Icon of Christ at Bethany – F83


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Movable Church Feast Day 1

Eight Days before Pascha




Decani Monastery, Kosovo, Serbia




14th c.


From the famous Decani Monastery in Serbia, this 14th c. icon is a fresco depicting Christ eating dinner at SS Mary and Martha’s house in Bethany with their brother Lazarus, whom Christ had just raised from the dead.  Mary brought a jar of very expensive spikenard ointment and anointed His feet and then wiped His feet with her hair, filling the house with the spikenard’s fragrance.   Judas Iscariot then complained at this costly gift as wasteful, and said that it might have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. But it was a hypocritical complaint because he actually cared for the money, not for the poor, and he kept the money himself.

Christ then said, “Let her alone: against the day of My burying hath she kept this.  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always” (John 12:7-8).   We should always help those less fortunate, but here God also teaches that giving Him gifts of the best that we have will be accepted in love if given humbly in love.  We must love God first, and then our neighbor as ourself, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.  From a loving heart we should always try to do both, and God will accept our two mites as lasting riches.