December 22, 2009

The Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos

On December 22nd, (the 9th, old style), the Church commemorates the conception of the Most-holy Theotokos by Saint Anna.

In the land of Galilee, in the city of Nazareth, there lived the righteous couple Joachim and Anna, who were descendants of kings and high priests. By their pious life this couple so pleased God, that He chose them to become the parents of the Holy Virgin Who had been destined to become the Mother of God. But just as the Lord Himself was to become incarnate from a Most-holy Mother, so the Mother of God was to come from holy and pure parents.

In accordance with God’s providence, the venerable Joachim and Anna remained childless until a very old age, so that in the conception and birth of their Daughter from barren and extremely aged parents the power of God’s grace would be manifested. The righteous Joachim and Anna wept and sorrowed for a long time over their childlessness, and were subjected to mockery and scorn from those around them, but they never lost hope in God’s mercy, for which their sorrow finally turned into joy, and their dishonor - into great honor and worthiness. Once, when Saint Anna in great sorrow prayed to God in her garden, the Lord sent her an Angel who fore-told her of the forthcoming conception and birth of a Maiden, which soon came to pass.

Thus was conceived and born the holy Virgin Mary in accordance with God’s pledge, albeit through a physical union, so that the Lord in His incarnation could fully draw upon human essence from His Holy Mother. In the conception and birth of the Holy Virgin it was not only Her righteous parents who received a pledge of salvation, but also the entire world.

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