“Rejoice, O un-wedded (without-a-bridegoom) Bride! / Χαίρε, Νύμφη Α-νύμφευτε. / Радуйся, Невесто не-невестная.” (Refrain, Akathist-Hymn of the Theotokos)
In the Akathist-Hymn to the Theotokos, celebrated on this 5th Saturday of Lent, we praise the Theotokos not only for who/what she “is“ and “has,“ but also for what she is “not,“ i.e.,“ wedded,“ and what she does “not“ have, which is a spouse or bridegroom, hence we praise her as “Α-νύμφευτε,” or one “without a bridegroom” (without a “νυμφίος“).
Is this cause for celebration, the fact that the Most-Holy Theotokos had “no bridegroom,” in the usual sense, in her specific vocation, of bringing our Lord into the world? Yes, apparently so, as this particular fact is praised repeatedly, in the refrain of the Akathist-Hymn. Because it was hard, to be alone, as the only (human) parent to her Son. Her “betrothed,” the Righteous Joseph, certainly helped along the way, but he was not a “parent” as was she, and she didn’t even have enough “rapport” with him to confide in him the “good news” of the Annunciation, which was revealed to him not by her but in a dream (Mt 1: 19-20). She did have a ”helper,” is what I am pointing out, but not a “spouse,” in whom she could confide and share the full weight of her vocation.
So, let me say this to any people out there, who are “spouse-less” in their vocations, in their vocations to bring Christ into our world: Let us be grateful today, and encouraged, by any “helpers” God may send us, even if they are not “co-parenting” our vocations in the ways we might need or expect. Let all of us, who are either single, or divorced, or married-and-lonely, glean inspiration from the Most-Holy Theotokos, who did and does “rejoice” in her difficult vocation, of bringing New Life into our broken world, despite its sometimes-unconventional realities of “spousal” partnership. “Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!”