SUNDAY OF THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN
On May 16 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we commemorate the Venerable Theodore the Sanctified, disciple of Pachomios the Great; Alexander, archbishop of Jerusalem; New-martyr Nicholas of Metsov; and Venerable Ephraim of Perekop, wonderworker of Novgorod.
On this day, the third Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the feast of the holy Myrrh-bearing women. And we also commemorate Joseph of Arimathaea, the secret disciple, and Nicodemus, the disciple by night.
Christ is brought myrrh by the wise women disciples; And to them, I bring a hymn as myrrh in offering.
The women went to Christ’s tomb on Holy Pascha to anoint His body, only to discover it empty. We know the names of only eight of these women: Mary the Theotokos, the “mother” of James and Joses, who were the sons of Joseph the Betrothed from his previous marriage (Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40); Mary Magdalene; Mary, the wife of Cleopas; Joanna the wife of Chuza; Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee; Susanna; and Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. Joseph was a rich and noble man, and a member of the Privy Council of Jerusalem. He dared to ask Pilate for the undefiled body of our Savior, which he took and buried in his own new tomb. Accompanying Joseph to the sepulcher was Nicodemus, a Jerusalemite who was one of the leaders of the Pharisees. Nicodemus brought 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes to scent and embalm the body of Christ.
By the intercessions of the holy Myrrh-bearers, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, O God, have mercy on us. Amen.
￼￼￼￼On May 9 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we commemorate the Prophet Isaiah; Martyr Christopher of Lycia; and the translation to Bari of the relics of Nicholas the wonderworker, archbishop of Myra in Lycia.
On this day, the second Sunday of Pascha, we inaugurate the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, and the occasion whereon the Holy Apostle Thomas touched the Savior’s side.
If the seals of the Virgin’s womb and of the grave did not hinder Thee, How could the seals of the doors hinder Thy might, O Savior?
This day is called New Sunday, Thomas Sunday or Anti-Pascha. The last term means “in place of Pascha” because Thomas did not immediately hear of Christ’s Resurrection and disbelieved it. We remember his doubt but do not repeat it. After this Sunday, the Church dedicates Sunday to the Resurrection.
As the Disciples were gathered together on the Sunday of the Resurrection, Jesus entered and ￼￼￼￼￼greeted them in His usual way, saying, “Peace be unto you.” Then He showed them His hands, feet and side. Jesus ate before His Disciples and reassured them of His Resurrection. However, Thomas was not with them at that time, and insisted upon seeing the Savior’s scars—the print of the nails in His hands and feet, and the spear in His side—before he would believe that Jesus was risen. Eight days later Christ appeared again to the Disciples, this time with Thomas present. The Master told Thomas to see and feel. Then Thomas immediately cried out, “My Lord and my God!” But Jesus tells His Disciples, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” This event also clearly illustrates the human and divine Natures of Christ.
By the intercessions of Thine Apostle Thomas, O Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.