3RD SUNDAY OF PASCHA—Tone 2
Holy Myrrhbearing Women.
St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus.
At “Lord, I Call” sing the stichera (7) of the Resurrection in Tone 2.
Then the following stichera (3) for the Holy Myrrhbearers from the Pentecostarion in Tone 2.
Early in the morning, the myrrhbearing women brought spices to the tomb of the Lord. They found the stone unexpectedly rolled away, and they asked among themselves: “Where are the seals of the tomb? Where are Pilate’s guards?” The radiant Angel came to the wondering women and proclaimed to them: “Why do you seek weeping the Life Who gives life to the human race? Christ our God has risen from the dead as almighty,// granting us incorruption, life, enlightenment, and great mercy!”
O women disciples, why do you mix myrrh with tears? The stone is gone; the tomb is empty; corruption destroyed by life! The seals witness that the guards have watched in vain. Mortal nature has been saved by the flesh of God. Hell is wailing. Go with joy, and proclaim to the Apostles: “Christ has slain death as the first-born of the dead.// He awaits you in Galilee!”
The Myrrhbearers came early to Your tomb, O Christ, seeking to anoint Your most pure Body. Enlightened by the Angel’s words, they proclaimed joyous news to the Apostles: “The Leader of our salvation has been raised; He has captured death,// giving the world eternal life and great mercy!”
After “Glory...” in Tone 6 (Myrrhbearers, Pentecostarion)
The myrrhbearing women reached Your tomb and saw the seals of the tomb broken. They wept as they did not find Your most pure Body: “Who has stolen our hope? Who has taken the dead One, naked and anointed, the sole consolation of His Mother? How can the Life of the dead have died? How can the Capturer of hell have been buried?// But arise in three days as You said, O Savior, and save our souls!”
After “Now and ever…” the Dogmatic in Tone 2
The shadow of the law passed when Grace came! As the bush burned yet was not consumed, so the Virgin gave birth, yet remained a virgin! The righteous Son has risen instead of a pillar of flame. Instead of Moses, Christ, the salvation of our souls.
At the Aposticha, sing one sticheron of the Resurrection in Tone 2.
Thy Resurrection, O Christ our Savior, has enlightened the whole universe, recalling Thy creation. Glory to Thee, O Almighty Lord!
Then the Paschal Stichera in Tone 5
Verse: Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee from before His face!
Today, a sacred Pascha is revealed to us: a new and holy Pascha, a mystical Pascha, a Pascha worthy of veneration, a Pascha which is Christ the Redeemer, a blameless Pascha, a great Pascha, a Pascha of the faithful, a Pascha which has opened for us the gates of Paradise, a Pascha which sanctifies all the faithful.
Verse: As smoke vanishes so let them vanish; as wax melts before the fire!
Come from that scene, O women bearers of glad tidings, and say to Zion: “Receive from us the glad tidings of joy, of Christ’s Resurrection! Exult and be glad, and rejoice, O Jerusalem, seeing Christ the King, Who comes forth from the tomb like a bridegroom in procession!”
Verse: So sinners will perish before the face of God. But let the righteous be glad!
The myrrh-bearing women, at the break of dawn, drew near to the tomb of the Life-giver. There they found an Angel sitting upon the stone. He greeted them with these words: “Why do you seek the Living among the dead? Why do you mourn the Incorrupt amid corruption? Go, proclaim the glad tidings to His disciples!”
Verse: This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Pascha of beauty, the Pascha of the Lord, A Pascha worthy of honor has dawned for us. Pascha! Let us embrace each other joyously! Pascha, ransom from affliction! For today, as from a bridal chamber, Christ has shown forth from the tomb, and filled the women with joy saying: “Proclaim the glad tidings to the Apostles!”
After “Glory ...” Tone 5 (Myrrhbearers, Pentecostarion)
Joseph, together with Nicodemus, took You down from the Tree, though clothed Yourself with light as with a garment. He gazed on Your body – dead, naked, and unburied, and in grief and tender compassion he lamented: “Woe is me, my sweetest Jesus! A short while ago, the sun beheld You hanging on the Cross, and it hid itself in darkness. The earth quaked in fear at the sight. The veil of the Temple was torn in two. Now I see You willingly submit to death for our sake. How shall I bury You, O my God? How can I wrap You in a shroud? How can I touch Your most pure body with my hands? What songs can I sing for Your exodus, O compassionate One? I magnify Your Passion. I glorify Your burial, and Thy holy Resurrection, crying, O Lord, glory to You!”
After "Now and Ever…"
This is the day of resurrection! Let us be illumined by the feast! Let us embrace each other! Let us call “Brothers” even those that hate us, and forgive all by the resurrection, and so let us cry:
“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.” (1x)
Resurrectional Troparion, Tone 2
When Thou didst descend to death, O Life Immortal, Thou didst slay hell with the splendor of Thy Godhead. And when from the depths Thou didst raise the dead, all the powers of heaven cried out:// “O Giver of life, Christ our God, glory to Thee!”
Troparion, Tone 2 (Noble Joseph)
The noble Joseph, when he had taken down Thy most pure Body from the Tree, wrapped it in fine linen and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb. But Thou didst rise on the third day, O Lord, granting the world great mercy.
