WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Matins, Tone 6
Today Christ comes to the house of the Pharisee, and the sinful woman draws near and falls down at His feet, crying: ’Behold me sunk in sin, filled with despair by reason of my deeds, yet not rejected by Thy love. Grant me, Lord, remission of my sins and save me.’
The harlot spread out her hair before Thee, O Master, while Judas stretched out his hands to the transgressors: she, to receive forgiveness; and he, to receive money. Therefore we cry aloud to Thee who wast sold and hast set us free: O Lord, glory to Thee.
Evil-smelling and defiled, the woman drew near to Thee, shedding tears upon Thy feet, O Saviour, and proclaiming Thy Passion. ‘How can I look upon Thee, O Master? Yet Thou hast come to save the harlot. I am dead: raise me from the depths, as Thou hast raised Lazarus on the fourth day from the tomb. Accept me in my wretchedness, O Lord, and save me.’
Full of despair on account of her life, her evil ways well known, she came to Thee, bearing oil of myrrh, and cried aloud: ‘Harlot though I am, cast me not out, O Son of the Virgin; despise not my tears, O joy of the angels; but receive me in repentance, O Lord, and in Thy great mercy reject me not, a sinner.’
The women who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Thy divinity, O Lord, 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 head, 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 judgements, O Saviour of my soul? Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure.’