On this day, we commemorate the event that happened to Christ shortly before His saving passion. A Christ was visiting in the house of Simon the Leper when a woman who lived a sinful life entered with a jar of expensive perfume which she put on His body. This occurred shortly before His saving Passion. The Synaxarion of the great and holy Wednesday opens with the verse: “The woman anointed the body of Christ with ointment, anticipating the aloes of Nikodemos.” The ointment and aloes were attributes of a burial ritual.
His disciples were unnerved: “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” (Matthew 26: 8—9). But Jesus stops them. "When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial." 26: 12). Jesus' anointment with the perfume, in other words, was the prediction of His death and burial.
On the Great and Holy Wednesday we hear for the last time in our churches the prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, and it is the last day when we make prostrate bows during church worship. It is the end of the transition from the forty days of Lend to the Great and Holy Week. In the liturgical texts of this day, we hear about the great priests contemplating sending Christ to His death on the Cross and finding themselves a willing accomplice among His apostles - Judas Iscariot:
"Deceitful Judas, in his love for money, pondered cunningly how he might betray You, O Lord, the Treasure of Life. Therefore in drunken folly, he hastened to the Jews and said to the transgressors: "What will you give me, and I will deliver Him to you to be crucified?”.
The Passions of Christ are coming close. At the beginning of the frightful but glorious events of the Passion Week, the Venerable John of Kronshtadt called on all Christians:
"Show that you, too, can respond to love with love; that you can keep vigil with Christ out of your love of Him. It is the vigil of your heart, if only for several hours that it took Him to drink from the Cup of Heaven’s Wrath. As Christ is bearing His passions for our sakes, let us let Him into our hearts with faith, and share His pain."
Speaking of marriage and celibacy, Apostle Paul taught: "he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better." Should we take it to mean that celibacy is superior to marriage?
God, who gives the sinners and the righteous their dues, is not someone who lies in waiting to punish a wrongdoer after the fact. What gives us fear and trembling is the hurting wound of not responding to the love that He had given to us.
The Dormition Fast is our occasion to remember the Mother of God as a model of Christian life and to emulate her example in our lives. The Dormition Fast in the Russian Orthodox Church, starts on 14 August and ends two weeks later, on 28 August.…
An Athonite ascetic said, "Lord, I pray twenty-four hours a day, and I cannot pray enough!" You have to experience the sweetness of God to say these words.
Many non-Orthodox Christians often wonder what is the Apostles Fast in the Orthodox Church. Each year the Fast starts and ends on different dates and even in different months.
From the apostolic times monastic women have played an important role in the spread of Christian faith. Today, despite being the smallest known social group, they continue their mission.
Unction, or the rite of Anointing of the Sick, is one of the seven sacraments of the Orthodox Church. The purpose of Anointing of the Sick is to invoke God's healing grace on a person suffering from bodily and spiritual illnesses.
The Orthodox Church approaches the Great Lent which will start on March 15th according to the Julian calendar. In order to prepare for the Lenten journey, the Church gives us four pre-lenten weeks to help us understand why we fast.