Selections from the Menaion on the Nativity of the Theotokos

Taken from The Festal Menaion translated from the original Greek by
Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware.

From Small Vespers

On "Lord, I have cried" four stichera are sung:

(to the special melody, "O purest Virgin, thou joy of the heavenly heirarchies...")

V. From the morning watch until the night, from the morning watch let Israel trust in the Lord.
Joachim and Ann keep festival, having brought into the world the only Theotokos, first fruit of our salvation. With them we celebrate the feast today, blessing the pure Virgin from the root of Jesse.
V. For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption: and he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
From Ann today has sprung forth a rod, a branch given by God, even the Theotokos, salvation of men. From her, in manner past understanding, is born the maker of all, who in his goodness purges all the indignity of Adam.
V. O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him all ye people.
The Maiden in whom God came to dwell, the pure Theotokos, glory of the prophets, the daughter of David, is born today of Joachim and Ann sober in spirit; and by her birthgiving she overthrows the curse of Adam that weighed upon us.
V. For his merciful kindness is great towards us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.
The soil which formerly was barren gives birth to fertile ground, and nourishes with milk the holy fruit sprung from her sterile womb. Dread wonder: she who sustains our life, who received within her body the Bread of Heaven, feeds at her mother's breast.
     Glory be to the Father...both now...


Come, all ye who love virginity, and who are friends of purity: come ye and welcome with love the boast of virgins. She is the fountain of life that gushes forth from the flinty rock; She is the Bush springing from barren ground and burning with the immaterial fire that cleanses and enlightens our souls.

(to the special melody, "O house of Ephratah...")

The Virgin, offspring of Joachim and Ann, has appeared to men, releasing all from the bonds of sin.

From Great Vespers

Today God who rests upon the spiritual thrones has made for Himself a holy throne upon earth. He who made firm the heavens in His wisdom has prepared a living heaven in His love for man. For from a barren root He has made a life-giving branch spring up for us, even His Mother. God of wonders and hope of the hopeless, glory be to Thee, O Lord.

Although by the will of God other women who were barren have brought forth famous offspring, yet among all such children Mary has shone most brightly with divine glory. For, herself born wondrously of a barren mother, she bore in the flesh the God of all, in fashion surpassing nature, from a womb without seed. She is the only gateway of the Only-begotten Son of God, who passed through this gate, yet kept it closed: [Ezekiel 44:1-3] and having ordered all things in His own wisdom He has wrought salvation for all mankind.

Today the barren gates are opened and the virgin Door of God comes forth.  Today grace begins to bear its fruits, making manifest to the world the Mother of God, through whom things on earth are joined with heaven, for the salvation of our souls.

Today Ann the barren gives birth to the Child of God, foreordained from all generations to be the habitation of the King of all and Maker, Christ our God, in fulfillment of the divine dispensation. Through her we children of earth have been formed anew, and restored from corruption to life without end.

What is this sound of feasting that we hear? Joachim and Ann mystically keep festival. `O Adam and Eve,' they cry, `rejoice with us today: for if by your transgression ye closed the gate of Paradise to those of old, we have now been given a glorious fruit, Mary the Child of God, who opens its entrance to us all.'

From Matins

We magnify thee, O Most holy Virgin, and we honour thy holy parents and praise thine all-glorious Nativity.

The whole creation calls thee blessed, O ever-Virgin born today of Ann: thou spotless branch of the root of Jesse, that brought forth Christ as flower.

O undefiled Theotokos, thy Son has set thee higher than all creation; He magnifies thy birth from Ann and fills all with gladness on this day.

The holy parents of the Mother of God received from heaven a gift  worthy of God, a Throne higher than the very cherubim--she who in childbirth bore the Word and the Creator.

O Mother of God, thou hast inherited according to the promise a birth worthy of thy purity. For as a God-given fruit hast thou been granted to her who before was fruitless. Therefore we and all the nations of the earth without ceasing call thee blessed.

O holy Ann, mother of the Virgin, thou hast put forth from thy womb, against all hope, a virgin flower according to the promise, a divine bud pure and beautiful. Therefore as the root of our life do we call thee blessed.

O marvellous wonder! At the behest of the Almighty Maker of all, a fruit has shone forth from a barren womb, that has wholly ended the world's barrenness in good. Ye mothers, dance with the mother of the Theotokos and cry: `Hail, thou who art full of grace: the Lord is with thee, granting great mercy to the world through thee.'


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