*Nativity of Theotokos* – Sept 8

Published by Jacob P Varghese on

Come, all you faithful, let us hasten to the Virgin: for long before her conception in the womb, the one who was to be born of the stem of Jesse was destined to be the Mother of God. The one who is the treasury of virginity, the flowering Rod of Aaron, the object of the prophecies, the child of Joachim and Anna, is born today and the world is renewed in her. Through her birth, she floods the Church with her splendor. O holy Temple, Vessel of the Godhead, Model of virgins and Strength of kings: in you the wondrous union of the two natures of Christ was realized. We worship Him and glorify your most pure birth, and we magnify you.

The ‘Eight Days Fast commemorating the Nativity of the Theotokos’ has picked up so much popularity in the Orthodox Churches in India, even though not a Canonical Fast.

History shows that St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, built a Church in Jerusalem, which was dedicated to the Nativity of our Lady. It was said to be consecrated on the date of her nativity: September 8th. The birth and early life of the Virgin Mary is not recorded in the Gospels or other books of the New Testament; however, this information can be found in a work dating from the second century known as the Book of James or Protoevangelium.

According to the story found in this book, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, were childless for many years. They remained faithful to God, but their prayers for a child were unanswered. One day, when Joachim came to the temple to make an offering, he was turned away by the High Priest who chastised him for his lack of children. To hide his shame, Joachim retreated to the hill country to live among the shepherds and their flocks. Joachim was frustrated that he was turned away by the High Priest in the temple but he submitted his emptiness to the Lord. At the same time his wife Anna also fasted and prayed at their house in Jerusalem. An angel appeared to both of them and announced that Anna would have a child whose name would be known throughout the world. Anna promised to offer her child as a gift to the Lord.

Joachim returned home, and in due time Anna bore a daughter, Mary. Joachim was of the lineage of David, and Anna of the lineage of Aaron. Thus, Mary was of royal birth by her father and of priestly birth by her mother. In this, Mary foreshadowed Christ who would be born of her as King and High Priest.

Her parents revered God a lot and were full of gratitude and thankfulness for being gifted with such a precious child. Mary was brought up as God’s child. She, was taught to serve and love God. The history of salvation would not have been the same without her. Very few must have known, when Mary was born. But, today the world celebrates her birth and we remember and honor our Lord Christ. Her birth lies at the confluence of Two Testaments, ending the long years of expectation and inaugurating the new times of Grace and Salvation in Christ Jesus.   

“We know of Virgin Mary’s part played by Divine Grace in her life. And aided by Divine Grace, carried out her life events, with real effort and sacrifice. Thus, she is for us a model of many virtues.”

She is our Mother who cares, helps, loves us and intercedes for us at all times, to those who seek her intercession


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