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Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple

“…blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

– Gospel of Luke 11:28

November 21/December 4

Holy Scripture Accounts

Old Testament Readings
(from Vigil the night before feast)

Exodus 40:1-5, 9-10, 16, 34-35

I Kings 7:51, 8:1, 3-4, 6-7, 9-11

Ezekiel 43:27-44

The Epistle (from feast day Liturgy)

Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance…”

-Hebrews 9:1-7

The Gospel (from feast day Liturgy)

“Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

– Luke 10:38-42

And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

– Luke 11:27-28

Troparion (Tone 4)

Today is the prelude of the good will of God, / of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. / The Virgin appears in the temple of God, / in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. / Let us rejoice / and sing to her: / ‘Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation’.”
( audio )

Kontakion (Tone 4)

The most pure Temple of the Savior; / the precious Chamber and Virgin; / the sacred Treasure of the glory of God, / is presented today to the house of the Lord. / She brings with her the grace of the Spirit, / therefore, the angels of God praise her: / ‘Truly this woman is the abode of heaven’.”

Teaching from the Entrance of the Theotokos Icon

The Theotokos, the living Holy of Holies, rushes with outstretched arms to Zacharias at the entrance of the temple, showing the enthusiasm with which she offers herself to God. She is small but depicted with adult features and a covered head (in contrast to the young maidens) as a way of illustrating her spiritual maturity.”

Zacharias, the high priest whose name means ‘God has remembered’, has emerged from the temple to receive and bless Mary. He senses that Israel’s centuries-long wait for the Messiah will soon be over.”

Joachim & Anna, not forgetting their vow to give their long-awaited child back to God, are icons of a God-centered couple who remain lovingly faithful to Him and to each other.”

The Young Maidens who escort Mary and her parents to the temple represent the Church – those who are called to “enter the King’s palace” (Psalm 45:15). We learn from the festal vespers that the flames of their lamps foreshadow the Light “that is to shine forth from [Mary] and give light by the Spirit to those that sit in the darkness of ignorance.”

The Holy of Holies figuratively rises in the upper right corner of the scene to show that humanity is being raised back into communion with God. Having originally contained the Ark of the Covenant, it is now the dwelling of Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant. She receives bread from an angel, symbolizing her spiritual nourishment in the stone temple as she prepares to become the living temple of the incarnate God.”

Quoted from: Heaven meets Earth: Celebrating Pascha and the Twelve Feasts (page 14), by John Kosmas Skinas

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