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Nativity of the Mother of God

Tradition is the source for details surrounding the birth of the Mother of God. While the birth of our Lord and St. John the Baptist are recorded in Sacred Scripture, the birth of the Mother of God has come to us only from non-Scriptural sources. The Icon of the Feast is based upon these sources.

The Icon of the Nativity of the Mother of God shows St. Anne reclining on a bed with an attendant at her side. The Virgin is generally represented in swaddling clothes, and in the arms of a midwife who is seated on a stool. St. Joachim is presented speaking with his wife. The midwife is reduced in size to focus attention on the holy parents and infant. In icons, the import ance of a person is indicated by size. Size is not a physical feature of a person, but a qualitative element relating to importance. St. Anne gazes downward upon her new-born daughter. The servant in the middle stands ready to assist the mother.

The liturgy rejoices in the Nativity of the Mother of God with hymns and chants of deeply spiritual and poetic character. The chant sung at Vespers of this Feast summarizes the Church's thinking about this event. "Indeed, some famous barren women have given birth by the will of God. But the birth of Mary surpasses all births in honor and splendor, as is worthy of the majesty of God. She was born of a barren mother in a miraculous way. Mary herself gave birth in the flesh to the God of All, incarnate in her womb without human seed, against the laws of nature..." The liturgy and icon call us to praise and worship God in His wondrous presence in our lives.

TROPARION — Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, heralded Joy to the universe, for from you rose the Son of Justice, Christ our God. He took away the curse, He imparted the blessing, and by abolishing death He gave us everlasting life.