Holy Wednesday

Two women – say the more discerning interpreters of the Gospel – anointed the Lord with myrrh; the one, a long time before His Passion; the other, a few days before. One was a harlot and sinner; the other, chaste and virtuous. The Church commemorates this reverent act today.

12 What she did was to pour this perfume on my body to get me ready for burial.
13 Now, I assure you that wherever this gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”  Matthew xxvi

While mentioning herein the person of the harlot, it also mentions Judas’ betrayal; for, according to the account in Matthew, both of these deeds took place two days before the Passover, on Wednesday.

That woman, then, anointed Jesus’ head and feet with very precious myrrh, and wiped them with the tresses of her hair. The disciples, especially the avaricious Judas, were scandalized, supposedly because of the waste of the myrrh, which could be sold for a great price and given to the poor.

The Lord Jesus reproved them and told them not to trouble the woman. Indignant, Judas went to the high priests, who were gathered in the court of Caiaphas and were already taking counsel against Jesus. On agreeing with them to betray his Teacher for thirty pieces of silver, Judas sought from that time opportunity to betray Him

 Because the betrayal took place on Wednesday, we have received the tradition from Apostolic times to fast on Wednesday throughout the year.

14 Then one of the twelve disciples – the one named Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests15 and asked, “What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you?” They counted out thirty silver coins and gave them to him. 16 From then on Judas was looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them.
ibid.

 

Apolytikion of Holy Wednesday in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

See! The Bridegroom sets forth in the dead of night. Blessed is the servant whom he shall find on watch; unworthy is the one he comes upon lazingly asleep.

See to it, soul, that sleep does not overtake you, lest you be given up to death,  and be shut out of the kingdom.

Bestir yourself, then, and sing out: “Holy, holy, holy are You, our God; by the power of Your Cross, save us.”

 

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