When the Virgin Mary reached the age of three years, Her pious parents prepared to fulfil their promise. They
called together their relatives, invited friends the same age as their
daughter, dressed Her in Her finest clothes, and
accompanied by the people singing hymns, they brought Her to the Temple in Jerusalem to be consecrated to God. Her friends and Mary Herself
walked with burning candles in their hands. Led by the chief priest, the
priests, while singing hymns, came out of the Temple to meet them.
Joachim and Anna with reverent prayers set Mary on
the first step of the flight of stairs leading to the Temple. This staircase had fifteen high steps, according to the
number of the psalms which the priests chanted upon entering the Temple.
There, three-year-old Mary Herself climbed the
high steps without any assistance. At the top, the chief priest met and blessed
Her as he always did with all who came to be
consecrated to God. Then, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he led Her into the Holy of Holies. This was the most sacred place
in the Temple. No one had the right to enter there except him, and he
did only once a year. The Holy Spirit enlightened the chief priest with the
knowledge that Mary, the chosen young girl, was worthy to enter the most sacred
place. She was destined by God to become the Mother of the Son of God, Who
would open the way for all people into the Kingdom
Fulfilling their promise, Joachim and Anna
returned home, and Mary remained to live at the Temple. There She with other girls
studied the Law of God and handiwork. She prayed a great deal, read the Holy
Scriptures, and strictly observed the fasts. Mary lived at the Temple of God about eleven years, grew deeply devout in
everything was submissive to God, and was extraordinarily meek and industrious.
The Most-holy Mary decided to consecrate Her entire life to the one God alone. For this, She vowed that She would never marry; that is She would
remain a virgin forever. The Holy Spirit and holy angels protected the godly
The Entry into the Temple of the Most-holy Virgin Mary is celebrated in the Holy
Orthodox Church on the 21st of November (December 4 NS). This
day is considered a great holyday, which in the hymns of the Church is called
the harbinger of Godís good-will toward man. Starting with this holyday,
we begin to sing "Christ is born... " during
Troparion of the Feast.
Today is the prelude of Godís good-will and the heralding of
the salvation of mankind. The Virgin is presented openly, and She proclaimed Christ unto all. Then, with a great voice let
us cry aloud: Rejoice, O Thou fulfilment of the Creatorís dispensation.
The Holy Virgin Mary with Joseph.
When the Virgin Mary reached fourteen years of
age, it was necessary by law for Her to leave the Temple. She either had to go back to Her
parents or to marry. Joachim and Anna had already reposed by that time. The
priests wanted to give her in marriage, but Mary explained to them Her vow to God ó to remain forever virgin. Then, the
priests, guided by God, betrothed Her to a distant
relative, the 80-year-old Joseph, so that he would have taken care of Her and
kept Her virginity.
Joseph lived in the city of Nazareth. He was also descended from the royal family of David.
However, he was not a rich man but a carpenter.
The Holy Virgin Mary in the home of Joseph led a
humble and solitary life as before in the Temple. In Her free time, She read the
books of the Holy Scripture and prayed to God.
is presented a short summary of the Birth of the Mother of God and Her
childhood as described in Holy Tradition and piously preserved in the Holy
Orthodox Church. (About Holy Tradition, see Part IV On Christian Faith and
Life, in the section "About supernatural revelation by God ó about
Holy Tradition and Holy Scriptures.").
Return to the first page