Akathist to the Holy Great Martyr Catherine of Alexandria

Kontakion 1

With songs of praise let us hymn Catherine, the bride of Christ, the virgin martyr chosen from the imperial house and crowned in heaven; for she is the most glorious vanquisher of the tyrant, the most wise instructor of philosophers, and a guide to Christ for many. As thou hast boldness before the Lord, O great martyr Catherine, mercifully incline Him to the right needful petitions of those who cry out to thee:

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Ikos 1

Having preserved a purity equal to that of the angels, O holy virgin Catherine, thou didst hasten to the choirs of the angels, and with the angels thou hast been accounted worthy of divine illumination; and whilst chanting with them a hymn to the Trinity in the heavens, hearken unto us on earth who chant these things:

Rejoice, thou who from infancy wast set aside as a vessel of grace by the election of God the Father; rejoice, thou who through the wondrous economy of God wast instructed in the understanding of the greatness and glory of Christ the Son of God! Rejoice, wondrous sign of the foreknowledge of God, which was made manifest in thee; rejoice, for when the Holy Spirit called thee, thou thyself didst earnestly hasten to His sanctity! Rejoice, thou who wast illumined by the light of pious faith; rejoice, thou who wast reborn in the holy font! Rejoice, honored dwelling-place of the sanctity of the Spirit; rejoice, fulfillment of the sufferings of Christ! Rejoice, thou who on earth didst wash thy garments in the blood of the Lamb; rejoice, thou who didst join chorus with the holy virgins in heaven! Rejoice, most radiant star, shining with the glory of miracles in the firmament of the Church; rejoice, thou who like a dove art also resplendent with meekness in the blessed kingdom of Christ!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 2

Seeing herself found worthy to receive a vision, the blessed Catherine hastened to the holy elder who had before entrusted the icon of the Mother of God to her; and she recounted to him how Christ, Who had appeared to her with His all-holy Mother, had hid His face from her, calling her foolish, poor and of mean birth, until such time as she forsook the infamy of idolatry. And hearing this, the venerable one instructed her in the mysteries of the Faith and baptized her; and in the renewal of the Spirit, she chanted to God in thanksgiving: Alleluia!

Ikos 2

Having acquired in her spiritual rebirth a good intellect, true nobility and imperishable riches, the holy Catherine was shown to be worthy of Christ the heavenly Bridegroom Who, appearing again to her, loved her and betrothed her to Himself with the ring He gave her; and recognizing the magnitude of God's good pleasure, she was so stricken with love for Him that she no longer pondered earthly things, but thought unceasingly of her Beloved. Having been accounted worthy of such grace, hearken thou unto these things from us:

Rejoice, for in the natural wisdom given thee, thou didst seek from God spiritual gifts which transcend nature; rejoice, for thou didst make foolish the wisdom, glory and riches of the world! Rejoice, for thou didst not wish to take to thee a bridegroom from among the men of the world; rejoice, thou who in a vision wast betrothed by the Lord Christ Himself as His unblemished bride! Rejoice, for thou didst have the all-pure Mother of God herself as guarantor for thee and mediator with God the Son of God; rejoice, for thou didst truly receive from Christ a most marvelous ring for thy right hand, as a token of thy betrothal to thy heavenly Bridegroom! Rejoice, for having been transformed by a wondrous transformation, thou didst put aside all thought of worldly things; rejoice, for thou didst diligently pursue the fragrance of the myrrh of Christ! Rejoice, good lover of the immortal Bridegroom; rejoice, receptacle of the fragrance of the Most High! Rejoice, olive tree planted in the house of God; rejoice, cedar of Lebanon growing to a great height!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 3

The power of the Most High then gave to the holy Catherine the boldness fearlessly to denounce the impious Emperor Maximinus for offering sacrifices unto idols; and he was struck mute for many hours, unable to gainsay her words; and she chanted unto God in thanksgiving: Alleluia!

