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Old 09-21-2004, 02:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 21 / September 8 (Church Calendar)

Commemorated Today
THE NATIVITY OF OUR MOST HOLY LADY THE THEOTOKOS AND EVER-VIRGIN MARY.
St. Serapion, monk of Spaso-Eleazar Monastery (Pskov). St. Lucian, abbot of Alexandrov. St. Arsenius, abbot of Konevits. New-Martyr Athanasius of Thessalonica. New-Martyr Alexander (Jacobson) (1930). (Greek Calendar: Martyrs Rufus and Rufianus. Martyrs Severus and Artemidorus. St. Sophronius of Iberia, Bishop) Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos: "Kursk-Root" Icon of the sign"; "Pochaev"; "Kholmsk"; and others. Repose of Elder Daniel of Katounakia, Mt. Athos (1929).
O Holy God-Pleasers, Pray to God for Us!

The story of Mary's birth is not found in the New Testament, but in the writings which are not part of the [canonical] scriptures. The tradition of this feast teaches that Joachim and Anna were a pious Jewish couple who were among the small and faithful remnant - "the poor and needy" - awaiting the promised messiah. The couple was old and childless, and had prayed earnestly to the Lord for a child, since among the Jews, barrenness was a sign of God's disfavor. In answer to their prayer, and as a reward for their unwavering fidelity to God, the elderly couple was blessed with the child who was destined, because of her own personal goodness and holiness, to become the Mother of the Messiah - Christ.

The fact that there is no Biblical verification of Mary's birth is incidental to the meaning of the feast. Even if the background of the event as celebrated in the Church is questionable from a historical point of view, the divine meaning of it "for us men and for our salvation" is obvious. There had to be one born of human flesh and blood who would be spiritually capable of being the Theotokos, and she herself had to be born into the world of persons who were spiritually capable of being her parents.

The feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, therefore is a glorification of the miracle of Mary's birth, of Mary herself, and of her righteous parents. It is the celebration as well of the very first preparation of the salvation of the world.
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