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The Nativity of the Mother of God ~ Sept 8
In the city of Nazareth there dwelt a God-fearing elderly couple, Joachim, from the house of David, and Anna, from the priestly tribe of Aaron. In those days Hebrews, awaiting the Messiah, believed that any one who did not have children had in some way offended God and was being punished by having no descendants to be part of the Messiah's kingdom. Joachim and Anna grieved greatly because they were childless. Despite the ridicule and reproaches that Joachim and Anna received from their neighbors, they did not lose hope but continually prayed that God might grant them a child, which they promised to dedicate to the service of God. For their patience, their faith and their love of God and of each other, their prayers were heard: a daughter was born to them in their old age. An angel directed them to name the child Mary, which in Hebrew means "lady and hope." The one who was to be the Mother of God was born into a righteous family, known more throughout the generations for its goodness than for its royal blood.
Troparion - Tone 4
Your Nativity, O Virgin,
Has proclaimed joy to the whole universe!
The Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God,
Has shone from You, O Theotokos!
By annulling the curse,
He bestowed a blessing.
By destroying death, He has granted us eternal Life.
Kontakion - Tone 4
By Your Nativity, O Most Pure Virgin,
Joachim and Anna are freed from barrenness;
Adam and Eve, from the corruption of death.
And we, your people, freed from the guilt of sin,
celebrate and sing to you:
The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos,
the nourisher of our life!
Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
The Prologue from Ohrid
The Holy Virgin Mary was born of aged parents, Joachim and Anna. Her father was of the lineage of David, and her mother of the lineage of Aaron. Thus, she was of royal birth by her father, and of priestly birth by her mother. In this, she foreshadowed Him Who would be born of her as King and High Priest. Her parents were quite old and had no children. Because of this they were ashamed before men and humble before God. In their humility they prayed to God with tears, to bring them joy in their old age by giving them a child, as He had once given joy to the aged Abraham and his wife Sarah by giving them Isaac.
The Almighty and All-seeing God rewarded them with a joy that surpassed all their expectations and all their most beautiful dreams. For He gave them not just a daughter, but the Mother of God. He illumined them not only with temporal joy, but with eternal joy as well. God gave them just one daughter, and she would later give them just one grandson-but what a daughter and what a Grandson! Mary, Full of grace, Blessed among women, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Altar of the Living God, the Table of the Heavenly Bread, the Ark of God’s Holiness, the Tree of the Sweetest Fruit, the Glory of the race of man, the Praise of womanhood, the Fount of virginity and purity-this was the daughter given by God to Joachim and Anna. She was born in Nazareth, and at the age of three, was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem. In her young womanhood she returned again to Nazareth, and shortly thereafter heard the Annunciation of the Holy Archangel Gabriel concerning the birth of the Son of God, the Savior of the world, from her most-pure virgin body.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Nativity of the Most-holy Mother of God
O greatly desired and long awaited one,
O Virgin, thou hast been obtained from the Lord with tears!
A bodily temple of the Most-holy Spirit shalt thou become,
And shalt be called Mother of the Eternal Word.
The Burning Bush they called thee,
For thou wilt receive within thyself the divine fire:
Ablaze with fire but not consumed,
Thou shalt bear the Golden Fruit and offer it to the world.
Thou shalt be the Bearer of Him Who bears the heavens,
To Whom all of heaven offers up praise!
The Miracle of miracles shall come to pass within thee,
For thou shalt bear heaven, thou who art “more spacious than the heavens!”
Thou art more precious to us, O Virgin, than precious stones,
For thou art the source of salvation for mankind.
For this, may the entire universe glorify thee,
O Most-holy Virgin, O white Turtledove!
The King of Heaven shall desire to enter the world,
And shall pass through thee, O Beautiful Gate!
O Virgin, when thou dost become woman thou shalt bear Christ for us;
From thy body, the Sun shall blaze forth.
Book Titles on the Theotokos
Reading List for the Feasts of the Theotokos:
(Links provided for quick selection and ordering.)
FIRST TIME IN ENGLISH
St Maximus the Confessor's
The LIFE of the VIRGIN
Long overlooked by scholars, this seventh-century Life of the Virgin, attributed to Maximus the Confessor, is the earliest complete Marian biography. Originally written in Greek and now surviving only in Old Georgian, it is now translated for the first time into English. It is a work that holds profound significance for understanding the history of late ancient and medieval Christianity, providing a rich source for understanding the history of Christian piety.
FROM A REVIEW AT AMAZON.COM:
Important Addition to an Orthodox Christian Library, by Joanna Higginbotham
Five Stars: This life by St. Maximus is written in the same prayerful manner and is an excellent companion book to the life of the Holy Virgin written by the Holy Apostles Convent; especially since it appears that the Holy Apostles Convent did not have St. Maximus' account available to them.
The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos
By Holy Apostles Convent
The most complete text on the life of the Mother of God from her Conception to her Dormition and bodily translation, including her role in the Church, treated within the framework of Sacred Scriptures, Holy Tradition, Patristics and other ancient writings, together with the Liturgical and Iconographic Traditions of the Holy Orthodox Church.
- The Conception by Righteous Anna of the Virgin Mary
REJOICE! Hymns to the Theotokos — CD
Rejoice! Hymns to the Virgin Mary
The voice of the Virgin Mary, heard rarely but powerfully in the Holy Scriptures, and the events of her life, as recorded in both biblical and apocryphal texts, eventually comprised the core of many church hymns. Sung by the St Vladimir's Seminary Choir, Kevin Smith, Director.
$18 - CD - SVS Press
Special Articles for the Nativity of the Theotokos
Additional Articles on the Mother of God