Akathist Hymn to Saint John, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord

Kontakion 1

Thou wast chosen from days of old, Saint John, to be the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ God the Saviour of the world. Glorifying the Lord Who glorified thee, we sing unto thee hymns of praise as unto the greatest of those born of woman, as unto an angel in the flesh and a preacher of repentance. Since thou hast great boldness before the Lord, free us from dangers of all kinds and move us to repentance, so that we may cry unto thee with love:

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Ikos 1

The Archangel Gabriel, who standeth before God, was sent unto the priest Zachariah, when he, serving according to his rank, entered with incense into the Sanctuary of the Lord. Standing to the right of the Altar of Incense, the angel announced unto him the good news of thy birth. Gabriel proclaimed joy and gladness unto Zachariah, because many would rejoice at God’s amazing goodwill concerning thee, Saint John, and thence would reverently cry out in praise of thee:

Rejoice, ineffable confidant of the counsel of God.
.
Rejoice, fulfillment of His marvelous dispensation.

Rejoice, foretold many years before by the prophecy of Isaiah.

Rejoice, messenger before the face of the Lord, prophesied of old.

Rejoice, thou who wast foreordained to be a great prophet of the Most High.

Rejoice, thou who wast born according to the promise of an angel.

Rejoice, thou who wast filled with the Holy Ghost even in thy mother’s womb.

Rejoice, thou who wast consecrated for a great ministry before thy birth.

Rejoice, release of thy parents’ barrenness.

Rejoice, joy and gladness of a priest of God.

Rejoice, offspring of a daughter of Aaron.

Rejoice, God-given fruit of prayer.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 2

When Zachariah beheld the angel, he was disturbed and fear fell upon him, for he did not believe the words of the announcement concerning thy birth. Thereupon being stricken with dumbness for his disbelief, he marveled at this most glorious wonder, crying unto God with all his heart: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

Seeking to understand the unfathomable Mind, the people awaited Zachariah and wondered at his tarrying in the Sanctuary. When he came out and could not speak unto them, but only made signs, then they all understood that he had beheld a vision in the Sanctuary. We therefore glorify God, the marvelous Creator of miracles, and we cry unto thee:

Rejoice, good source of thy father’s silence.

Rejoice, change of thy mother’s tears into joy.

Rejoice, removal of her reproach among the people.

Rejoice, great consolation for those who gave thee birth.

Rejoice, for in the sixth month after thy conception, the most holy Virgin Mary was visited by an angel in Nazareth.

Rejoice, for many rejoiced over thy birth.

Rejoice, for thou didst receive a grace-filled name, given by an angel.

Rejoice, by thy name the silence of thy father Zachariah was ended.

Rejoice, for the Name of God was blessed by thy father because of thee.

Rejoice, for fear and wonder over thy miraculous birth came upon those living round about.

Rejoice, for the news of thy miraculous birth spread over the entire land of Judea.

Rejoice, by thee salvation appeared unto many in this world.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 3

The power of the Most High ended the barrenness of the righteous Elizabeth, who was beyond the natural age for bearing children, for she conceived thee, the glorious Forerunner of the Lord. Keeping this secret for five months, she said: For thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein He looked upon me to take away my reproach among men. But when Elizabeth received her who bore Christ in her womb, she was filled with the Holy Ghost and cried with a loud voice: Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come unto me? Rejoicing together with her, she cried unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

Thou who wast to go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah wast filled with the Holy Ghost whilst in thy mother’s womb, whence thou didst appear as a marvelous prophet. Thou didst leap with rejoicing at the coming of the Mother of the Lord, for thou didst recognize God borne in the womb of her who is full of grace, and by thy mother’s voice didst preach Him. Saint John, it was proper for the beginning of divine things to be most glorious. Humbly marveling at this, it is right that we cheerfully cry unto thee:

Rejoice, whilst in thy mother’s womb thou didst proclaim with miraculous gladness the Lord Who glorified thee.

Rejoice, by thee and thy mother Elizabeth, the Incarnation of Christ was revealed.

Rejoice, for she also was filled with the Holy Ghost.

Rejoice, by her the most holy Virgin Mary was called blessed among women.

Rejoice, for she appeared as a most marvelous prophetess.

Rejoice, by her Mary was also named the Mother of the Lord.

Rejoice, for within Mary’s womb was the salvation of mankind.

Rejoice, manifestation of divine wisdom.

Rejoice, heavenly blessing of a holy marriage.

Rejoice, wonderful offspring of a barren womb.

Rejoice, astonishment of all in thy birth.

