me.
Jesus, precious Stone, illumine me.
Jesus, Sun of Righteousness, shine on me.
Jesus, holy Light, make me radiant.
Jesus, deliver me from infirmity of soul and body.
Jesus, rescue me from the hands of the adversary.
Jesus, save me from the everlasting torments.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. 
 
X
O most sweet and tender-loving Jesus, receive this our small supplication, as You received the widow's mite; and preserve Your inheritance from all enemies, visible and invisible, from invasion of aliens, from disease and famine, from all tribulations and mortal wounds, and deliver from future torments all who cry to You:
Alleluia.
 
Again, the Kontakion
Plagal of Fourth Tone
To You, the Champion Leader and Lord, the Conqueror of Hades, I, Your creature and servant, offer a song of praise, for You have delivered me from eternal death. But as You have ineffable loving-kindness, deliver me from all dangers that can be, that I may cry to You:
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me.
(source)
   
This beautiful 18th Century icon at the center includes the Holy Mandylion of Christ, and surrounding it, scenes depicting the stanzas of the Akathist to the Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ included above (source). Compare to similar icons depicting the stanzas of the Akathist to the Theotokos.
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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