Holy Tuesday: The Hymn of St. Kassiane

At Bridegroom Orthros on Great and Holy Tuesday, the Church sings the following hymn by St. Kassiane:

O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Thy divinity, fulfilled the part of a myrrh-bearer; and with lamentations she brought sweet-smelling oil of myrrh to Thee before Thy burial. ‘Woe is me,’ she said, ‘for night surrounds me, dark and moonless, and stings my lustful passion with the love of sin. Accept the fountain of my tears, O Thou who drawest down from the clouds the waters of the sea. Incline to the groanings of my heart, O Thou who in Thine ineffable self-emptying hast bowed down the heavens. I shall kiss Thy most pure feet and wipe them with the hairs of my heads, those feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise and hid herself for fear. Who can search out the multitude of my sins and the abyss of Thy judgments, O Saviour of my soul? Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure.



Filed under Orthodox Christianity

2 responses to “Holy Tuesday: The Hymn of St. Kassiane

  1. Alyson

    Fr. James:

    Is the woman annointing Christ supposed to be nameless? I heard our local priest say she never gave her name and she is meant to represent you and me and everyone. However in John chapter 11 and 12, the woman is named as Mary, the sister of Lazarus. I’m confused.

    • Fr. James Coles

      Here is the teaching regarding the woman. This is read at Bridegroom Orthros for Wednesday.

      The more accurate and exacting of the commentators on the four Gospels, say that two women anointed the Lord, one long before his Passion, and one a few days before. One of these women was a harlot, and the other was a chaste, virtuous woman. On this day, the Church commemorates this act of piety and righteousness which proceeded from the harlot, contrasting it with treachery of Judas and his Betrayal of Christ. Both these acts occurred on Wednesday, two days before the Mosaic Passover, as it appears from the course of the account of St. Matthew the Evangelist.The above mentioned harlot anointed the head and feet of Jesus with oil, and wiped them with the hair of her head. The precious ointment was worththree hundred dinars, or about fifteen pieces of Venetian gold. When the Disciples saw this, they stumbled, especially Judas, the money-lover, and were angry because of the wasting of such an amount of costly ointment. Jesus rebuked them, lest the woman be embarrassed. Judas was angry, and went to the high priests where they were gathered in the house of Caiphas, taking counsel against Jesus, and he agreed with them to deliver the Master for thirty pieces of silver. Because of this, the fast of Wednesday was instituted from the days of the apostolic age itself.
      Wherefore, O Christ God, anointed with the holy oil, deliver us from all suffering, and have mercy upon us. Amen.

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