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Icon of the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers

April 15th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

Previously in our series of the icons of the Great Feasts of the Eastern Church

(Click on the picture to see a larger image)

The Holy Myrrhbearers
by the hand of Matthew D. Garrett

Apolytikia

Unto the myrrh-bearing women did the Angel cry out as he stood by the grave: Myrrh-oils are meet for the dead, but Christ has proved to be a stranger to corruption. But cry out: The Lord is risen, granting great mercy to the world.

Kontakion

When You did cry, Rejoice, unto the Myrrhbearers, You did make the lamentation of Eve the first mother to cease by Your Resurrection, O Christ God. And You did bid Your Apsotles to preach: The Savior is risen from the grave.

The second Sunday after the Feast of Holy Pascha (Easter Sunday) is observed by the Byzantine Catholic, and Orthodox Churches, as the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers. The day commemorates when the women disciples of our Lord came to the tomb to anoint his body with myrrh-oils but found the tomb empty. As the woman wondered what this meant, angels appeared proclaiming that Christ had risen from the dead.

“When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?

“When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.

“On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'”

The icon of this feast is the ‘other’ traditional icon that celebrates the greatest of all feasts, Pascha/Easter. The other is the Descent into Hell. The icon of the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers depicts the biblical story of the women arriving at the tomb to anoint the body of Christ. The angel is seated upon the stone that covered the tomb, and he is pointing to the empty garments showing that Christ has risen from the dead.

The following is a reading selection from Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Brookline, MA:

“About the beginning of His thirty-second year, when the Lord Jesus was going throughout Galilee, preaching and working miracles, many women who had received of His beneficence left their own homeland and from then on followed after Him. They ministered unto Him out of their own possessions, even until His crucifixion and entombment; and afterwards, neither losing faith in Him after His death, nor fearing the wrath of the Jewish rulers, they came to His sepulcher, bearing the myrrh-oils they had prepared to anoint His body. It is because of the myrrh-oils that these God-loving women brought to the tomb of Jesus that they are called Myrrh-bearers.

“Of those whose names are known are the following: first of all, the most holy Virgin Mary, who in Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40 is called “the mother of James and Joses” (these are the sons of Joseph by a previous marriage, and she was therefore their step-mother); Mary Magdalene (celebrated July 22); Mary, the wife of Clopas; Joanna, wife of Chouza, a steward of Herod Antipas; Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee; Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus; and Susanna. As for the names of the rest of them, the evangelists have kept silence (Matthew 217:55-56; 28:1-10. Mark 15:40-41.

“Luke 8:1-3; 23:55-24:11, 22-24. John 19:25; 20:11-18. Acts 1:14.) Together with them we celebrate also the secret disciples of the Savior, Joseph and Nicodemus. Of these, Nicodemus was probably a Jerusalemite, a prominent leader among the Jews and of the order of the Pharisees, learned in the Law and instructed in the Holy Scriptures. He had believed in Christ when, at the beginning of our Savior’s preaching of salvation, he came to Him by night. Furthermore, he brought some one hundred pounds of myrrh-oils and an aromatic mixture of aloes and spices out of reverence for the divine Teacher (John 19:39). Joseph, who was from the city of Arimathea, was a wealthy and noble man, and one of the counselors who were in Jerusalem. He went bodly unto Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, and together with Nicodemus he gave Him burial. Since time did not permit the preparation of another tomb, he placed the Lord’s body in his own tomb which was hewn out of rock, as the Evangelist says (Matthew 27:60).”

Picture source:

From the hand of Matthew D. Garrett @ http://holy-icons.com/category/feastdays/

Research sources:

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America @ http://www.goarch.org/special/listen_learn_share/sunday_of_myrrhbearers

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