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Christ the Bridegroom

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[[Image:Bridegroom.jpg|thumb|right|Christ the Bridegroom icon]]
'''Christ The the Bridegroom''' comes from is the central figure in the [[parable ]] of the ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13); [[Christ]] is the divine ''Bridegroom of the Churchas described in the Book of [[Isaiah]] (chapter 54), as well as the primary image of '''Bridegroom Matins'''. This The title is suggestive of His his divine presence and watchfulness (''"Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night ..."'') during [[Holy Week]] and his selfless love for his Bride, the [[Church]].
The '''Bridegroom''' is also the name given to the central icon used in '''The Service of the Bridegroom'''Matins. The '''Bridegroom''' icon and service has been more is also commonly known in the Greek tradition as '''"O Nymphios"''' but over the last decade, this title has caused much confusion to the ever-growing English speaking christian population.
== Service of the Bridegroom Matins ==The '''Service of the Bridegroom''' Matins is a service specific to the first three four evenings of [[Holy Week]] (though it is often omitted on Holy Wednesday in favor of the service of [[Holy Unction]]) and commemorates the last days in the earthly life of our the Lord. Incorporated into these services is the theme of the first three days of Holy Week; which is the last teachings of Christ to his disciples. As such, these services incorporate readings and hymns inspiring this theme. The mood of the services is to experience sorrow and to feel Christ's voluntary submission to His passions and highlight the purpose behind the evil that is about to take place against the Lord. The atmosphere is one of mourning (for our sins) and is symbolic of the shame we the Christian should feel for the Fall of Adam and Eve, the depths of hell, the lost Paradise and the absence of God. The vestments of the Priest and the altar clothes are black or deep purple to symbolise and enhance the atmosphere of mourning and remembrance of our sins. The main emphasis of the ''Bridegroom Service'' is ''[[metanoia]]'' and each service has its own particular theme on repentance and watchfullnesswatchfulness. One of its primary features is its [[troparion]]: :Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant He shall find vigilant; but unworthy is he whom he shall find neglectful. Beware therefore, O my soul, lest you be weighed down by sleep, lest you be given over to death and be closed out from the kingdom; but rise up crying out: "Holy! Holy! Holy are You our God; through the intercessions of the Theotokos, have mercy on us."
=== Palm Sunday evening ===
During the first service, '''on [[Palm Sunday''' ]] evening, the priest carries the [[icon]] of ''Christ the Bridegroom'' into the church. We sing the ''Hymn of the The Bridegroom'' troparion is sung during this procession, and the icon is brought to the front of the church and remains there until Holy Thursday. In the The icon, we behold our depicts Christ as the Bridegroom of the [[Church]], bearing the marks of His his suffering, yet preparing the way for a marriage Feast for us feast in His 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 his marriage to the [[Church]].*The rope - the rope symbolises our a symbol of bondage to sin, death and corruption which was loosed only when with Christ opened His arms 's death 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'' *The reed - a symbol of His his humility; God rules his kingdom with humility.
=== The '''Kontakion''' for Holy Monday ===The [[Kontakion]] for Sunday evening, eighth tone.also includes this kontakion: '':Jacob lamented the loss of Joseph, but that noble one was seated in a chariot and honored as a king; for by not being enslaved then to the pleasures of the Egyptian woman, he was glorified by Him that beholdeth the hearts of men and bestoweth an incorruptible crown.'' === The Hymn of the Bridegroom ===''Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant He shall find vigilant; but unworthy is he whom he shall find neglectful. Beware therefore O my soul, lest you be weighed down by sleep, lest you be given over to death and be closed out from the kingdom; but rise up crying out: “Holy! Holy! Holy are You our God; through the intercessions of the Theotokos, have mercy on us."''
=== Holy Monday evening ===
On '''[[Holy Week|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 the Lord was rejected, betrayed by His 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 of 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 his Messiah. However, it 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.
=== The Kontakion for Holy Tuesday===The [[Kontakion]] for Monday evening, second tone.also includes this kontakion: '':Being mindful of the hour of the end, O my soul, and fearing because of the cutting down of the fig tree, labor diligently with the talent that was given thee, O hapless one, and be watchful and cry: Let us not remain outside the bridal chamber of Christ.''
===Holy Tuesday evening ===
On '''[[Holy Week|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 Christians must always be prepared to receive our the Lord when He he comes again. The theme of the day is reinforced by the expostelarion exaposteilarion 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."'' We also remember [[Kassiani the Hymnographer|Kassiani]] ([[September 7]]). Kassiani was a beautiful young aristocrat, who came from a Byzantium family at the time of the Emperor Theophilos (9th century). While choosing a bride from a parade of eligible girls, Theophilos became angry at a reply Kassiani gave as a reply to a question of his, so he impulsively chose Theodora, who was standing next to Kassiani, as his bride. Kassiani played a great role in the restoration of the Holy Icons and dedicated her life to the composition of sacred poetry. Heartbroken by Theophilos, one of those poems was this beautiful hymn. It retains the original Byzantine music which may be difficult for all to understand. Theophelos, searched for Kassiani and found her at a convent and the two never saw each other again. Her repentance and love for Christ is the theme of the wonderful ''"Hymn of Kassiani"'' which is chanted on this night, reminding us one more time, before ''"it is too late,"'' that we too may be forgiven if we repent.
