Conception of the Theotokos

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The Conception of the Theotokos by Saint Anna is commemorated by the Orthodox Church on December 9. St Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. She married St Joachim, who was a native of Galilee. For a long time St Anna was childless, but after twenty years, through the fervent prayer of both spouses, an angel of the Lord announced to them that they would be the parents of a daughter, who would bring blessings to the whole human race.

The Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching of the Immaculate Conception, but has also always believed that the Virgin Mary was, from her conception, filled with every Grace of the Holy Spirit in view of her calling as the Mother of Christ our God.

The Church also celebrates other saints who were sanctified in the womb of their mothers. St John the Baptist is one example, and St Nicholas the Wonderworker is another.

The feast is not a perfect nine months before the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos ( September 8) as it is in the West, but a day later.

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 4)

Today the bonds of barrenness are broken,
God has heard the prayers of Joachim and Anna.
He has promised them beyond all their hopes,
To bear the Maiden of God
By whom the Uncircumscribed One was born as mortal man,
Who commanded an angel to cry to Her:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You!

Kontakion (Tone 4)

Today the universe rejoices,
For Anna has conceived the Theotokos through God's dispensation,
For she has brought forth the One who is to bear the Ineffable Word!

Sources and External links

See also

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