Myrrh is actually a tree sap native to Somalia and Ethiopia and used in several different incense mixtures from ancient times through today. It’s usually been expensive, sometimes worth more than its weight in gold, and always highly prized for its sweet odor and use in perfumes and anointing oils. It’s mentioned in Matthew as one of the gifts of the Magi to the infant Christ, and in Mark as being mingled with wine to produce insensibility for those sentenced to death. In John we have myrrh and aloe brought by Joseph of Arimathea to anoint the body of Christ before it was laid in the Tomb.
The Myrrh-bearing Women were those who were present at the Passion and then cared for the body. In the burial society of the Austin area we are represented by our patroness, St. Mary Magdalene. Recently we were visited by the Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God; called such because it exudes a sweet-smelling oil, and indicating fulfillment of II Corinthians in which we as God’s people are “a sweet-savor of Christ unto God.” Myrrh from the Holy Icon is available at the parish - if you wish to be anointed, please see Fr. Ignatius.