Sunset - Larnaca

Sunset - Larnaca

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Christ - the Bridegroom

'Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night..' 
Ιδού ο Νυμφίος έρχεται εν τω μέσω της νυκτός

This evening, at the matins of Holy Wednesday, the last service of the Bridegroom takes place ( having taken place every evening since Palm Sunday). The Church, as described in the parable of the ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) and Isaiah 54, presents Christ as the Bridegroom (ο Νυμφίος). The title highlights His divine presence and watchfulness over His people, as well as His selfless love for His bride, the Church.

This evening's service of the Bridegroom is distinct as it consists of the Hymn of Kassiani, reminding us that through repentance we are truly forgiven. The hymn, based on the account of the sinful woman who is introduced by St Luke in 7:36-50, contrasts the repentance of this woman (who anoints Christ's feet with ointment)  with Eve's fall in Genesis 3:8-11:

"O Lord God, the woman who had fallen into many sins, having perceived Thy divinity received the rank of ointment-bearer, offering Thee spices before Thy burial wailing and crying: "Woe is me, for the love of adultery and sin hath given me a dark and lightless night; accept the fountains of my tears O Thou Who drawest the waters of the sea by the clouds incline Thou to the sigh of my heart O Thou Who didst bend the heavens by Thine inapprehensible condescension; I will kiss Thy pure feet and I will wipe them with my tresses. I will kiss Thy feet Whose tread when it fell on the ears of Eve in Paradise dismayed her so that she did hide herself because of fear. Who then shall examine the multitude of my sin and the depth of Thy judgment? Wherefore, O my Saviour and the Deliverer of my soul turn not away from Thy handmaiden O Thou of boundless mercy."

The following Kontakion read this evening also emphasises our state of repentance, as sinners and unworthy servants, before Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom of the Church:

'I have transgressed far from the harlot, O Good One, yet have never brought you showers of tears; but entreating in silence, I fall before you, as I kiss your immaculate feet with love, that as Master you may grant me forgiveness of offences, as I cry out, O Saviour: deliver me from the filth of my works.'

The Church therefore urges us to fall down before Christ, as we prepare to venerate and contemplate His holy passion, and glorify His Resurrection. 

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