Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
Presentation of the Holy Mother-of-God to the Temple
On November 21 each year the worldwide Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Holy Mother-of-God to the Temple. The Feast commemorates when as a young child, the Virgin Mary entered the Temple in Jerusalem.
The birth and early life of the Virgin Mary is not recorded in the Gospels or other books of the New Testament, however this information can be found in a work dating from the second century known as the Book of James or Protevangelion.
When Mary was three years old, Joachim and Anna decided that the time had come to fulfill their promise and to offer her to the Lord. Joachim gathered the young girls of the neighborhood to form an escort, and he made them go in front of Mary, carrying torches. Captivated by the torches, the young child followed joyfully to the Temple, not once looking back at her parents nor weeping as she was parted from them.
The holy Virgin ran toward the Temple, overtaking her attendant maidens and threw herself into the arms of the High Priest Zacharias, who was waiting for her at the gate of the Temple with the elders. Zacharias blessed her saying, "It is in you that He has glorified your name in every generation. It is in you that He will reveal the Redemption that He has prepared for His people in the last days."
Then, Zacharias brought the child into the Holy of Holies—a place where only the High Priest was permitted to enter once a year on the Day of Atonement. He placed her on the steps of the altar, and the grace of the Lord descended upon her.
The Virgin Mary dwelt in the Temple for nine years until reaching an age for marriage, she was betrothed to Joseph the Carpenter.
The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple signifies her total dedication to God and her readiness for her future vocation as the Mother of the Incarnate Lord. This is a feast of anticipation. As honor is shown to Mary, the faithful are called to look forward to the Incarnation of Christ, celebrated in the Armenian Church on January 6.
Mother of God, luminous tabernacle of the unbounded Sun of life,
Who became the Dawn of the Sun of righteousness,
And who shined light upon us who sat in darkness,
We magnify you always.