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Christ the Bridegroom

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[[Image:Bridegroom.jpg|thumb|right|Christ the Bridegroom icon]]
'''Christ the Bridegroom''' is the central figure in the [[parable ]] of the ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13); [[Christ]] is the divine Bridegroom of the Church as described in the Book of [[Isaiah]] (chapter 54), as well as the primary image of '''Bridegroom Matins'''. The title is suggestive of 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 Bridegroom Matins. The Bridegroom icon and service is also commonly known in the Greek tradition as '''O Nymphios'''.
=== 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, the 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.
===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 Christians must always be prepared to receive the Lord when he comes again. The theme of the day is reinforced by the exaposteilarion hymn:
: 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.
Holy Tuesday's Bridegroom Matins also includes commemoration of [[Kassiani the Hymnographer|Kassiani]] ([[September 7]]), also known by the 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 ecclesiastical history for her great hymns. His Emminence 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 (9th century) and his search for a bride. Theophilos was angered with a reply by Kassiani 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 restoration of the Holy Icons.
Heartbroken by Theophilos, one of those poems was the beautiful hymn of Kassiani, which in the Byzantine tradition is such a major feature that the service held on Holy Tuesday evening is often referred to simply as the ''Hymn of Kassiani''. Theophilos 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 all that they may be forgiven if they repent.
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 ==
*[[w:Kassia|Kassiani on Wikipedia]]
*[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. [[Alexander Schmemann]]
[[Category:Icons]]
[[Category:Liturgics]]
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