The Nativity of the Theotokos

Celebrated September 8/21

The first major feast in the new Church year which begins on September 1, is the Nativity of the Theotokos. Besides remembering Mary's birth and her righteous parents, we also celebrate the first preparation of the salvation of the world. At Great Vespers we sing the following hymn written by Sergios of the Holy City: "On this solemn day of our feast let us strike the spiritual harp; for today is born of the seed of David the Mother of Life, who destroys darkness. She is the restoration of Adam and the recalling of Eve, the fountain of incorruption and the release from corruption: through her we have been made godlike and delivered from death. Let us, the faithful, cry to her with Gabriel: 'Hail, you who are full of grace: the Lord is with you, through you granting us great mercy.'"

Begin the "New Year" right! Come celebrate the Feast Day in Church as a family, if not on the day itself due to work or school, then at least on the eve of the Feast. If you have an icon of the Feast, display it in your family's place of prayer. Discuss the icon with your children so that they can recognize all the figures. To bring home the point with younger children, have a birthday cake or cupcakes for the Theotokos.

The Icon

St. Anna - the central figure, reclining on her bed; and elderly woman robed in blue. The Nurses - the figures surrounding St. Anna; these were midwives to help with birthing. The Theotokos - appears in two scenes as an infant; in the arms of a nurse being pondered by her mother, and in a cradle attended by a nurse and being pondered by her father. St. Joachim - the figure in the lower right; an elderly man with white hair and a beard. (Taken from The Icon Book by Boojamra, Essey, McLuckie & Matusiak.)

© 1997 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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