The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple
The mother of the Virgin Mary, Anna, was barren for many years and she and her husband, Joachim, remained childless into their old age. Not giving up, they two prayed fervently for a child which they promised that they would dedicate it to God. For their bold persistence and prayer, the Lord granted them a child which they called Mary. When the Virgin Mary reached the age of three, her parents thought it was time to fulfil their vow. Dressed in her finest clothes and accompanied by candle-bearing virgins, the young Theotokos was led in procession to the Holy Temple. Having reached the Temple, there were fifteen steps leading to the sanctuary. Being such a small girl, the Theotokos had difficulty climbing the first stair, but with a divine source of strength, the young virgin quickly ascended the stairs and reached the sanctuary, while her family and the High Priest recited a Psalm on each step (these Psalms are now known as the Psalms of Ascent). Having reached the top, the High Priest, Zacharias (father of Saint John the Baptist) was divinely inspired to lead her into the Holy of Holies where only the High Priest was allowed to enter once a year. All those present were astonished at this act. The Righteous Joachim and Anna then entrusted their daughter to the Temple where she remained with other virgins in prayer and study of the Holy Scriptures. This feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple foretells God’s blessing for the human race, the preaching of salvation, and the promise of the coming of Christ.
Σήμερον τῆς εὐδοκίας Θεοῦ τὸ προοίμιον, καὶ τῆς τῶν ἀνθρώπων σωτηρίας ἡ προκήρυξις ἐν Ναῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ, τρανῶς ἡ Παρθένος δείκνυται, καὶ τὸν Χριστὸν τοῖς πᾶσι προκαταγγέλλεται. Αὐτῇ καὶ ἡμεῖς μεγαλοφώνως βοήσωμεν, Χαῖρε τῆς οἰκονομίας τοῦ Κτίστου ἡ ἐκπλήρωσις.
Ἦχος δ’. Ὁ ὑψωθεὶς.
Ὁ καθαρώτατος ναὸς τοῦ Σωτῆρος, ἡ πολυτίμητος παστὰς καὶ Παρθένος, τὸ Ἱερὸν θησαύρισμα τῆς δόξης τοῦ Θεοῦ, σήμερον εἰσάγεται, ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ Κυρίου, τὴν χάριν συνεισάγουσα, τὴν ἐν Πνεύματι θείῳ· ἣν ἀνυμνοῦσιν Ἄγγελοι Θεοῦ· Αὕτη ὑπάρχει σκηνὴ ἐπουράνιος.
Today is the prelude of the good will of God, / of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. / The Virgin appears in the temple of God, / in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. / Let us rejoice / and sing to her: / “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation.”
The most pure Temple of the Savior; / the precious Chamber and Virgin; / the sacred Treasure of the glory of God, / is presented today to the house of the Lord. / She brings with her the grace of the Spirit, / therefore, the angels of God praise her: / “Truly this woman is the abode of heaven.”