Significance of this Service
"When he came to himself...he came to his father..."
(The service is Matins of Wednesday morning sung by anticipation on Tuesday evening.)
On Wednesday of Holy Week (sung by anticipation, now on Tuesday evening), it has been ordained by the Holy Fathers of the Church that commemoration should be made of the anointing of Christ with myrrh by the woman in the house of Simon, the leper, in Bethany. Repentance was the mission of the prophets. It would be an apt one-word title for the Bible, because "repentance" was the mission of our Lord. This woman who demonstrated her repentance and her warm faith toward our Lord still presents to us the aroma of her virtue for imitation today.
On this evening is sung the beautiful "Hymn of Cassiane," probably a work of Patriarch Photius. It begins: "The woman who had fallen into many sins recognized thy Godhead, O Lord; Woe to me, saith she; receive the sources of my tears, O Thou who doth gather into clouds the water of the sea. Who can trace out the multitude of my sins and the abysses of my misdeeds? "O Thou whose mercy is unbounded."
The Gospel reading is John 12:17-50.