A printed copy of this Akathist together with a reproduction of the icon is available from the parish - cost £3 post free.
Akathist to our Most Holy Lady before Her
Commemorated locally on 8/21 September
In times of old Thy sacred image was honoured in Suffolk's holy land, O Most Pure Maiden Mary and Mother of our God. Then in times of darkness and impiety, Thy holy shrine was taken across the sea. But now as Thou art honoured anew in the town of Thy servant Felix, do Thou intercede for us with Thy Son, Christ our Saviour, that we may cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, O Lady, Who dost ever comfort and protect those who pray unto Thee with faith!
Angels and men alike marvelled at the grace of the Holy Spirit which came forth from Thy shrine to comfort and protect those oppressed in dark and wicked times. Again they marvelled as Thou wast taken across the stormy sea to a safe haven in a faraway land. And now we too marvel, for Thou art come again to our shores to comfort and protect us anew in these latter times. Wherefore, we cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, Blessing and Protection of
O Lady of the Isles, we have known, we have continually beheld Thy gentle grace and consolation, we confess Thy mildheartedness and know Thy tender love, wherefore we cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
Who can understand the mind of God? Who can speak of His mysterious blessings? Who is privy to His counsel? For He raiseth up and He casteth down, He humbleth and He exalteth, He afflicteth and He healeth. Therefore He humbled us on account of our sins and cast down our land, taking away the ancient love of the Orthodox Faith. To whom then shall we flee in our sorrow, to whom then shall we stretch out our hands, if not unto Thee, O All Pure Lady? Wherefore with repentant heart we cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost intercede with
Thy Son for us!
Mighty works have appeared through
Thee and grace hath poured forth, O Most Blessed Virgin, moving all to
cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
As Thou dost possess love beyond words, O Most Good Lady, Thou dost make the light of Thy grace to shine forth in the places of darkness and sorrow. Wherefore Thou hast not forsaken us as orphans, but through Thine Image Thou hast come to us who glorify Thy mildheartedness and cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, Sea of wonders!
In times of trouble when temptations assail us, when sorrow and pain visit us, when patience and love fail us, we hasten to Thine Image and pouring forth our tears before Thee, we cry out from the depths of our hearts: Stretch out Thy God-bearing hands, speak unto us words of wisdom, lead us up out of evil, that with thankful hearts we may cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
In times of old the English people heard of Thy glory and hastened to Thee, crying aloud: How is it that this is granted unto us, that the Mother of the Lord is come even unto our home at the very ends of the earth? And beholding Thine Image, O Lady, they began to sing and cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, O Eden Who gavest birth to
the Tree of Life!
Like unto a star guided by God through the night sky, Thy precious Image hath returned unto us as of old. In times past the great and mighty bowed down before Thee, but now it is for us Thy humble and thankful servants to keep festival and cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
Beholding the plans of the ungodly
to destroy Thine Image, Thou didst deign to voyage across the sea. Now,
coming over the great ocean, in Orthodox wise Thou art restored to Thy
sea-girt Dowry and the mystery of our story turneth full circle. Wherefore,
beholding this blessing, with fear and love we cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, unshakeable stronghold of
beauty, goodness and truth!
All through the English land the faithful proclaim Thy tender mercy, O Heavenly Queen! For since first Thou didst come unto Thine Isles, we have been saved again and again from the righteous chastisement merited by our manifold sins. Wherefore, as by Thy mercy Thou hast saved us in times past, so do Thou now save us once more, that in thanksgiving we may cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
Shine forth upon us the light of hope before the end, O Most Pure Mother of God, Who in Thy birthgiving hast proclaimed the splendour of salvation to the whole universe. Forsake us not to the hands of the Enemy forever, and forgive us the times of unfaithfulness when our forebears were led into error. May the English land once more become Mary's Dowry as of old, may the love of God flower herein in these latter times, may churches and monasteries be raised up once more. May the people, delivered from cruel errors, celebrate with joy and gladness, confessing the Holy Trinity in truth, knowing the Holy Spirit according to the words of the Saviour, and cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost enlighten all
human minds with Thy love!
Wishing to admonish those who had forsaken Him, God the Righteous Judge permitted the English land to fall away from the Orthodox Faith. The nations of the West were in turmoil, error abounded for a thousand years, but now the end is not far. All who set their hope in Thee, O Lady of the Isles, swiftly flee unto Thee, awaiting the Saviour, Who hath given Thee to the faithful as a sure and steadfast hope before the end. Wherefore we cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
Terrible signs and dread wonders have been shown forth in these latter days, O Mother of God. The earth hath been filled with blood, kingdoms have fallen, locusts have filled the airs, fire hath fallen from the skies, yet the Orthodox Faith hath remained and the Church returneth to us who for long were orphaned. True worship of the Trinity, true confession of the Spirit and the times and the seasons of the Saints are kept, the Faith is preached unto all the ends of the earth. Gathering together the faithful remnant from Thine Island-Dowry and conquering our enemies, Thou art come anew to Eastern shores, O Queen of all. Beholding this new wonder, we all pray and with hearts and minds repenting we cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, O mighty leader Whose glorious
light shineth from the East to the West!