Rejoice, radiant voice of the Word.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 4

Disturbed by a storm of doubt, the priest Zachariah was unable to speak, according to the angel’s word. After thy birth, Forerunner of the Lord, he wrote thy grace-filled name and immediately his lips and tongue were loosened. Yea, then did Zachariah speak, and he blessed God and prophesied, saying: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest, singing unto Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

Upon hearing of thy most glorious and miraculous birth, the people who lived round about, said among themselves with amazement: What will this child become? We who unworthily honour thee now, most glorious Forerunner of the Lord, as the greatest of those born of woman, glorify thee in this manner:

Rejoice, thou who wast filled with manifestations of grace from thy conception.

Rejoice, thou who wast glorified by God in thy birth.

Rejoice, thou who wast in thine infancy called a Prophet of the Most High by the Father.

Rejoice, thou who wast in thy childhood enlightened and strengthened by the Holy Ghost.

Rejoice, thou who wast a blood relative of God Incarnate.

Rejoice, thou who didst receive from God the lofty calling of Forerunner and Baptist.

Rejoice, ray proclaiming new Light unto the world.

Rejoice, star illumining the path that leadeth unto Christ.

Rejoice, morning star of the never-setting Sun.

Rejoice, worthy lamp of the never-waning Light.

Rejoice, thou who preparest the way for the approaching Christ.

Rejoice, thou who appearest as both angel and man.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 5

The ungodly command of the lawless murderer of children, Herod, drove thee out of thy father’s house into the trackless wilderness, carried by thy mother. Forerunner of the Lord, there thou didst abide until the day of thine appearance unto Israel, eating locusts and wild honey, and calling unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

Beholding God’s wonderful providence concerning thee, John praised by God, thou didst appear as a lover of the life of fasting from infancy’s swaddling clothes. Thence, by the will of the Most High, thou wast sent to preach the approaching salvation in Christ. For this reason, with amazement and love we cry unto thee:

Rejoice, whilst yet an infant, thou didst terrify King Herod.

Rejoice, thou who wast preserved from his vain murdering by the Right Hand of the Most High.

Rejoice, fragrant rose of the barren desert.

Rejoice, thou who didst amaze all by the height of thine ascetic labors.

Rejoice, faithful indicator of the True Way.

Rejoice, most wonderful preserver of purity and chastity.

Rejoice, perfect example of the self-denial of the Gospel.

Rejoice, protection and security of monks and nuns.

Rejoice, enlightenment of the minds of theologians.

Rejoice, defense of the poor and widows and orphans.

Rejoice, thou who dost open the doors of God’s compassion for the sinful.

Rejoice, thou who dost help to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 6

A glorious preacher and a divine Forerunner wast thou shewn to be in the desert of Jordan on the day of the appearance of Christ God unto the world. Upon His approaching thee, thou didst shew Him unto the people, saying: Behold, the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world. Thus having known Him through faith, we sing unto Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

Thou didst shine as a light of truth, Saint John, enlightened by God, manifesting unto all the effulgence of the glory of the Father, appearing in the flesh for our sake. Thou didst cry unto the people in the wilderness: Repent ye; for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; bring forth fruit worthy of repentance. For behold, there cometh after me, One Who shall baptize you with water and the Spirit. Wherefore we cry unto thee with praises:

Rejoice, herald of the coming of the Messiah.

Rejoice, preparer of the straight paths of the Lord.

Rejoice, intercessor of the old and the new grace.

Rejoice, end of the prophets and beginning of the apostles.

Rejoice, renowned voice of the Word.

Rejoice, thundering preacher of repentance.

Rejoice, thou who didst convert many of the sons of Israel unto the Lord.

Rejoice, thou who didst make people perfect for the Lord.

Rejoice, thou who boldly didst expose the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Rejoice, thou who teachest to bear fruit worthy of repentance.

Rejoice, indicator of spiritual enlightenment.

Rejoice, constant intercessor for those seeking thy protection.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 7

When the Lord Jesus wanted to be baptized, divinely blessed John, thou didst say: I have need to be baptized of Thee. Notwithstanding, thou didst submit unto Him Who said: Let it be so now. Hence, thou didst raise thy right hand upon His head and having baptized Him Who did not need purification, thou didst cry out: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

Giving thee new grace, the Lord willed to be baptized by thee, granting thee to behold the coming of the Spirit and to hear the Father’s voice from the heavens testifying unto His Sonship. Thenceforth, thou didst teach us to worship One God in Three Persons. Glorifying with lips of clay the Trinity, we offer these praises unto thee:

Rejoice, first preacher of the Trinity’s Theophany.

Rejoice, true worshipper of the One God in Three Persons.

Rejoice, clear beholder of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove.

Rejoice, witness of His descent from the Father upon the Son.

Rejoice, hearer of the voice of God the Father from Heaven.

Rejoice, beholder of the revelation of the Father’s love for the Son.

Rejoice, chosen Baptist of the Son of God.

Rejoice, glad fulfiller of His holy will.

