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Entrance of the Theotokos

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Celebration of the feast
According to [[Tradition]], the [[Theotokos|Virgin Mary]] 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 [[Joseph the Betrothed|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 [[Gospel of Luke|Luke]] 1:39-49, 56. It is read on all feasts of the Theotokos and includes the [[Magnificat|Theotokos' saying]]: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 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 [[Apostolos|epistle reading]] is from [[Hebrews]] 9:1-7, and speaks of the [[Tabernacle (biblical)|tabernacle]] of the old covenant. The [[Gospels|gospel reading]] is taken from Luke 10:38-42 and 11:27-28 together; this reading is also always read on all feasts of the Theotokos. In it, the Lord says, "blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
[[Troparion]] (Tone 4) []

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