Myrrh-bearing Women

In John 19:38-20:18).

The women followed Jesus during his earthly ministry in Mary Magdalene, are sometimes referred to as "Equal to the Apostles."

Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly (Luke 23:50).

Nicodemus (Greek: Νικόδημος) was a Gospel of Nicodemus that purports to be written by him.

Names of the Myrrhbearers

The Myrrhbearers are traditionally listed as: [1]

The Gospels also mention "Mary, the mother of James and Joses" (Mark 15:40).

There are also generally accepted to be other Myrrhbearers, whose names are not known.

Liturgical references

In the Mark 15:43-16:8.

Since this day commemorates events surrounding not only the Resurrection, but also the entombment of Christ, some of the hymns from Holy Saturday are repeated. These include the Troparion of the Day: "The noble Joseph..." (but with a new line added at the end, commemorating the Resurrection), and the Doxastikhon at the Vespers Aposticha: "Joseph together with Nicodemus..."

The week that follows is called the Week of the Myrrhbearers and the Troparion mentioned above is used every day at the Canonical Hours and the Divine Liturgy. The Doxastikhon is repeated again at Vespers on Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Many of the Myrrhbearers also have separate feast days on which they are commemorated individually in the Menaion.

There are numerous liturgical hymns which speak of the Myrrhbearers, especially in the Sunday Octoechos and in the Pentecostarion. Every Sunday, there is a special hymn that is chanted at Matins and the Midnight Office, called the Hypakoë, (Greek: Ύπακοί, Slavonic: Ўпаκои), which means, "sent", and refers to the Myrrhbearing women being sent to announce the Resurrection to the Apostles.

There are several prominent Orthodox cathedrals and churches named after the Myrrhbearers. They celebrate their patronal feast day on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers.

Role of the Myrrhbearers

In the Gospels, especially the synoptics, women play a central role as eyewitness at Jesus' death, entombment, and in the discovery of the empty tomb. All three synoptics repeatedly make women the subject of verbs of seeing,[2] clearly presenting them as eyewitnesses.[3]

The presence of women as the key witnesses who discover the empty tomb has been seen as increasing the credibility of the testimony, since, in the contemporary culture (Jewish and Greco-Roman), one might expect a fabrication to place men, and especially numerous and important men, at this critical place, rather than just "some grieving women."[4] C. H. Dodd considered the narrative in John to be "self-authenticating", arguing that no one would make up the notion that Jesus had appeared to the "little known woman" Mary Magdalene.[5] However, some passages in the Mishnah (Yebamoth 16:7; Ketubot 2:5; Eduyot 3:6) indicate that women could give testimony if there was no male witness available. Also, Josephus[6] and Pliny the Younger[7] have used women as witnesses to their claims. In addition, Paul does not mention the women. Bart D. Ehrman argues: "One of Mark's overarching themes is that virtually no one during the ministry of Jesus could understand who he was. His family didn't understand. His townspeople didn't understand. The leaders of his own people didn't understand. Not even the disciples understood in Mark—especially not the disciples! For Mark, only outsiders have an inkling of who Jesus was: the unnamed woman who anointed him, the centurion at the cross. Who understands at the end? Not the family of Jesus! Not the disciples! It's a group of previously unknown women…the women at the tomb…." [8]

All three Synoptics name two or three women on each occasion in the passion-resurrection narratives where they are cited as eyewitnesses: the Torah's required two or three witnesses [Deuteronomy 19:15]] in a statute that had exerted influence beyond legal courts and into situations in everyday life where accurate evidence was needed.[9] Among the named women (and some are left anonymous), Mary Magdalene is present in all four Gospel accounts, and Mary the mother of James is present in all three synoptics; however, variations exist in the lists of each Gospel concerning the women present at the death, entombment, and discovery. For example, Mark names three women at the cross and the same three who go to the tomb, but only two are observed to be witnesses at the burial. Based on this, and similar examples in Matthew and Luke, Richard Bauckham argued that the evangelists showed "scrupulous care" and "were careful to name precisely the women who were known to them as witnesses to these crucial events" since there would be no other reason, besides interest in historical accuracy, not to simply use the same set of characters from one scene to another.[10]

Mark's account (which in the earliest extant manuscripts) ends abruptly and claims that the women told no one. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark do not present any further involvement at the tomb. Luke describes Peter as running to the tomb to check for himself, and John adds that the Beloved Disciple did so too, the beloved disciple outrunning Peter.[11][12]

See also

External links

  • Synaxarion


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