Ikos 3

Possessed of wisdom imparted to her from on high, when the impious Emperor set her before himself the holy Catherine confessed herself to be an emperor's daughter, and one who had mastered well the sciences of philosophy and rhetoric; and furthermore, as an open rejection of the worship of idols, she declared herself to be the bride of Christ. Mindful therefore of this thy bold confession, we offer up to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, bee who didst escape by flight the reek of idolatry; rejoice, dove who didst ever strive earnestly to preserve the purity of thy soul and body! Rejoice, thou who, having strained thy whole mind to comprehend the mysteries of salvation in the Lord Christ, wast enriched with spiritual treasures; rejoice, for, exceeding zealous for the glory of Christ thy heavenly Bridegroom, thou didst strive in every way to lure erring people into the net of the Faith of Christ! Rejoice, for, guided by the mighty arm of Christ, thou didst escape the tempest of idolatry; rejoice, for, directed by the divine commandments of the Master and afire with love for Him, thou didst earnestly hasten to the struggles that awaited thee! Rejoice, for, invested with divine help, thou didst courageously make thy stand before the godless tribunal; rejoice, for by thy mighty boldness thou didst daunt the tyrannical emperor himself! Rejoice, fortress of faith erected by Christ to set unbelief at naught; rejoice, most radiant morning-star, heralding the dawn of salvation for those who through thee came to believe on Christ! Rejoice, athlete who overcame the ruler of this world as a beacon overcometh darkness; rejoice, sanctified wall of the fold, guarding the sheep of Christ against the ravenings of the noetic wolf!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 4

Stirring up a tempest of wrath against the holy virgin, the emperor said to her: "Speak not evilly to me against our gods!" But the holy Catherine replied: "If thou desirest to shake the darkness of delusion from the eyes of thy soul, understand that thy gods are evil, and accept the true God Whose name, when merely uttered, or Whose Cross, when traced in the air, driveth away and destroyeth thy gods. If thou commandest, I shall disclose to thee the Truth, chanting unto God: Alleluia!"

Ikos 4

Hearing thy wise and generous reply concerning the Faith of Christ, and fearing lest he be bested by thee, O most splendid maiden, the impious Emperor assembled wise men, fifty in number, from the far-flung regions of his realm, to argue with thee. But strengthened and assured of victory by the Archangel Michael, thou didst rejoice greatly and didst resolutely enter into debate with them. Wherefore, accept from us this praise:

Rejoice, for thou wast informed by the archangel concerning thy victorious triumph over thine opponents; rejoice, for, possessed of divine knowledge from heaven, thou didst right boldly and courageously put to shame the proponents of knowledge falsely so called! Rejoice, for with a purified heart thou didst receive the grace of the Spirit of truth; rejoice, for, having made thyself steadfast by thy manner of life and constant reasoning, thou didst trample the falsehoods of the noetic foe underfoot! Rejoice, melodious organ of the Spirit; rejoice, revealer of the mind of Christ! Rejoice, thou who didst acquire the cherubim's knowledge of God; rejoice, thou who wast enflamed with the seraphim's love for God! Rejoice, most wise of the wise; rejoice, thou who didst sharpen the sword of the Spirit against unbelief! Rejoice, dispeller of impiety; rejoice, instructor of the faithful!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 5

Thou wast like unto a divinely radiant star, O Catherine, having by thy wise words prevailed in argument over the fifty rhetoricians and guided them to the Christian path that leadeth to Christ God, the Sun of righteousness, Who shone forth from the Virgin; but, condemned for Christ's sake to immolation and accompanied on their way by thy prayers, they joyously entered the fire, chanting: Alleluia!

Ikos 5

Seeing his edicts spurned and his exhortations ignored, the emperor turned to deceit, that he might seduce thee with blandishments, O blessed Catherine, promising to give thee half of his kingdom. But, preferring the Faith to earthly treasures, and loving Christ thy Bridegroom more than an earthly kingdom, and the vesture of martyrdom more than royal purple, thou didst reject his vain words. Wherefore, we offer up to thee these praises:

Rejoice, O virgin who didst denounce falsehood; rejoice, thou who didst trample the perfidious serpent underfoot! Rejoice, for thou didst turn the pernicious doctrine of the infidels into a weapon for their destruction; rejoice, for, having stripped the gods they worshipped of their veneration, thou didst hold them up to mockery! Rejoice, for the fifty member council of those who boasted themselves to be wise thou didst most wisely set at naught; rejoice, for thou didst unmask the foolishness of their earthly wisdom before the whole multitude! Rejoice, clarion of the Spirit, emitting the sound of true theology; rejoice, good confession of the Faith! Rejoice, splendor of the light of the Gospel; rejoice, keeper of eternal laws! Rejoice, thou who didst ascend the mountain of divine vision; rejoice, for the light of Christ having illumined those who disputed with thee with faith, received them unto salvation!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 6

Zealous to imitate the preachers and God-bearing apostles, thou didst boldly proclaim Christ the true God in the tyrant's presence, and throughout thy floggings and imprisonment thou didst chant to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 6

