Today, June 11 we celebrate elevation of the Hymn Axion Estin to a monk on Mt. Athos by the Archangel Gabriel, You can hear the hymn here on Youtube.
Reading from the Synaxarion:
This miracle occurred during the reign of Emperor Basil II and Nicholas Chrysoberges was Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople The patriarch is commemorated on December 16.
The Synaxis (gathering) of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos for in 980, the holy Archangel Gabriel appeared in the guise of a monk to a certain elder living in a hermitage that belongs to Monastery of Pantocrator on the Holy Mountain, Athos.
|Monastery of the Pantocrator|
During Matins, after the monk had chanted the customary hymn, “More honorable than the Cherubim…,” composed by Saint Cosmas the Hymnographer, the Angel chanted the same hymn, but with the following prelude: “It is truly meet (meet here means Agreed upon or Welcomed) to call thee blest, Theotokos, the ever-blessed and all-immaculate and Mother of our God.”
Marveling at the hymn’s beauty, the monk asked his visitor – who appeared also to be a monk – to record this new text in writing. The Angel did this by inscribing the words on a piece of slate, using only his finger, and then he vanished from sight.
Stupefied, the monk brought this slate to the Church of the Protaton, and then to Constantinople, to the imperial court and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as evidence of the miracle.
Henceforth, this version of the hymn, as given by the Archangel, was now the part of the chant in the Divine Liturgy in all the churches. The place where the miracle took place is now called Adein, from the Greek word which means “to sing.”
The icon itself, before which this hymn was first chanted, is called “the icon of the Axion estin” (“It is truly meet”) and it is kept in the sanctuary of the Church of the Protaton on the Holy Mountain.
Apolytikion of Revelation of Axion Estin in the Fourth Tone
Ye hosts of the Fathers of Mount Athos, gather today,
and shout with a voice of jubilation, leaping for joy,
and faithfully keeping feast:
For, behold, the praise of the most pure Theotokos wondrously and awesome is sung by the Angel; and therefore, as the Mother of God, we glorify her name.
Kontakion of Revelation of Axion Estin in the Fourth Tone
All of Athos keepeth feast this day in gladness
for it wondrously received from an Archangel’s holy hand the hymn
whereby thou hast ever been praised as the Mother of God, as is truly meet.