His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, has addressed a message of blessing and gratitude to all Christian women on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women – 30 April 2017. Please find the text bellow:
Christ is risen!
On the third Sunday after Pascha, the Orthodox Church commemorates the myrrh-bearing women who were the first to go early in the morning to the Lord’s tomb and to meet the Risen Jesus Christ. That is why, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church consecrated this feast day to all right-believing Christian women, followers of the myrrh-bearing women, who profess in their family and in society their faith in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
During the Holy Passions of the Lord Jesus Christ, many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: among which was Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children (Matthew 27:55-56). Through their fidelity and piety, these women have proved themselves braver and more devout to the Lord Jesus Christ than His Disciples.
On the Sunday of Jesus’ Resurrection, as the sun rose, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, Salome and Joanna brought funeral spices and ointments to finish committing Christ’s body to the grave, since He was laid in the grave in haste on the Friday of His Crucifixion, facing fear of those who crucified the Lord.
The myrrh-bearing women were rewarded for their courage and piety with the announcement made by the angels and by the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, Who met them, saying All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him (Matthew 28:9). Then, they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy to preach the Resurrection of Jesus to His Disciples, thus the myrrh-bearing women have become “apostles to the Apostles” as St John Chrysostom called them.
The preaching of the Resurrection of Christ the Lord by the myrrh-bearing women has opened in history the way for multitudes of martyrs and venerable women, mothers and daughters, housewives or Christian Queens and Empresses to profess the faith in the crucified and risen Lord.
In this regard, the Holy Empress Helen manifested humble love and devoutness towards the crucified and risen Christ by searching with much toil and expenses and then finding joyfully the Holy, Life-Giving Cross and by financially supporting the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and of other churches in the Holy Land.
In the context of the year 2017, declared by the Romanian Patriarchate as Solemn Year of the holy icons, of iconographers and church painters, we recall today that in the Orthodox Church two holy women restored the veneration of holy icons, namely Saint Irene the Empress, who convened in 787 the seventh Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, and Saint Theodora the Empress, who convened in 843 the Council of Constantinople.
The third Sunday after Pascha places us before the icon of the Holy Myrrh-bearing women as an image of sacrificial and brave love, of compassion, of strong faith and of generosity. In a similar manner, pious and diligent Christian women in Romania support the construction of holy places of worship and the religious education of children in public school; they cultivate merciful love for those in hospitals and social care institutions or excel in other areas of activity profitable for the Romanian people, and especially as mothers and wives they bring peace and holy joy to their families and the society.
This Sunday we address all Christian women a message of blessing and gratitude for their entire work carried out with much devotion, and we entreat our Lord Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, and the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women to fill their souls with peace and joy and grant them good health and much support!
Many and blessed years!
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church