On the Third Sunday after Pascha we in the Orthodox Church celebrate the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women who were witnesses to the death, burial and Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
This day commemorates the Myrrhbearing Women who came to anoint the body of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea who buried Him and Nicodemus who helped him. On this day we gratefully remember these individuals for their faith, courage and devotion to the Lord.
What’s specifically noteworthy on this day is the fact that it was the women who first heard of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead. In ancient Jewish times women were restricted to domestic chores. They didn’t have full access to the temple or synagogue. Women could not be included in the number 10 which was needed to hold service, only men. They were regarded as slaves for they could not control their own time. A pious or religious Jew would not speak to a woman on the street, we know this from the Gospels. As the Jewish historian Josephus said, “The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man.”.
Yet in Jesus’ Ministry, women were among the most faithful followers, for as St. Luke says, women along with His disciples supported Him out of their own resources. (Luke 8:1-3) Jesus did not treat men and women differently, for He addressed everyone with the same love and the same message. He talked freely to the Samaritan Women, healed the woman with the hemorrhage, and even allowed a sinful woman to touch His garment.
So as we celebrate this Sunday because of their devotion, as evidenced in the Gospels, they were the first to discover the empty tomb and the first to see the Risen Christ! They came to anoint the Saviour but instead were anointed themselves with everlasting life, Glory Be to God!
Let us also congratulate all the members of the Holy Myrrhbearers of our Church on their Patronal Feastday!
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!