Bridegroom Matins is an Orthodox prayer service that occurs the first three days of Orthodox Holy Week. Though each day has a particular focus, all three days relate to the parable of the ten virgins. As the virgins wait for the bridegroom who comes in the middle of the night, Orthodox Christians ready themselves for the coming of Christ later in the week – indeed, during 11 PM Pascha Liturgy “in the middle of the night” on Saturday/Sunday. Below are just a few of the lines from tonight’s Bridegroom Matins, which focuses on the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with spices and tears.
I am feeble and sore broken; I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. (from Psalm 17)
I stretch forth my hands unto thee; my soul thirsts after thee, as a thirsty land. (from Psalm 142)
Behold, the Bridegroom cometh at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom he shall find awake.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Though shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness; the bones which thou has broken shall rejoice. (from Psalm 50).
I have sinned against thee, O Good One, more than the adulterous woman, and have not even offered thee a flood of tears. But silently and calmly I kneel asking, kissing thy pure feet with longing, that thou mayest grant me, O Savior, since thou art Master, remission of my sins, who cry: Deliver me from the mire of my deeds.
Make radiant the garment of my soul, O Giver of Light, and save me.
Thou hast accomplished redemption for her who, with pent emotions of salvation and fountains of tears, in which, confessing she had been washed, was of grateful mind, not being ashamed, but crying: Praise the Lord, all his works, and exalt him more and more unto the ages.
Raise me from the depths, I who am dead, O thou who didst raise Lazarus from the tomb after four days, and accept me, the wretched one, and save me.
O thou who draweth the waters of the sea by the clouds. Incline, O incline thou to the sigh of my heart. (from the Hymn of St. Kassiane)
O Lord and Master of my life, take from the me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother, for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. (Prayer of St. Ephraim)