Friday, November 21, 2014

The Presentation of the Virgin Mary

Lamp-bearing virgins, joyfully guiding forth the Ever-Virgin, truly prophesy in spirit what will come to pass; for the temple of God, who is the Mother of God, is led to the temple as a child with the glory of a virgin. (from Vespers of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple in the Byzantine Rite.)

The Entrance of the Mother of God in the Temple, a mid-15th century icon from the Byzantine Museum in Athens. Ss Joachim and Anna, the Virgin’s parents, are followed by a crowd of virgins bearing torches, accompanying them to the temple. The Virgin Mary approaches the high priest with Her hands open, to symbolize that She is offering Herself  to God; in the upper left, the archangel Gabriel brings Her bread, symbolizing that She is nourished by contemplation and a life dedicated to the service of God. 
Λαμπαδηφόροι Παρθένοι, τὴν Ἀειπάρθενον φαιδρῶς ὁδοποιοῦσαι, προφητεύουσιν ὄντως ἐν πνεύματι τὸ μέλλον· ναὸς γὰρ Θεοῦ, ἡ Θεοτόκος ὑπάρχουσα, πρὸς τὸν Ναόν μετὰ δόξης παρθενικῆς νηπιόθεν ἐμβιβάζεται.

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