The great feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8) is one of the 12 great feasts of the church year. You will often find these 12 feasts represented by icons on the second layer of the church iconostasis. Pascha, The greatest feast of the year, is in a class all its own and so is not usually one of the 12. The Nativity of the Theotokos is also the first major feast of the new church year. The next one will be the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross on September 14.
According to the second century document, the Protoevangelium of Saint James, the Theotokos was born to Joachim and Anna after they had given up hope of having a child. They were observant and generous Jews, but they were mocked for being childless. they had prayed for a child fervently for years, and just before conceiving the Theotokos they began to despair. Angels appeared to each of them, sharing the news that God was going to gift them with a baby girl who would be “ spoken of in all the world”.
We are an essential part of this prophecy that the Theotokos be “spoken of” and it is important that we do this in each of our parts of the world. Be creative in the living out of the prophecy! Celebrate this feast with the rest of the parish (in person or through the livestream). Bring flowers to your own icons of the Theotokos, any of the many icons of her were have here at St. Mary’s, or even to a statue or shrine that may be in your neighborhood. Read the Protoevanglium of St. James and tell this story to those with whom you share your faith. Finally, be sure to call upon the Theotokos when you could use her motherly care. This is the oldest know Marian Hymn, pray it often:
“Beneath your compassion we take refuge, O Virgin Theotokos. Despise not our prayers in our need, but deliver us from dangers, for you alone are pure and blessed.”
Tuesday, September 8 –