Thou hast revealed a wondrous sight, O Most Holy Virgin, for Thou dost return to English shores from across the sea. Nigh on one thousand years have passed and yet the memory of Thee hath not died in the Isles. May true veneration of Thee here be restored through Thy Son our Saviour Christ. Beholding the righting of age-old wrong, we receive Thy mysterious blessing with fear and trembling and in awe we cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
Thou dost enfold the whole world in the arms of Thy love, O Ever-Virgin Mary. Thy journey hath been from the East even unto the West, that all might bow down before Thee in godliness. Wherefore, as the Light from the East, shine down upon us, forget not Thy Dowry of old, forsake not Thine Isles and their sinful peoples, O Lady, that from the depths of repentant souls we may cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, O joy of all joys!
People of every age and position hasten unto Thee, O Bride of God, Whose hands once held God but now hold us instead. Thou dost enlighten and console all, warming the broken-hearted in Thy God-bearing hands, O Queen of Heaven. Wherefore, making glad, we cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
The eloquence of men is thwarted, their flowing streams of words run dry, for they are powerless to find words to praise Thee, O Virgin Mary, for no mouth can praise Thee as is meet. Yet, should we altogether fall silent, the very stones of the earth will cry out in praise of Thee. Wherefore, unworthy though we are, our earthen lips cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, Inspired sayings of the Apostles!
O Most Holy Mother of God, we call upon Thee again, pray that the world may yet be saved. The plots and snares of the Evil One are spread over all the face of the earth, the nations rage and storms of worldly temptations rise up against the Church of God, though She will prevail even against the gates of Hell. Wherefore, as of old in Cana of Galilee, only say a word to Thy Son and our God, that He may change the water of temptation and human sorrow into the wine of repentance and divine gladness, that we may unceasingly cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
O Most Holy Bearer of God, be Thou for us an invincible rampart against the legions of enemies, seen and unseen, who so sorely persecute us. Fight staunchly and unfailingly for us, who cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost stretch out
Thy God-bearing hands to us!
As Thy Son accepted the widow's mite, do Thou also accept our song, O All-Holy Lady, and grant that we may ever offer up our prayers unto Thee, Who dost guide our life through the shadows of this world. Grant us forgiveness of our sins, that we may enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
Stretch out Thy Protecting Veil over all the earth, O Most Good Lady. Shine forth like the full moon in the dark night of ungodliness and blasphemy. Enlighten our Isles once more with the splendour of Thy purity, that our voices may rise up once more and cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, Thou Who art in truth clothed
with the Sun!
Grace upon grace we have received through Thee, O Most Pure Maiden Mary. Those who call upon Thee with faith go not empty away, for all receive the gift of God according unto their need and are crowned with joy. Wherefore we cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia!
We hymn Thee, we magnify Thee, we bow down before Thee, O Most Pure Lady. Unable to praise Thee as is meet, we fall down before Thy precious Image and in repentance we cry out to Thee with faith:
Rejoice, Sweet dawn of our souls!
O Lady praised by all, Mother of the Church and all Christians, emulating Thy Son and our Saviour in Thy tender mercy, Thou dost cry unto us: Fear not, little flock! I am with you and none is against you! Wherefore, falling down before Thee with love and giving thanks with tears, we cry out to Thee with faith: Alleluia! (Thrice).
And again Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1
Prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God
O Most Holy Maiden Mary and Mother
of our God, Lady of the Isles, our sure hope and calm haven, blessing
of our lives, joy of those who grieve, healing of the sick, wisdom of
the darkened, reward of the wronged, Thou seest our misfortune, Thou seest
our sorrow, help us for we are weak, guide us for we wander, Thou knowest
our sins, may they be forgiven as the Lord deigneth. Deliver our land
from its errors, restore the Orthodox Faith to Thine Isles and Thy peoples,
make us once more to be Thy Dowry. Save and preserve Thy servants (NN)
and all of us here present who pray unto Thee with tears. Comfort and
protect us beneath Thy Precious Veil, for we have none other than Thee,
O Bearer of God, to comfort and protect us unto the ages of ages. Amen.