He Who shone the effulgence of true knowledge into thy heart drove away the gloom of tribulations and did not leave thee to starve, sending food to thee by means of a dove; neither did He permit thee to be afflicted by thy pangs, for in prison He visited thee Himself, giving thee strength and promising thee many crowns. And thou wast strengthened all the more by Him, O thou who art patient of heart, and the Empress Augusta, the General Porphyrius and the soldiers who came to thee, thou didst convert to the light of the Christian Faith, teaching them to chant these things to thee:

Rejoice, phial of love divine; rejoice, for, imitating Chris, thou didst willingly go forth to suffer! Rejoice, hard adamant; rejoice, all-honorable source of ineffable miracles! Rejoice, thou who didst slay the enemy by thine endurance; rejoice, thou who didst bear the wounds of the Lord upon thy body! Rejoice, thou who to the Empress Augusta and those who accompanied her didst show the way to the feat of martyrdom; rejoice, for thou wast a light amid the darkness! Rejoice, for the Lord Himself, the Light of the world, revealed Himself to thee when thou wast in prison; rejoice, speedy liberator from the bonds of sin! Rejoice, swift healer of the sick; rejoice, aid of our salvation!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 7

The godless Emperor, wishing to lure thee into idolatrous worship abominable to God, again set snares for thee, O all-wise one, seeking to distract thee by falsely praising thy beauty; but thou didst call beauty a transient thing and one that quickly passeth, and confessing Christ to be the living and true God thou didst chant unto Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 7

The emperor displayed his wrath and inhumanity anew when he commanded the governor to break thy pure, virginal and holy body upon the wheel; but by the wondrous hand of the angel thou wast straightway loosed without having sustained any harm, the wheel suddenly broke apart, and in its breaking many unbelievers were slain. Seeing this, the \emperor was stricken with terror, and the multitude of the people who were there present cried aloud: "Great is the God of the Christians!" And marveling at this, we cry out to thee:

Rejoice, for having embraced the immaterial life, thou didst bravely surrender the beauty of thy body to be laid waste; rejoice, for on thy body thou didst cause the radiance of God to blossom forth! Rejoice, for thou didst give thine unblemished body over to divers grievous torments out of love for thy Creator; rejoice, for in the strength of that love thou wast shown to be victorious, uncowed by fear or the cruelty of torture! Rejoice, for in divinely wise manner thou didst prefer to receive grievous beatings on thy body, for the sake of the superiority of spiritual comeliness; rejoice, for through the wounds thou didst suffer for Christ's sake thou didst desire to be adorned in vesture of truly royal purple! Rejoice, for thou didst prevail over the sly words and temptations of the tyrant; rejoice, for thou didst cut down the cruel one's hopes of weakening the strength of thy resolve! Rejoice, O martyr, sight precious and marvelous to the angels; rejoice, glory of companies of athletes! Rejoice, splendid victory over the foe; rejoice, fear of the infidels!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 8

Beholding the strange renunciation of glory and the suffering for Christ of the empress, the general and his soldiers, let us betake ourselves far away from the world and the flesh, and soar aloft to the knowledge of God. For He is the beauty, the glory and crown of us who sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 8

Jesus became for thee thy whole delight and desire, O holy Catherine; for thou didst sweetly endure bitter torment for His sake, and didst trample underfoot the scepter offered thee, preferring the recompense that is to come. Wherefore, accept from us these praises:

Rejoice, for through thy divinely wise teachings the empress, believing, made haste to piety; rejoice, for, having endured the painful tearing away of her breasts and decapitation by the sword, through thee she was manifestly deemed worthy of the everlasting kingdom of heaven! Rejoice, most radiant moon, driving away the gloom of unbelief from those who walk by night; rejoice, thou who didst illumine the companies of soldiers, benighted by idolatry, with thy virtues as with the rays of the sun! Rejoice, dove of the comely Bridegroom that sang in the wilderness of this world below; rejoice, thou who didst gladden the Master of the heavenly hosts with the sweet song of thy confession! Rejoice, thou who didst perfume the garments of Christ with sweet fragrance; rejoice, thou who didst seek Him Who was begotten before the everlasting hills like a hart upon the mountains of spices! Rejoice, for thou didst sail easily and swiftly over the tumult of the sea of this world; rejoice, for thou didst arrive at the calm haven of ever-blessed life! Rejoice, for by the salvation of those who were close to thee didst thou send great and divers riches before thee unto Christ; rejoice, for thou didst undertake the struggle of suffering out of love for Christ!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 9

