The Holy Galilean Women & The First Holy Saturday

The Galilean Women/Holy Myrrhbearers at the Tomb of Christ
... After a Day of "Rest"
by Fra Angelico (1440-1441)

It must have been quite a day for those Holy Galilean Women ... after watching Jesus' tortured death and viewing His burial, they still obeyed the third commandment and spent a day of rest after the Crucifixion day.  Even though they came to believe that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited-for Messiah, the Son of God, they still put His anointing on hold for the Sabbath which began shortly after Christ's death.  They went home and "rested."  I sometimes wonder how much they actually rested on that first Holy Saturday!  It truly must have been a day filled with anguish and confusion.  Having a bunch of chores to do probably would have made the day easier!

Nowadays, we spend Holy Saturday with relief that Lent is almost over ... we might color Easter Eggs, put together some fun Easter baskets, prepare for a joyous meal for the next day, etc.  We know our struggle is almost over.  But, I think it's a good idea to remember these Holy Galilean Women (and the many others who loved Jesus so much) on Holy Saturday ... to take a bit of time to contemplate how they might have felt the day after Jesus died.

The Byzantine Rite calls these Holy Galilean Women "The Holy Myrrhbearers," and honors them on the Third Sunday of Easter (the second Sunday after Easter).  This year, the Feast of the Holy Myrrhbearers is on April 10.

The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils.  Then they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. 
~ Luke 23:55-56


Some lists of Holy Myrrhbearers also include Martha and Mary of Bethany, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus.

Holy Myrrhbearers Church
Ilinka, Russia

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