Rejoice, zealous struggler in glorious service for the salvation of the human race.

Rejoice, first celebrant of the great mystery of Baptism.

Rejoice, fervent messenger of divine joy.

Rejoice, first teacher of the New Testament.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 8

Having beheld the strange and ineffable humility of the Incarnate God the Word, divinely blessed Baptist, when He bowed His divine head unto thee and received a servile Baptism, thou thyself wast wholly filled with great humility. Entreat this divinely beloved virtue for us who are possessed by demonic pride, so that we may also submit unto Him Who alone is worthy and to say: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

Wholly filled with the gifts of grace, in finishing the course of earthly life, O John the divinely chosen, thou didst teach all to please God well through fulfillment of the Law and repentance. We fervently sing out thankful praises unto thee who art the great teacher of truth:

Rejoice, planter of the Law and statues of the Lord.

Rejoice, blameless exposer of Herod’s lawlessness.

Rejoice, upright zealot for his correction.

Rejoice, thou who didst suffer imprisonment and bondage for the sake of righteousness.

Rejoice, thou who wast beheaded for the truth.

Rejoice, for thy body was given an honourable burial by thy disciples.

Rejoice, for thy head was preserved incorrupt by God’s providence.

Rejoice, for it hath granted consolation, sanctification and healing unto Christians.

Rejoice, for the faithful piously bow down also before thy right hand which baptized the Lord.

Rejoice, for many miracles are thereby accomplished even unto the present day.

Rejoice, by thee the faithful are delivered from the dishonour of passions.

Rejoice, by thee the sinful are moved to repentance.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 9

The angelic realm was amazed at the loftiness of thy ministry, and the Church reverently praiseth thee as the friend of Christ God, coming before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah. Zealous for truth, thou didst boldly expose the Pharisees and also the lawless Herod from whom thou didst receive a martyr’s end. For this cause, we bow down before thy holy head, and we pray to thee to deliver us from the distress of passions, so that with pure heart and lips we may chant: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

No rhetoric of the earthly born can suffice to praise thee, John the divinely praised. Only the lips of Christ did rightfully praise thee, calling thee higher than the prophets and the greatest of all those born of woman. We therefore, not knowing how to offer thee worthy praise, cry unto thee such things as these:

Rejoice, great glory of the Church of Christ.

Rejoice, most marvelous wonder of the angels.

Rejoice, joy and glorification of the forefathers.

Rejoice, lofty praise of the prophets.

Rejoice, divinely illumined crown of the apostles.

Rejoice, magnificent beauty of hierarchs.

Rejoice, beginning of martyrs in the new grace.

Rejoice, perfection of holy monks and nuns.

Rejoice, adornment of the righteous.

Rejoice, foundation of virgins and fasters.

Rejoice, great consolation of all Christians.

Rejoice, for thy name is glorified by all Christian generations.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 10

Thou didst proclaim unto those in hades the good news of Christ, come in the flesh to save the world. Like the morning star preceding the sun, thou didst illumine those sitting in the darkness and in the shadow of death. Hence, thou wast soon led forth by the Lord with all the righteous from the beginning of the age, chanting unto Him as the deliverer from sin and the conqueror of death: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

Thou art a wall and a saving refuge unto all who hasten to thee in prayer, O Baptist John. We bless thy holy life with hymns of praise:

Rejoice, mighty intercessor and faithful preserver from harm.

Rejoice, quick helper and deliverer of those suffering from the spirits of malice.

Rejoice, thou who dost send down the blessing of God upon the barren.

Rejoice, thou who dost deliver those who run to thee with faith from great disturbance of passions.

Rejoice, thou who dost quickly reconcile those who are at enmity.

Rejoice, thou who dost grant speedy help unto those who fervently hasten to thee in every need and sorrow.

Rejoice, thou who dost rescue those who are running the good race from self- deception and prelest.*

Rejoice, thou who dost help those who entrust themselves unto thine intercession at the hour of death.

Rejoice, thou who by thine intercession dost deliver those who love thee from the toll-houses of the air.

Rejoice, thou who dost vouchsafe eternal life unto those who honour thy glorious memory.

Rejoice, after God and the Theotokos, the refuge and hope of Christians.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

*[Prelest is a Russian word, meaning spiritual delusion as opposed to spiritual sobriety.]

Kontakion 11

No hymn is sufficient to praise thee according to the legacy of thy great deeds, blessed John. Compelled by love, however, we dare to hymn thy greatness. Do thou mercifully accept this from us, O intercessor before the Throne of the Most Holy Trinity. Pray to free us from every sinful corruption, that with pure heart and lips we may chant unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

Knowing thee to be a lamp of the unapproachable Light and entirely filled with the all-radiant gifts of grace, John the divinely enlightened, joyfully we offer thee such words as these:

Rejoice, eyewitness of the Divine Light shining from on high.

