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Christ the Bridegroom

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[[Image:Bridegroom.jpg|thumb|right|Christ the Bridegroom icon]]
'''Christ The Bridegroom''' comes from the central figure in the parable of the ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13); [[Christ]] is the divine ''Bridegroom of the Church''. This title is suggestive of His divine presence and watchfulness (‘’’''"Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night ..."’’’'') during [[Holy Week]].
The '''Bridegroom''' is also the name given to the central icon used in '''The Service of the Bridegroom'''. The '''Bridegroom''' icon and service has been more commonly known as '''"O Nymphios"''' but over the last decade, this title has caused much confusion to the ever-growing English speaking christian population.
During the first service, '''Palm Sunday''' evening, the priest carries the [[icon]] of ''Christ the Bridegroom'' into the church. We sing the ''Hymn of the Bridegroom'' during this procession, and the icon is brought to the front of the church and remains there until Holy Thursday. In the icon, we behold our Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, bearing the marks of His suffering, yet preparing the way for a marriage Feast for us in His Kingdom. He is dressed in the icon according to the mockery of the Roman guards just prior to his crucifixion.
*The crowns - The crown of thorns are a symbol of His marriage to the [Church].
*The rope - the rope symbolises our bondage to sin, death and corruption which was loosed only when Christ opened His arms on the Cross. This is highlighted in the Third [[Ode]] of the[[Canon]] of [[Holy Friday]] - ''You have stretched forth Your hands, O Saviour, and gathered the things dispersed of old; and by Your burial in the linen and the grave You have loosed the captives, who shout, "There is none who is Holy apart from You, O Lord."''
*The reed - a symbol of His humility; God rules his kingdom with humility.
On '''Holy Monday''', the Blessed Joseph, the son of Jacob the Patriarch, is commemorated because he is 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 and like Joseph forgave and spared his brothers during the famine when they came to him, so too, [[Jesus] ] [[Christ]] offers himself as a sacrifice and forgives all those who come to him in faith.
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 representative of those who have heard God's word, but who fail to bear the fruits of faith. 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.

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