Monday, April 21, 2008

Holy and Great Monday

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week the following troparion, based on the parable of the Ten Virgins (Mt 25: 1-13) is chanted thrice at the beginning of Matins (hear it chanted in Slavonic here and here):
Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; and blessed in the servant whom He shall find watching, but unworthy is he whom He shall find in slothfulness. Beware, then, O my soul, and be not overcome by sleep, lest though be given over to death and shut out from the Kingdom. But return to soberness and cry aloud: Holy, holy, holy are Thou, O God: through the Theotokos have mercy upon us.
Later in the same service, a similarly eschatological hymn, this time based on the parable of the man cast out from the feast because he had no wedding garment (Mt 22: 11-13) is likewise chanted three times (listen here):
I see Thy bridal chamber adorned, O my Saviour, and I have no wedding garment that I may enter there. Make the robe of my soul to shine, O Giver of Light, and save me.
Each day also has its own special commemorations. Today we commemorate the Patriarch Joseph, whose innocent suffering prefigures Christ's Passion (Gen 37 and 39-40), and the barren fig tree cursed by the Lord (Mat 21: 18-20), which stands as a symbol of judgment.

For more on the Bridegroom Service – as Matins on Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday is called – see here and here. St John Chrysostom's homily on the Ten Virgins can be read here; his homily on the parable of the Wedding Feast can be found here. St Augustine's homily on the parable of the Fig Tree is here. For more on Holy Week in general, see here.

Illustration: The Patriarch Joseph in Exile.

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