Choir Director at Kirkland Parish Writes Akathist for Russian Priest Martyr

Per the OCA Diocese of the West Web site:

An akathist to a recently canonized New Martyr of Russia was served for the first time in history at Saint Katherine Mission in Kirkland, Washington.

The saint, a priest named Konstantine, was one of the earliest martyrs of the Russian Revolution. Only twenty one years old in 1917, he was ordained and assigned to a parish in Merkushino, near the city of Ekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains. The following year he was arrested after leading his parishioners in a public icon procession protesting the anti-Christian forces that were then just gaining momentum. For this he was sentenced to death. As he was being marched to the site of his execution in the summer of 1918, he was reported to have chanted his own funeral service, knowing that no other priest was left in the region to bury him properly. Only in 2002, in connection with the reconstruction of the temple where he served, were his incorrupt relics discovered by nuns from the local New Tikhvin Monastery in Ekaterinburg. The same year, following an inquiry by the episcopal authorities, he was glorified as a new martyr of the Church.

While a saint’s life and an icon have been produced since that time, most of the liturgical texts for him have yet to be produced. Until recently, this had included the akathist, one of the most poetic and inspiring forms of hymnography in our Orthodox tradition.

Though New Martyr Konstantine was canonized less than a decade ago, and at a great distance from the Pacific Northwest, it fell to the choir director of Saint Katherine Mission in Kirkland, Washington, to compose the first akathist to him. He had become particularly well loved by the parishioners of the mission in recent years. He first became known to them in 2007, when one of the sisters of New Tikhvin Monastery asked Matushka Yelena of the mission to translate the saint’s life into English for publication the following year. Unexpectedly, the parishioners then received from the sisterhood a hand written icon bearing a particle of Konstantine’s relics. This now stands in front of the icon of Saint Katherine on the mission’s iconostasis, vividly revealing the connection between the martyrs of the earliest times and those of our own. It has become one of the parish’s most treasured holy objects.

In this atmosphere, and out of love for the saint, the mission’s chief choir director has now composed an akathist in Konstantine’s honor, drawing its rich content from the scriptures, liturgical texts, and the life of the saint. No akathist had yet been produced for the saint, either in America or Russia. With Bishop Benjamin’s blessing, it was recently served as part of a moleben on the feast of New Martyr Konstantine, July 27 (old style).

An online recording of that service is available at the Saint Katherine Mission website through the following link:

About editorOrthodoxNorthwest

An Orthodox Christian, whose interests also include, GO, Square Dancing, hiking, exploring, swimming, kayaking, cooking, history, board games. I am the Editor of OrthodoxNorthwest which I hope benefits readers in the NW. I do post Romanian, Greek and Slavic info but I cannot read any of them - hey, I am an American. Would appreciate hearing from readers of the blog. Χριστός Ανέστη! (Anthony)
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