In Romania today every religious store containing Orthodox items displays a distinct shelf for the multitude of akathist booklets with prayer-hymns dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, saints, archangels, or biblical events. Even lifestyle magazines for women offer them as bonuses around religious holidays. The post-socialist akathist booklet is an inexpensive portable object, roughly printed on poor paper, with the icon of the holy person on the front cover. Their materiality and content, the prayer practices attached to them, make the akathist booklets, like the Catholic holy cards although in different ways, “handy little markers” of the circumstances of a mobile devotional culture.
Simion Pop is a Ph.D. candidate at Central European University (Budapest), in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology. He works on Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Romania. He has conducted fieldwork in Transylvania on issues of sainthood and charismatic authority, spiritual guidance and confession, Orthodox aesthetics, monasticism and public Orthodoxy.