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An Explanation of the Icon of the Birth of the Theotokos

Just as September in Byzantium was the first month of the ecclesiastical year and the first of this month was new years day and the beginning of the Indiction, so also is this feast and celebration, the Birth of the Mother of God, the first according to our recall and recreation, since, as Saint Gregory Palamas says: “This sacred feast and celebration that we are keeping is the first to commemorate our recall and recreation according to grace, for on it all things began to be made new, enduring precepts began to be brought in instead of temporary ones, the spirit instead of the letter, the truth instead of shadows.”

On the Nativity of the Theotokos

According to the ancient tradition of the Church, the Theotokos was born of barren and aged parents, Joachim and Anna, about the year 16 or 17 before the birth of Christ. Joachim was descended from the royal line of David, of the tribe of Judah. Anna was of the priestly tribe of Levi, a daughter of the priest Matthan and Mary, his wife.

Saint John the Damascene: On the Chaste Couple Joachim and Anna

Anna was to be the mother of the Virgin Mother of God, and hence nature did not dare to anticipate the flowering of grace. Thus nature remained sterile, until grace produced its fruit. For she who was to be born had to be a first born daughter, since she would be the mother of the first-born of all creation, in whom all things are held together. Joachim and Anna, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the Immaculate Conception

In this interview Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, comments on the Latin dogma of the “Immaculate Conception”. Interviewer: The Catholic Church this year celebrates the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. How does the Eastern Christian and Byzantine Tradition celebrate the Conception of Mary and her […]