→Service of the Bridegroom
== Service of the Bridegroom ==
The '''Service of the Bridegroom''' is an [[Orthros]] type service specific to the first three evenings of [[Holy Week]].
These three services are chanted in anticipation of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection (“Marriage” to the “Church”) – the passage from death to life. Each of these services has its own particular theme.
=== Palm Sunday evening ===
At the service of '''Palm Sunday''' evening, the priest carries the [[icon]] of Christ the Bridegroom in procession, and we sing the ''"Hymn of the Bridegroom."'' We behold Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, bearing the marks of His suffering, yet preparing a marriage Feast for us in God's Kingdom.
=== Holy Monday evening ===
On '''Holy Monday''', the Blessed Joseph, the son of Jacob the Patriarch, is commemorated
. Joseph is often seen as a prototype of Christ. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by them. In the same way, our Lord was rejected, betrayed by His own, and sold into the slavery of death. The Gospel reading for the day is The Barren Fig Tree, which Christ cursed and withered because it bore no fruit. The fig tree is a parable of those who have heard God's word, but who fail to bear the fruit of obedience. Originally the withering of the fig tree was a testimony against those Jews who rejected God's word and His Messiah. However, it is also a warning to all people, in all times, of the importance of not only hearing the God's word, but putting it into action.
===Holy Tuesday evening ===
On '''Holy Tuesday''', the Parable of the Ten Virgins is read. It tells the story of the five virgins who filled their lamps in preparation for receiving the bridegroom while the other five allowed their lamps to go out and hence were shut out of the marriage feast. This parable is a warning that we must always be prepared to receive our Lord when He comes again. The theme of the day is reinforced by the expostelarion hymn we sing ''"I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me."''