The Akathist to Our Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ

“For the idols have fallen, O our Savior, unable to endure thy strength!”

The Flight to Egypt
The Flight to Egypt (photo: Register Files)

With the news of the recently-concluded Amazon synod in Rome and calls to prayer for the apostolic exhortation, I was reminded of the Akathist to Our Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ from the Byzantine tradition. It is a beautiful hymn to the Savior and I think an apt response to the current confusion.

One of the stanzas (Ekos 6) reads:

The light of Thy truth shone upon the world, and demonic delusion was driven away; for the idols have fallen, O our Savior, unable to endure Thy strength. But we, having received salvation, cry to Thee: Jesus, the Truth, dispelling falsehood! Jesus, the light above all radiance! Jesus, the King, surpassing all in strength! Jesus, God, constant in mercy! Jesus, Bread of Life, fill me who am hungry! Jesus, Source of Knowledge, refresh me who am thirsty! Jesus, Garment of Gladness, clothe me, the corruptible! Jesus, Shelter of Joy, cover me, the unworthy! Jesus, Giver to those who ask, give me sorrow for my sins! Jesus, Finder of those who seek, find my soul! Jesus, Opener to those who knock, open my wretched heart! Jesus, Redeemer of sinners, blot out my transgressions! Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!

The Byzantine tradition, drawing from extra-biblical sources, asserts that when the Christ-Child was brought into Egypt the pagan idols fell down and crumbled as he passed. In this, the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah came to be fulfilled. We hear from Isaiah, “See, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence…” (Isaiah 19:1). In Jeremiah 43:12-13, we read:

He shall kindle a fire in the temples of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them and carry them away captive; and he shall pick clean the land of Egypt, as a shepherd picks his cloak clean of vermin; and he shall depart from there safely. He shall break the obelisks of Heliopolis, which is in the land of Egypt; and the temples of the gods of Egypt he shall burn with fire.

Whatever happens in the world and the Church, we need to turn to the Lord, who is the ultimate destroyer of idols. It’s his Power, no human power, that rids the world of false worship. We turn to him in prayer!

I highly recommend that you go online and search for the Akathist to Our Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ. Print it out (from a Byzantine Catholic or Orthodox site, it’s the same prayer!), and pray it. It’s a powerful prayer and a needful reminder of the power of Christ. We mere men are powerless, He is All-Powerful, “… for the idols have fallen, O our Savior, unable to endure Thy strength!”