Rejoice, gladness of those who acquire the Christian virtures.

Rejoice, beacon of the majestic glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

Rejoice, indicator of the correct and marvelous path to Heaven.

Rejoice, harbinger of the good news of God Incarnate for those in hades.

Rejoice, bearer of glad tidings for the righteous held in the nether regions from the beginning of the age.

Rejoice, sincere friend of the Master, Christ God.

Rejoice, revealer unto the world of the True Light from Heaven.

Rejoice, radiance of the shining light of the Gospel.

Rejoice, glorification of the Christian race.

Rejoice, fulfillment of the counsel of God.

Rejoice, from the rising of the sun unto the going-down of the same, thy name is to be praised.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 12

Bearing the name of grace, O Baptist of the Lord, and enriched thereby, thou didst appear as a most glorious bearer of victory. Thou didst conquer enemies and every malice, and thou didst seal thy ministry with martyrdom. Standing now at the Throne of the King of kings, entreat Him to grant all the faithful victory over their enemies and Godspeed in all things, and the strengthening of grace in virtues as they humbly chant unto Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

Hymning God, Who was wondrously glorified in thee, we praise thee, Saint John the Baptist, as the sincere friend of Jesus Christ. We praise thy great ascetic struggles, we bless thy martyr’s death, and we truly cry unto thee such things as these:

Rejoice, universal apostle and first martyr of the New Testament.

Rejoice, first preacher of the Kingdom of Heaven manifested by the appearance of Christ on the earth.

Rejoice, foreteller of the divine calling of the Gentiles.

Rejoice, thou who didst manifest unto the world the hidden and secret things of the wisdom of God.

Rejoice, thou who wast shewn to be more fruitful than others in divine deeds.

Rejoice, for thou didst glorify the Heavenly Father by thy holy deeds.

Rejoice, for thou dost unspeakably gladden the Church of Christ concerning thy memory.

Rejoice, for now thou dost eternally enjoy abundant gladness.

Rejoice, for thou art illuminated by the divine rays of the light of the Three-Sunned Light.

Rejoice, for thou dost unceasingly chant with the bodiless ones the thrice-holy hymn unto God.

Rejoice, for now with the mirror removed, thou dost directly behold the Holy Trinity.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Kontakion 13

Great and most glorious John, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, receive from us now this supplication offered unto thee. By thy prayers which are pleasing unto God, deliver us from every kind of evil. Rescue us from eternal torment and make us heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven, that throughout the ages we may chant unto God: Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

(Repeat Kontakion 13 three times.)

Kontakion 1 (repeated)

Thou wast chosen from days of old, Saint John, to be the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ God the Saviour of the world. Glorifying the Lord Who glorified thee, we sing unto thee hymns of praise as unto the greatest of those born of woman, as unto an angel in the flesh and a preacher of repentance. Since thou hast great boldness before the Lord, free us from dangers of all kinds and move us to repentance, so that we may cry unto thee with love:

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

Ikos 1 (repeated)

The Archangel Gabriel, who stands before God, was sent to the priest Zachariah, when he, serving according to his rank, entered with incense into the Sanctuary of the Lord. Standing to the right of the Altar of Incense, the angel announced unto him the good news of thy birth. Gabriel proclaimed joy and gladness unto Zachariah, because many would rejoice at God’s amazing goodwill concerning thee, Saint John, and thence would reverently cry out in praise of thee:

Rejoice, ineffable confidant of the counsel of God.
.
Rejoice, fulfillment of His marvelous dispensation.

Rejoice, foretold many years before by the prophecy of Isaiah.

Rejoice, messenger before the face of the Lord, prophesied of old.

Rejoice, thou who wast foreordained to be a great prophet of the Most High.

Rejoice, thou who wast born according to the promise of an angel.

Rejoice, thou who wast filled with the Holy Ghost even in thy mother’s womb.

Rejoice, thou who wast consecrated for a great ministry before thy birth.

Rejoice, release of thy parents’ barrenness.

Rejoice, joy and gladness of a priest of God.

Rejoice, offspring of a daughter of Aaron.

Rejoice, God-given fruit of prayer.

Rejoice, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.

A Prayer

Saint John, prophet and martyr, Thou who wast a blessing unto the righteous Elizabeth and a friend of Christ the Lord, teach us to repent that we may also be a blessing unto others and that we may prepare a straight path from this sinful world to the Kingdom of Heaven. Correct us if we stray from truth, deliver us if we fall into passions, and purify us if we love not our neighbor as Christ hath loved us. Baptist John, let us bring forth fruits worthy of repentance — fruits from the barren deserts and fruits from the dark forests which are transfigured only by reconciliation in Christ our God. We thank thee, O voice in the wilderness, for proclaiming the message of salvation unto all people. Amen.