On Palm Sunday evening we celebrate the first service of the Holy Week: the Service of the Bridegroom.
The Bridegroom of the Church is a humble and suffering Bridegroom.
He is a Bridegroom who loves and sacrifices to the point of death so that His love may be received.
We see in this icon that He is humiliated by people that did not love Him.
His holy face is bloodied and turned to the right with pain and dignity.
He is crowned with the valuable crown of martyrdom, with each thorn brutally devastating His divine face.
A wonderful peace emanates from this icon, which teaches that ultimate and absolute pain is eliminated when love moves our choices and behavior.
The logic of the world would say He looks pathetic, while the logic of the believer is moved to worship Him, because the believer understands that the pain of the Redeemer is the joy of the redeemed and the body and blood of the Righteous One is our food and the medicine of our immortality, irrigating His creation with His blood.
Behold, the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night; and blessed is the servant He shall find awake and watching; unworthy is the other He shall find being lazy. So beware, O soul of mine, be not overcome by sleep, so that you not be handed over to death and be shut out from the Kingdom. Come to your senses and cry aloud: Holy, holy, holy are You our God. By the protection of the bodiless hosts have mercy on us.
Icon by fr.Stamatios Skliris