The Anointing of Christ by the Harlot (Athos) Icon - F326

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As recorded in Matthew 26, a few days before Christ's death, a harlot came and anointed his feet with expensive ointment and wept for her sins. When they saw this, the disciples and especially Judas were angry. But Christ rebuked them and said she had done a great thing in preparation for his burial. From this point, Judas the lover of money looked for an opportunity to betray him. 

This event is commemorated on Holy Wednesday; the Synaxarion states it occurred on the 21st of March that year, two days before the death of Jesus. In the Orthodox Church, the day is marked by the Hymn of Kassiani, a beautiful hymn which is one of the liturgical high points of Holy Week and the entire year.

O Lord God, the woman who had fallen into many sins, having perceived Thy divinity, received the rank of ointment-bearer, offering Thee spices before Thy burial, wailing and crying: Woe is me, for the love of adultery and sin hath given me a dark and lightless night. Accept the fountains of my tears, O Thou Who drawest the waters of the sea by the clouds. Incline Thou to the sigh of my heart, O Thou Who didst bend the heavens by Thine inapprehensible condescension. I will kiss Thy pure feet and I will wipe them with my tresses. I will kiss Thy feet whose tread, when it fell on the ears of Eve in Paradise, dismayed her so that she hid herself because of fear. Who then shall examine the multitude of my sin and the depth of Thy judgment? Wherefore, O my Saviour and the Deliverer of my soul, turn not away from Thy handmaiden, O Thou of boundless mercy.


Holy Week

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