Troparion, Tone 2 (Myrrhbearers)
The angel came to the Myrrhbearing Women at the tomb and said: “Myrrh is fitting for the dead; but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption! So proclaim: ‘The Lord is risen, granting the world great mercy.’”
Today we commemorate the Holy Myrrhbearing women: Saints Mary Magdalene (July 22), Mary the wife of Clopas, Joanna (June 27), Salome, mother of the sons of Zebedee (August 3), Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus (June 4). Also Saint Joseph of Arimathea (July 31), and Nicodemus.
The holy right-believing Queen Tamara of Georgia is commemorated twice during the year: on May 1, the day of her repose, and also on the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women.
Synaxis of all Saints of Thessalonica. Saint Seraphim Bishop of Phanar (December 4, 1610). New Martyr Elias Ardunis (January 31, 1686). New Martyr Demetrius of the Peolponnesos (April 13, 1803).
The saint we commemorate today: Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, “a last relic of ancient piety,” as Saint Jerome calls him, lived during the fourth century in Phoenicia. The Roman empress Honoria was his sister. He was of Jewish descent, and in his youth he received a fine education. He was converted to Christianity after seeing how a certain monk named Lucian gave away his clothing to a poor person. Struck by the monk’s compassion, Epiphanius asked to be instructed in Christianity.
He was baptized and became a disciple of Saint Hilarion the Great (October 21). Entering the monastery, he progressed in the monastic life under the guidance of the experienced Elder Hilarion, and he occupied himself with copying Greek books.
Because of his ascetic struggles and virtues, Saint Epiphanius was granted the gift of wonderworking. In order to avoid human glory, he left the monastery and went into the Spanidrion desert. Robbers caught him there and held him captive for three months. By speaking of repentance, the saint brought one of the robbers to faith in the true God. When they released the holy ascetic, the robber also went with him. Saint Epiphanius took him to his monastery and baptized him with the name John. From that time, he became a faithful disciple of Saint Epiphanius, and he carefully documented the life and miracles of his instructor.
Reports of the righteous life of Saint Epiphanius spread far beyond the monastery. The saint went a second time into the desert with his disciple John. Even in the wilderness disciples started to come to him, so he established a new monastery for them.
After a certain time, Saint Epiphanius made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to venerate its holy shrines, and then returned to the Spanidrion monastery. The people of Lycia sent the monk Polybios to Saint Epiphanius asking him to take the place of their dead archpastor. When he learned of this intention, the clairvoyant ascetic secretly went into the Pathysian desert to the great ascetic Saint Hilarion (October 21), under whose guidance he had learned asceticism in his youth.
The saints spent two months in prayer, and then Hilarion sent Saint Epiphanius to Salamis. Bishops were gathered there to choose a new archpastor to replace one who recently died. The Lord revealed to the eldest of them, Bishop Papius, that Saint Epiphanius should be chosen bishop. When Epiphanius arrived, Saint Papius led him into the church, where in obedience to the will of the participants of the Council, Epiphanius agreed to be their bishop. Saint Epiphanius was consecrated as Bishop of Salamis in 367.
Saint Epiphanius won renown because of his great zeal for the Faith, his love and charity toward the poor, and his simplicity of character. He suffered much from the slander and enmity of some of his clergy. Because of the purity of his life, Saint Epiphanius was permitted to see the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Gifts at Divine Liturgy. Once, when the saint was celebrating the Mystery, he did not see this vision. He then became suspicious of one of the clergy and quietly said to him, “Depart, my son, for you are unworthy to participate in the celebration of the Mystery today.”
At this point, the writings of his disciple John break off, because he became sick and died. The further record of the life of Saint Epiphanius was continued by another of his disciples, Polybios (afterwards bishop of city of Rinocyreia).
Through the intrigues of the empress Eudoxia and the Patriarch Theophilos of Alexandria, towards the end of his life Saint Epiphanius was summoned to Constantinople to participate in the Synod of the Oak, which was convened to judge the great saint, John Chrysostom (September 14 and November 13). Once he realized that he was being manipulated by Chrysostom’s enemies, Saint Epiphanius left Constantinople, unwilling to take part in an unlawful council.
As he was sailing home on a ship, the saint sensed the approach of death, and he gave his disciples final instructions: to keep the commandments of God, and to preserve the mind from impure thoughts. He died two days later. The people of Salamis met the body of their archpastor with carriages, and on May 12, 403 they buried him in a new church which he himself had built.
The Seventh Ecumenical Council named Saint Epiphanius as a Father and Teacher of the Church. In the writings of Saint Epiphanius, the PANARIUM and the ANCHORATUS are refutations of Arianism and other heresies. In his other works are found valuable church traditions, and directives for the Greek translation of the Bible.
In his zeal to preserve the purity of the Orthodox Faith, Saint Epiphanius could sometimes be rash and tactless. In spite of any impetuous mistakes he may have made, we must admire Saint Epiphanius for his dedication in defending Orthodoxy against false teachings. After all, one of the bishop’s primary responsibilities is to protect his flock from those who might lead them astray.
We also honor Saint Epiphanius for his deep spirituality, and for his almsgiving. No one surpassed him in his tenderness and charity to the poor, and he gave vast sums of money to those in need.