“We sing praises to you, the holy myrrh-bearers”
In today’s Paschal hymns, the Holy Church sings praises to the deed by the myrrh-bearing women. These simple and humble women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Cleophas, Salome, Joanna, Susanna, Sisters Mary and Martha, and many others, followed Christ unceasingly during His earthly ministry. They were witnesses of His sufferings on Golgotha and were present at His burial. They demonstrated such faithfulness to the Lord that it even surpassed that of His closest disciples. They weren’t called by the Lord like the apostles and they weren’t sent out to deliver the good news; they followed Him out of love for their Divine Master, serving Him with their possessions and with their hands, for it is in the nature of women to help, comfort, and to care.
When the Son of God “cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit” (Matthew 27:50), some of the holy women hurried home to fetch aromatic spices and myrrh, while Mary of Joses and Mary Magdalene stayed to see where they bury Jesus. They left when it was quite dark only to return to the tomb before daybreak. For their boundless love for the Lord, their zeal to serve Him, determination to honor Him at the burial, and their unshakable faith, these women were the first to receive the confirmation of the Resurrection of Christ from the lips of the Angel: “To the myrrh-bearing women, who at the tomb saw the Angel announcing: ‘It is befitting for the dead of this world, but Christ is stranger to decay. But sing glory: ‘The Lord has risen giving the world the great mercy.”
The selfless feat of the holy myrrh-bearers and their boundless love for the Savior fills our hearts with the desire to receive the gift of such great love and serve the Lord to the last breath.
The church services on the feast day of the Holy Myrrh-bearers were held in the Trinity and Transfiguration Cathedrals, the Dormition Church and the Church to the Holy Equal-of-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene in the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery. The late-morning Divine Liturgy concluded with the Paschal procession around the Holy Kanavka.