Today is the most sublime feast of the Incarnation – today is the very day on which Jesus, the theanthropos, Christ our God, became incarnate in human flesh from the womb of the All-holy Virgin. What can we say of the Theotokos that is adequate? How may we speak of one whose greatness and holiness, which originates with her Son, transmits to us all the grace and gifts which God himself wishes to bestow upon humanity? Words seem inadequate to to praise her, hymns to sing her honour. It is truly right to call her the “life-giving earth” which brings forth, Christ, the “life-giving bread”. She is truly the true “table of the eucharist” for it is from her immaculate womb that the body of Christ comes forth. She is intimately connected with the celebration of the Liturgy and the Divine Eucharist, as we sing: “It is truly meet to call you blessed, O Theotokos…”:
The Lady Theotokos is the supreme creation of God’s love. Within the created order, she is the ‘exceptional and outstanding and absolutely deiform fulfilment worked by God’s creative Wisdom’. ‘She alone is the boudary between created and uncreated nature. No one can approach God except through her and the Intercessor born of her. And none of God’s gifts can be given to angels or men except through her!’ So it is right that she is the shared boast of angels and mankind, and that she is praised in heaven and on earth. This is shown by the hymn to the Mother of God, the Axion Estin (It is truly meet)… The first part of this hymn was revealed by the Archangel Gabriel to an Athonite monk. The Archangel sang it then for the first time, followed by the well-known strophe More honourable than the cherubim… There are many names by which we sing the praises of the All-holy Virgin, but her primary appellation is Theotokos… In naming the Virgin Theotokos, we are at the same time proclaiming the mystery of Christ that is celebrated in the Divine Liturgy
Hieromonk Gregorios The Divine Liturgy: A Commentary in the Light of the Fathers
- Today is the beginning of our salvation,
- The revelation of the eternal mystery!
- The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
- As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
- Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
- Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
- The Lord is with You!
- O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts!
- We, your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos!
- As you possess invincible might, set us free from every calamity
- So that we may sing: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!