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TheHolyArt

The Entrance of Virgin Mary icon, Handmade Greek Orthodox icon The Presentation, Byzantine art wall hanging on wood plaque religious gift

The Entrance of Virgin Mary icon, Handmade Greek Orthodox icon The Presentation, Byzantine art wall hanging on wood plaque religious gift

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The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, also called The Presentation, is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on November 21. Among those Orthodox Christians who use the "Old" (Julian) calendar as their Church calendar, the date of this feast corresponds to December 4 in the secular calendar.


According to Tradition, the Theotokos was taken – presented – by her parents Joachim and Anna into the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem as a young girl, where she lived and served as a Temple virgin until her betrothal to St. Joseph. One of the earliest sources of this tradition is the non-canonical Protoevangelion of James, also called the Infancy Gospel of James.


Mary was solemnly received by the temple community which was headed by the priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. She was led to the holy place to become herself the "holy of holies" of God, the living sanctuary and temple of the Divine child who was to be born in her. The Church also sees this feast as a feast which marks the end of the physical temple in Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God.


Celebration of the feast

On the eve of the feast, Vespers is served and contains Old Testament readings that are interpreted as symbols of the Mother of God, for she becomes the living temple of God. In each reading we hear, "for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord God Almighty." (Exodus 40:1-5, 9-10, 16, 34-35; I Kings 7:51, 8:1, 3-4, 6-7, 9-11; and Ezekiel 43:27-44)


Sometimes Matins is served on the morning of the feast. The Gospel reading is from Luke 1:39-49, 56. It is read on all feasts of the Theotokos and includes the Theotokos' saying: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden, for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed."


Divine Liturgy is served on the day on the feast. The epistle reading is from Hebrews 9:1-7

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