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The Apolytikion (Greek: Ἀπολυτίκιον) or Dismissal Hymn is a troparion (hymn) said or sung at Orthodox Christian worship services. The apolytikion summarizes the feast being celebrated that day. It is chanted at Vespers, Matins and the Divine Liturgy; and it is read at each of the Little Hours. The name derives from the fact that it is chanted for the first time before the dismissal (Greek: apolysis) of Vespers. In the Orthodox Church, the liturgical day begins at sunset, so Vespers is the first service of the day. The term apolyikion is used in Greek tradition. In Slavic tradition the term troparion is specifically used to stand for Apolytikion, whilst troparion is of more generic usage in Greek tradition.
The apolytikion could be compared in the Western liturgy to the collect or post-communion, inasmuch as it changes for each feast-day of the year and specifically commemorates the subject of the feast.
Your birth, O Christ our God, dawned the light of knowledge upon the earth. For by Your birth those who adored stars were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Justice, and to know You, Orient from on High. O Lord, glory to You.
The apolytikion for the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25):
Today is the crowning of our salvation and the manifestation of the Mystery which is from eternity; the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel announceth the glad tidings of grace: wherefore let us cry out with him to the Mother of God; Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!
The apolytikion of Pascha (Easter):
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
Original Byzantine chant followed by polyphonic variations (4.6 Mb)
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- "Hymns of the Feast". Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. 2009.
- The original Greek with translations into English of these eight (one for each tone) can be found in Robertson, J.N.W.B., ed., The Divine Liturgies of our Fathers among the Saints John Chrysostom and Basil the Great...,David Nutt, London, 1894, pp.444-453, and in the Holy Cross Liturgical Hymnal, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, MA, 1988, pp. 88-98.
- Apolytikia for the Entire Year in English set to Byzantine music