On September 8 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we commemorate the Nativity of the Theotokos (the birth of Mary, the mother of God). It is one of the 12 great feasts of the Church year.
In answer to their prayers, Mary was born to an elderly couple named Joachim and Anna who had previously been barren.
Excerpts from the Old Testament readings of the Vespers service for the feast:
“Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. . . “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:10-17)
“Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.” (Ezekiel 43:27-44:4)
“Wisdom has built her house.” (Proverbs 9:1-11)
Additional readings for the feast:
Matins Gospel: Luke 1:39-49, 56
Epistle: Philippians 2:5-11
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28
Apolytikion of the Birth of the Theotokos in Fourth Mode
Thy Nativity, O Theotokos, hath proclaimed joy to the whole world
For from thee hath dawned the Son of Righteousness, Christ our God
Annulling the curse and bestowing the blessing
Abolishing death and granting us life everlasting
Blessed Feast to everyone celebrating today!