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Holy Tuesday: Remembrance of the Ten Virgins

Today the Armenian Church marks Holy Tuesday with an observance called the “Remembrance of the Ten Virgins.” The theme of the day comes from a parable Christ told late in his ministry, which conveyed his cautious advice to prepare for the coming of God’s kingdom, “for you know neither the day nor the hour” that it will arrive.

The story is told in Matthew 25:1-13:

“The kingdom of heaven will be like this,” [Jesus said]: “Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, but five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

“Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

“Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

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