What is the Akathists and who was the first one dedicated to?
The word "akathist" is sometimes used inconversational speech in the same sense as dithyrambs. This is the name of a song that praises something or someone. However, there is a significant difference between these two concepts. In order to apply this definition to the place, one should know about what akathists are.
All prayers are divided into three categories: pleading, thankful and glorifying, the latter refers to a hymn praising the Mother of God. Akathist of the Mother of God for a long time was the only and absolutely unique work created presumably in the VI-VII centuries. Its main importance was emphasized by the size and phonetic structure, in which the poetry genius of the creator of this masterpiece of spiritual culture was manifested. Let's look at what akathists are in their poetic form. Kukuliy, that is, the initial stanza, covers the next Icons, this occurs twelve times. Hairretisms, that is, greetings of the Mother of God, begin with the word "rejoice", are contained in each of the icons that are similar in rhythm, have the same alternation of stressed syllables with unstressed ones. The sequence of the initial letters of all the strings forms the Greek alphabet.
Now about the name of this poetic form. About what is akathists, says the translation of this word. Literally it means "do not sit." And those who perform the chant, and those who listen to it must certainly stand, except for those who, due to ailments or because of old age, can not abide by this rule. The term also refers to the form of church versification, similar to kontakion.
The first part is dedicated to the childhood of Jesus and the earthlythe fate of Mary, the second tells about the Holy Trinity and the incarnation of God the Father in the image of Christ according to the teaching of the church. The text uses skilful antique rhetorical and poetic techniques, which gives him not only the highest sacral meaning, but also great artistic value. In the time of godlessness, declared as an official state policy, the students-philologists answered the teacher's question about what the Akathists were, they answered that they were masterpieces of ancient Greek poetry. And this is true, however, with the proviso that their main meaning is spiritual fullness.
The initial text was supplemented by the first stanza, inwhich the Mother of God is grateful for the miraculous deliverance of Constantinople during the siege of the city by the Avarian and Slavic pagan tribes in 626 AD. Then the patriarch Sergius saved the Orthodox people, bypassing the fortress walls and lighting them with the icon of the Mother of God.
The use of the akathist is regulated by the generalorder established for the church circle of worship. Theosophical historians claim that he was composed for the festive rituals of the Cathedral of the Mother of God and the Annunciation. At present, it is performed on the Lenten Saturday of Akathist and on the matins of the Praise of the Blessed Virgin.
The first Akathist became that mighty trunk, fromwhich, like the branches, grew others, dedicated to the Son of God, the saints and prophets. This happened already in the XIV century. By their form, some imitation of the unsurpassed masterpiece of ancient Orthodox poetics is guessed. To date, they have already written more than a hundred. Not all of them are equal in artistic and canonical qualities and are usually confined to the holidays of this or that miracle-working image, as, for example, the Akathist Icon of the Mother of God "The Inexhaustible Chalice".