Every angelic being was gladdened with joy, beholding thee, O most glorious Catherine, victorious over the dark prince of this world; and it welcomed thee into the heavens as a triumphant commander preceded by a company of martyrs, and chanted hymns of victory, crying aloud to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 9

The lips of the most eloquent of orators were stopped, for they were unable to gainsay thy words, and in silence they rendered honor to thy gifts. And although we are weak, yet do we dare to open our lips in thy praise, offering to thee this hymn:

Rejoice, melodious instrument of the Holy Spirit; rejoice, thou who didst acquire the mind of Christ! Rejoice, ray of ineffable splendor; rejoice, thou who didst make plain divine dogmas! Rejoice, adornment and confirmation of the city of Alexandria; rejoice, beauty and boast of Mount Sinai! Rejoice, thou who didst imitate the zeal of Elijah; rejoice, thou who by the purity of thy soul and body didst reveal the unburnt bush! Rejoice, thou who didst in purity love Him Who is pure; rejoice, O most glorious one who dost release those held captive by the dark foe! Rejoice, thou who art resplendent with the comeliness of virginity and dost perfume martyrdom with the graces; rejoice, boast of martyrs and teacher of piety!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 10

Desiring to save thy soul, thou didst disdain thy body, O Catherine, and having given the tyrant thy consent to be beheaded, thou didst joyously depart hence, chanting to Christ God, thine immortal Bridegroom: Alleluia!

Ikos 10

A firm and unassailable bulwark didst thou show thyself to the women who accompanied thee and with lamentation called thee hard-hearted and indifferent to thyself, O bride of Christ, for thou didst not spare thy tender life in the bloom of its youth, in that thou didst spurn the earthly kingdom and goods offered thee. But thou didst forbid their unprofitable wailing and vain words, hastening all the more swiftly to unite thyself to thy Beloved through death; and for His sake thou hearest such things as these cried aloud:

Rejoice, thou who didst gladly bow thy head beneath the sword for the sake of Christ, the Head of the Church; rejoice, thou who with patience didst bring to a goodly end the course of thy struggle! Rejoice, thou who wast not dissuaded from the path of the confession of Christ by tribulation, wounds or the sword; rejoice, thou who didst preserve the flame of love unquenched amid the streams of thy blood! Rejoice, good virgin maiden, for didst thou magnificently adorn thyself with most sacred sufferings; rejoice, for as was meet thou didst enter into the heavenly bridal chamber of Christ! Rejoice, most radiant maiden, for, having loved the One thou didst desire, thou didst follow after Him, completing a most difficult course; rejoice, for by thy blood thou didst manifestly cry out to Christ thy Bridegroom: "I flee to the fragrance of Thy noetic myrrh which hath flowed forth, O my Bridegroom"! Rejoice, for thou didst retire to splendid mansions, arrayed in bridal vesture, holding a virgin's lamp in thy right hand, and thy decapitated head in thy left; rejoice, for thy divinely wise prayer was acceptable to God; for those who call upon thy name with faith doth the Master save from temptations, granting them good health and delivering them from afflictions of soul and body! Rejoice, adornment of martyrs; rejoice, mighty refuge of Christians!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 11

We have dared to offer thee hymnody of praise, and if it be that discourse faileth, the mind is at a loss what to say; yet thy most wise discourse, which rescued many from ignorance and the infamy of idolatry, moves us to chant to God, Who rendered thy mighty deeds wondrous: Alleluia!

Ikos 11

Beholding thee to be a luminous candle extinguished by decapitation, yet set up radiant upon a heavenly candlestick before the throne of the Holy Trinity, the holy angels worshipped Him Who liveth forever; and having received a command from the Master, they buried thy virginal body on Mount Sinai, that, as thou thyself didst desire, it not be seen by the enemies of the Lord. And we joyously send up this hymn to thee:

