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ACANTHUS
ACATHISTUS
92

cast everywhere along the coast from Massachusetts to Georgia, some wandering over to their compatriots in Louisiana, some to Guianas and the West Indies, and others reaching France. As to the number of victims, some writers put it as low as 8,000, others, who are very reliable, rating it at 18,000. The mortality attending this act of cruelty was very great, particularly among the children. All the farms, cattle, and houses were confiscated and handed over to the English colonists who took their place. After a while many of the Acadians wandered back to their old homes, and finally came in such numbers that on 10 September, 1855, they celebrated in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Cape Breton, and Prince Edward's Island the centenary of their dispersion. According to Richard in his "Acadia" (II, 342), there are no fewer than 270,000 descendants of the Acadians living today; 130,000 in the Maritime Provinces, 100,000 in French Canada, and 40,000 in Louisiana.

Jesuit Relations (Cleveland, 1896 1901); Rochemonteix, Les Jésuites et la nouvelle France au XVII siècle; Murdoch, History of Nova Scotia (1867); Richard, Acadia (1894); Haliburton, History of Nova Scotia (Halifax, 1862); Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe (Boston, 1889, 1902).

Acanthus, a titular see of Macedonia, on the Strymonic Gulf, now known as Erisso. Its inhabitants were praised by Xerxes for their zeal in his cause (Herodotus Vll, cxxv). There were still extant earlier in the nineteenth century the ruins of a large curving mole built far into the sea.

Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Geogr. (London, 1887), I, 8; Leake, Travels in Northern Greece (London, 1835), III, 147.

Acanthus.—A plant, indigenous to middle Europe, the leaf of which has served in all ages as an ornament, or for ornamentation. There are two varieties, one wild and thorny, and one with soft branches without spines. The acanthus appears for the first time in the arts in ancient Greece. It was chosen for decorative purposes because of the beauty of its leaves, as well as for its abundance on Greek soil. At first it was taken directly from nature. Greek sculpture rendered it with truthful expression, whether of the soft or the spiky variety, showing the character, texture, and model of the leaf. During the fifth century b.c. the acanthus ornament took an important place especially in architecture, and was the principal ornament of the Corinthian capital. From the conquest of Alexander in the East can be traced the transformation of the acanthus that is found in later Eastern art.

Acarie, Barbe Avuillot. See Carmelites.

Acathistus (Greek ἀκάθιστος; privative, καθίζω "sit"; i.e. not sitting; standing).—The title of a certain hymn (ὁ ἀκάθιστος ὕμνος) or, better, an Office in the Greek Liturgy, in honour of the Mother of God. The title is one of eminence; since, while in other similar hymns the people are permitted to sit during part of the time, this hymn is partly read, partly sung, all standing (or, perhaps, standing all night). The word is employed sometimes to indicate the day on which the hymn is said (i.e. the Saturday of the fifth week of Lent), as on that day it must be said by clergy and laity alike, "none ceasing from the divine praises", as the long historical Lesson of the Office remarks. It is proper to note in this connection that, while the whole Office is to be said on this day, portions of it are distributed over the first four Saturdays of Lent. When recited entire, it is divided into four parts or stations, between which various Psalms and Canticles may be sung sitting. Francis Junius wrongly interpreted Acathistus as one who neither sits nor rests, but journeys with child; as for instance when the Blessed Virgin was brought by Joseph to Bethlehem. Gretser [Commentarius in Codin. Curop. (Bonn, 1839), 321] easily refutes the interpretation by citing from the Lesson in the Triodion. The origin of the feast is assigned by the Lesson to the year 626, when Constantinople, in the reign of Heraclius, was attacked by the Persians and Scythians but saved through the intervention of the Mother of God. A sudden hurricane dispersed the fleet of the enemy, casting the vessels on the shore near the great church of the Deipara (Mother of God) at Blachernæ, a quarter of Constantinople near the Golden Horn. The people spent the whole night, says the Lesson, thanking her for the unexpected deliverance. "From that time, therefore, the Church, in memory of so great and so divine a miracle, desired this day to be a feast in honour of the Mother of God … and called it Acathistus" (Lesson). This origin is disputed by Sophocles (Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods, s. v.) on the ground that the hymn could not have been composed in one day, while on the other hand its twenty-four οἶκοι contain no allusion to such an event and therefore could scarcely have been originally composed to commemorate it. Perhaps the κοντάκιον, which might seem to be allusive, was originally composed for the celebration on the night of the victory. However the feast may have originated, the Lesson commemorates two other victories, under Leo the Isaurian, and Constantine Pogonatus, similarly ascribed to the intervention of the Deipara.

No certain ascription of its authorship can be made. It has been attributed to Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, whose pious activities the Lesson commemorates in great detail. Quercius (P.G., XCII, 1333 sqq.) assigns it to Georgios Pisides, deacon, archivist, and sacristan of Saint-Sophia whose poems find an echo both in style and in theme in the Acathistus; the elegance, antithetic and balanced style, the vividness of the narrative, the flowers of poetic imagery being all very suggestive of his work. His position as sacristan would naturally suggest such a tribute to Our Lady, as the hymn only gives more elaborately the sentiments condensed into two epigrams of Pisides found in her church at Blachernæ. Quercius also argues that words, phrases, and sentences of the hymn are to be found in the poetry of Pisides. Leclercq (in Cabrol, "Dict. d'archéol. chrét. et de liturgie", s.v. "Acathistus") finds nothing absolutely demonstrative in such a comparison and offers a suggestion which may possibly help to a solution of the problem.

In addition to several Latin versions, it has been translated into Italian, Ruthenian, Rumanian, Arabic, German, and Russian. Its very great length precludes anything more than the briefest summary here. It is prefaced by a troparion, followed by a kontakion (a short hymnodal summary of the character of the feast), which is repeated at intervals throughout the hymn. As this kontakion is the only part of the hymn which may clearly refer to the victory commemorated, and may have been the only original text (with repetitions interspersed with psalms, hymns, etc., already well known to the populace) composed for the night-celebration, it is translated here:—

"To thee, O Mother of God, unconquered Empress, do I, thy City freed from evils, offer thanks for the victories achieved; but do thou, by thy invincible power, deliver me from every kind of danger; that I may cry to thee, Hail, maiden Spouse!"

The Hymn proper comprises twenty-four oikoi (a word which Gretser interprets as referring to various churches or temples; but the Triodion itself indicates its meaning in the rubric, "The first six oikoi are read, and we stand during their reading"—oikos thus clearly referring to a division of the hymn) or stanzas (which may fairly translate the