April 14, 2020

Holy and Great Tuesday (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos)

By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

On Great Tuesday we perform the commemoration of the ten virgins from the parable of the Lord. The Church calls us to be ready in order for us to receive, while holding the lamps of our virtues, the heavenly Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, Who will come suddenly, either at the moment of our death, or at His Second Coming. He also invites us, in bringing forth the Parable of the Talents, to cultivate and increase the gifts which God has bestowed upon us.

The Horologion of our Church says:

"Today we commemorate the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which the Lord spoke among other parables as He was coming towards His Passion. This parable teaches us that we ought not, even if we accomplish the great work of virginity, to neglect the rest as well as almsgiving, by which the lamp of virginity is made bright. For we do not know when the end of our lives will come, and so we ought to be ready at every hour for it, like the wise virgins who were able to reply to the Bridegroom, lest He suddenly come and they find the doors of the heavenly bridal chamber shut, and we hear also, with the foolish virgins, that frightful decision, 'Amen I tell you, I do not know you.'"

To these themes are the hymns of the day primarily dedicated:

"How shall I, the unworthy one, appear in the splendor of Thy saints? For if I dare enter Thy bridal chamber with them, my garments will betray me; they are unfit for a wedding. The angels will cast me out in chains. Cleanse the filth of my soul, O Lord, and save me in Thy love for mankind."

Let us also look at the final troparion of this Service:

"Behold, the Master has entrusted you with a talent, O my soul, receive the gift with fear, repay the one who gave by giving to the poor, and gain the Lord as your friend, so that when He comes in glory, you may stand at His right hand and hear His blessed voice: Enter my servant, into the joy of your Lord. Though I have gone astray, make me worthy of this, O Savior, through Thy great mercy."

Source: Περίοδος Τριωδίου, Ιερόν Ησυχαστήριον Κεχαριτωμένης Θεοτόκου Τροιζήνος, 2011. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.