Back to All Events

Matins for Holy Thursday

On Great and Holy Wednesday, the hymns of the Bridegroom Service remind us of the sinful woman who poured precious ointment on Christ’s head at Simon the leper’s house (Mt. 26:7).  The disciples complained about the wasteful extravagance, for the myrrh could have been sold and the money given to the poor. On this same day Judas agreed to betray the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. Because the betrayal took place on Wednesday, Orthodox Christians fast on most Wednesdays during the year.

On the other hand, the Savior declared that the woman’s actions would be remembered wherever the Gospel is preached (Mt. 26:13), for she had anointed Him in preparation for His burial (Mt. 26:12).  It also focuses on the Mystical Supper, which is celebrated in the liturgy of the following day. Within the past two centuries, Byzantine practice has developed to include the mystery of Holy Unction, which is celebrated on Holy Wednesday, commemorating Christ's anointing with myrrh.

During the first three days of Holy Week, the Church prescribes that the entire Four Gospels be read at the Hours up to the point in each where the passion of Christ begins. Although this is not always done, sometimes at least one complete Gospel, privately or in common, is read before Holy Thursday.

Earlier Event: April 4
Reading of the Gospel
Later Event: April 5
Vesperal Divine Liturgy