Tuesday, September 04, 2007

September 8: Nativity of the Theotokos

The first great feast of the liturgical year commemorates the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. According to the Prologue of 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."

On the evening of Saturday, September 8, we will welcome Father Ted Pisarchuk to Baton Rouge. He will serve Great Vespers Saturday evening at 5:00 PM and Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, September 9 at 10:00 AM.

Father Ted is Rector of Saint Justin the Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He also serves as Director of Missions and Evangelism for the Diocese of the South.

As always, our services are in English and visitors are always welcome - and encouraged! - to join us.

Troparion for the Nativity of the Theotokos - 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.