=== The Hymn Holy Tuesday's Bridegroom Matins also includes commemoration of [[Kassiani ===The text is based on the sinful woman who is introduced Hymnographer|Kassiani]] ([[September 7]]), also known by the Evangelist St Luke names of ''Kasia'', ''Kasiani'' or ''Ikessia'', was a great [[hymnographer]] from the 9th century. According to the Synaxaristi not many details of her life have been recorded but she has remained in his Gospel ecclesiastical history for her great hymns. His Eminence Metropolitan Sophronios Eustratiadis of Leontopoleos <ref> Σωφρόνιος Ευστρατιάδης (Μητροπολίτης Λεοντοπόλεως) </ref> writes that Kassiani was "an orphaned girl from the Byzantine era, beautiful and wise, a saintly ascetic and respectful virgin". <ref> «ορφανή κόρη του Βυζαντίου εκ των ευπατρίδων, ωραία και σοφή, οσία ασκήτρια και ευσεβέστατη παρθένος» περ. «Εκκλ. Φάρος Αλεξανδρείας», τ.ΛΑ' (1932) σελ. 92 </ref> Kassiani is also linked to the Emperor Theophilos (7:36-509th century)and his search for a bride. Theophilos was angered with a reply by Kassiani contrasts to a question of his, and he impulsively chose St. Theodora, who was standing next to Kassiani, to be his elected bride. Kassiani also played a great role in the repentance restoration of the sinful woman with Eve’s fall (GenHoly Icons. 3:8-11):
'''[[Hymn]]Heartbroken by Theophilos, Tone 8:'''''The woman who had fallen into many sinsone of those poems was the beautiful hymn of Kassiani,''''perceiving Your divinity, O Lord,''''Received which in the dignity of Byzantine tradition is such a [[myrrh-bearer]],''''For with lamentation she brought fragrant myrrh major feature that the service held on Holy Tuesday evening is often referred to You before Your burial.''''And she cried: Woe is me, for love of sin and stings of lustful passion envelop me simply as the night, dark and moonless.''''As You cause the clouds to drop down the waters of the sea, accept the fountain Hymn of my tears.''Kassiani''As by Your indescribable condescension You bowed down the heavens,''''so incline to the groaning of my heart.''''I shall kiss Your most pure feet Theophilos searched for Kassiani and found her at a convent and wipe them with the hair of my head,''''Those same feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise when she hid herself in feartwo never saw each other again.''''Who can count Her repentance and love for Christ is the multitude theme of my sins?''''Who can measure the depths wonderful Hymn of Your judgements, O Saviour of my soul?''''Do not turn away from meKassiani which is chanted on this night, Your servant, for You have immeasurable mercyreminding all that they may be forgiven if they repent.''
== The Kontakion for Holy Wednesday ==text of the hymn, based on the account of the sinful woman who is introduced by the Evangelist St Luke in his Gospel (7:36-50). Kassiani contrasts the repentance of the sinful woman with Eve's fall (Gen. 3:8-11)::The '''woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Your divinity, O Lord, received the dignity of a [[Kontakionmyrrh-bearer]] , for Tuesday eveningwith lamentation she brought fragrant myrrh to You before Your burial. And she cried: Woe is me, fourth tonefor love of sin and stings of lustful passion envelop me as the night, dark and moonless. As You cause the clouds to drop down the waters of the sea, accept the fountain of my tears. As by Your indescribable condescension You bowed down the heavens, so incline to the groaning of my heart. I shall kiss Your most pure feet and wipe them with the hair of my head, those same feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise when she hid herself in fear. Who can count the multitude of my sins? Who can measure the depths of Your judgments, O Saviour of my soul? Do not turn away from me, Your servant, for You have immeasurable mercy.
''Tuesday evening also includes this kontakion::I have transgressed far more than 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.''
== See also ==
*[[Holy Week]]
*[[Kassiani the Hymnographer]]
*[[Jesus Christ]]
== External Links links ==*[http://www.svots.edu/news/recent/schmemann-holy-week-monday-wednesday/ Holy Week - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday] - from ''Holy Week: A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week'' (St Vladimir's Seminary Press), by Very Rev. [[w:Kassia|Kassiani on WikipediaAlexander Schmemann]]
[[Category:Services]][[Category:IconsLiturgics]]
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