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The Acathistus (from Greek, meaning “not [sung] sitting”), a Byzantine hymn to the Virgin Mary sung while standing, takes the form of an alphabetic acrostic and is thought to have been first composed by Romanus Melodus (6th cent.). The original served as a model for many similar hymns, especially in Russia. At times having considerable influence in the West, the Acathistus has been illustrated in picture-cycles since the 14th century.

See Mariology; Mary, Devotion to


A. Chadzinikolau, “Akathistos Hymnos,” RBK 1.94–96

G. Dévai, “Akathistos–Prooemia in …

Cite this page
Plank, Peter, “Acathistus”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 18 January 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_A31>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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