Rejoice, sun-like virgin who ascended to the heavens in spirit; rejoice, thou who didst attain unto the heavenly Zion! Rejoice, crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord; rejoice, cup drawing forth joy from the abundance of the house of God! Rejoice, thou who didst draw nigh in spirit to the everlasting tabernacle not fashioned by the hands of men; rejoice, for in thine incorrupt body thou dost rest on the mountain of the law, where the movement of the God of Sinai had been seen! Rejoice, O virgin who hast followed in the train of the ruling Virgin Queen who is arrayed in vesture of unwoven gold, adorned in varied colors; rejoice, for through thee is the Mother of Life worthily hymned in the midst of timbrel-playing maidens! Rejoice, for on thee shineth the majesty of Christ God; rejoice, intercessor before the eternal throne! Rejoice, thou who from the temple of the universe dost watch over those who pray to thee; rejoice, incense of prayers, offered up in our behalf, being well-pleasing to the Master!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 12

Grace hath been given thee by God to guide men to the knowledge of His truth which is hidden in mystery, and to grant unto all those requests which are profitable. Wherefore, we entreat thee with compunction, O wise virgin: illumine the eyes of our minds and set forth for us a passable way to heaven, that with thee we may hymn the one Source of wisdom, now and for all ages, chanting: Alleluia!

Ikos 12

Hymning the mighty struggles of thy martyrdom, we praise thee as an animate vessel of the salvation of men; for through thy knowledge God, refuting the wisdom of the wise of this age, called the wise orators into the holy people, the people of the renewal, for they were to suffer for Christ. Wherefore, O good virgin, draw us also who are benighted into the light of Christ, that we may cry out to thee:

Rejoice, mirror of the wisdom of God; rejoice, thou who hast been arrayed with the power of the Most High! Rejoice, athlete anointed with the oil of gladness; rejoice, commander who sent forth the company of God to eternal greatness! Rejoice, thou who hast entered into the splendor of the saints; rejoice, thou who standest in the choir of fiery servants, before Him Who dwelleth in light unapproachable! Rejoice, thou who with thy voice dost increase the thunder of the thrice-holy hymn; rejoice, thou who tastest of the ineffable sweetness of the good things of paradise! Rejoice, for praise and joy are above thy head; rejoice, for everlasting glory illumineth thee! Rejoice, thou who hast been crowned with the crown of the kingdom of heaven by the Godhead in Three Hypostases; rejoice, mediatress of grace and endless glory for us!

Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!

Kontakion 13

O holy great martyr Catherine! Receiving this hymn of praise, never cease to pray to the Lord in our behalf, that He deliver us from our enemies, visible and invisible; and by thy right acceptable mediation vouchsafe unto us the everlasting kingdom, that with thee we may chant unto God: Alleluia!

Се́й конда́къ глаго́лется три́жды. Та́же Икосъ 1-й и Конда́къ 1-й

First Prayer to the Great Martyr Catherine

O holy Catherine, virgin and martyr, true bride of Christ! We beseech thee as one who received a special grace whereby sweetest Jesus, thy Bridegroom, appeared to thee, that having put to shame the tyrant's deceits by thy wisdom and vanquished the fifty rhetoricians, giving them heavenly doctrine whereof to partake and leading them to the light of the true Faith, thou mightest likewise ask for us that same wisdom of God, that we also, having rent asunder all the snares of the tyrant of hades, and spurned the temptations of the world and the flesh, may show ourselves to be worthy of divine glory, may be made vessels meet for the spread of our holy Orthodox Faith, and that in the tabernacle of heaven we may with thee praise and glorify our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, unto all ages. Amen.

Second Prayer to the Great Martyr Catherine

O holy great martyr Catherine, chosen vessel of purity, pillar of Orthodoxy, our intercessor of good cheer, struggler for the law, saint who sleepest a holy sleep on the holy mountain! Because thou thyself hast revealed to Christians that they should ever pray to thee, we earnestly entreat thee: looking down from on high, hearken unto the sound of our supplication, mercifully regard the misfortunes of us sinners, visit the gloom of our minds, cause us to think of heavenly things and not of those of earth. By thine intercessions make haste to overcome the lusts of our flesh, our passionate attachment to the world and the wiles of the evil spirits who with malice wage war against us; that by thine intercession we may be shown to be free of their malicious assaults in the days of this life and from their aerial interrogations after our departure. O all-wise virgin, grant us all that we ask which is profitable, for thou canst ask many things of thy beloved Bridegroom, Christ our God. We know that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much when it worketh with the goodness of the merciful God, to Whom be glory, honor and thanksgiving, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Troparion, tone 4

Your lamb Catherine, O Jesus, Calls out to You in a loud voice: I love You, O my bridegroom, And in seeking You, I endure suffering. In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, And died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, For I have offered myself in love. By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Akathist to the Holy Great Martyr Catherine of Alexandria in English
Other hymns in English