If you’ve been around the parish for a while you’ve probably experienced an akathist or two - we try to hold akathists to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and/or St. Xenia of St. Petersburg about once a month, but what is an akathist? The name itself is derived from the Greek, and means “unseated hymn” indicating that we stand reverently during them if we’re able to.
You’ll note that a lot of the refrains in the akathists begin with “rejoice,” and this is purposive - these are hymns of praise devoted to a saint, a holy happening, e.g., the Triumph of Orthodoxy, or to the Holy Trinity or Theotokos. Akathists are comprised of thirteen parts, each with a kontakion (hymn) and an oikos (stanza with refrains), with introductory and closing prayers appended at either end. While they may seem really long, if you listen closely, you’ll learn quite a bit about the life and ministry of the saint and why they are worthy of our devotion and veneration.