The Conception by Saint Anna of the Holy Theotokos

Troparion Tone 5
Let us sing praises to Joachim and Anna,
the couple honored by God
(and they are His kinsmen).
They have borne for us the Maiden
who in a manner beyond understanding
gave birth to Him Who though fleshless,
became the incarnate to save the world.
With her they intercede for our souls.

Wednesday December 22, 2021 / December 9, 2021

27th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Food with Oil

The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos. New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1919). New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest and Virgin-martyr Ephrosia (1920). New Hieromartyrs Basil and Alexander priests (1937). Prophetess Anna (Hannah) (1100 B.C.), mother of the Prophet Samuel. Saint Sophronios, Archbishop of Cyprus (6th C). Venerable Stephen the “New Light” of Constantinople (912). Icon of the Mother of God, named “Unexpected Joy”.

The Scripture Readings

1 Timothy 5:22-6:11
Luke 21:5-7, 10-11, 20-24
Galatians 4:22-31 St. Anna
Luke 8:16-21 St. Anna

The Conception by Saint Anna, of “Whence is Conceived the Holy Mother of God”

Commemorated on December 9


 The Conception by Saint Anna, of “Whence is Conceived the Holy Mother of God”:  Saint Anna, the mother of the Most Holy Mother of God, was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. She entered into marriage with Saint Joakim (their mutual memory is made 9 September), who was a native of Galilee. For a long time Saint Anna was childless, but after a span of some 20 years, through the fervent prayer of both spouses, an Angel of the Lord announced to them the Conception of a Daughter, Who would bring blessing to all the human race. The Conception by Saint Anna took place at Jerusalem, where also was born the Most Holy Virgin Mary by name. The majority of icons, dedicated to the Conception by Saint Anna, portray the MostHoly Virgin trampling underfoot the serpent. “Down the icon, along its sides, Saints Joakim and Anna are depicted usually with upraised hands prayerfully folded; their eyes also are directed upward and hey contemplate the Mother of God, Who as it were soars in the air with outstretched hands; under Her feet is portrayed an orb wound round with a serpent symbolising the devil, which in the face of fallen forefathers strives to conquer with its power all the universe”.

There also exist icons, upon which Saint Anna holds on her left arm the MostHoly Virgin at an infant age. Upon the face of Saint Anna is portrayed a special reverence. An ancient icon of large size, written on canvas, is located in the village of Minkovetsa in the Dubensk district of Volynsk diocese. And from ancient times this feast was especially venerated in Russia by pregnant women.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.




O Most-glorious God, wonderful and marvelous,

Kind and merciful toward all creation,

The proud dost Thou overturn, the humble dost Thou raise;

Thou Who dost extinguish, Thou Who makest to live,

According to Thy plan, O Creator, Thou canst do all,

According to Thy plan, eternal and divine.

With Thy blessing, the fertile earth brings forth fruit;

By Thy holy word, Thou settest a seal upon the barren.

From one who gives birth, Thou canst take away,

And for the barren one, Thou canst bring forth good fruit.

Thou madest fertile the barren Anna;

Thou didst grant her a holy and noble daughter.

That which was the subject of mockery, Thou didst crown with glory;

The dream of a childless woman Thou didst openly surpass.

The aged woman prayed; her prayer Thou didst accept.

The seal of barrenness Thou didst remove from her body;

Her dead body Thou didst fill with life;

Thou gavest her a Virgin, wondrous in beauty,

And a daughter was born, the Most-holy Virgin,

A Daughter, a Mother, and the Mother of God!

According to Thy plan, O Creator, Thou canst do all,

According to Thy plan, eternal and divine.


Fear of God drives all fear from the hearts of men. In every great hierarch of the Orthodox Church, we see meekness and fearlessness wonderfully united. St. Nicholas grabbed the sword of the executioner and pulled it away so that innocent men would not be beheaded. St. Chrysostom reproached the Empress Eudoxia for her misdeeds without consideration for the unpleasantness and danger to his own life, to which he was exposed as a result. And there are many, many other examples similar to this: Emperor Valentinian the Elder, upon hearing of Ambrose’s stern criticism of him, said: “I knew of your fearlessness; that is why I helped you to be chosen as bishop. Correct our faults as the Law of God teaches, and heal our unrighteousness.” When Valentinian the Younger, at the instigation of his mother Justina, an Arian, ordered that the cathedral church in Milan be yielded to the heretics, Ambrose shut himself in the church with the faithful and would not come out for three days. He sent a message to the emperor and empress that, if they desired his death, he was prepared at any moment “here in the church to be run through either by the sword or spear.” Hearing this, the emperor and empress withdrew their decree. When a riot occurred in Thessalonica, at which time about seven thousand people were beheaded by the decree of Emperor Theodosius the Great, Ambrose became so enraged at the emperor that, when the emperor visited Milan and wished to enter the church, the saint forbade him. The emperor said to Ambrose: “Even David sinned and was not deprived of God’s mercy.” To this the bishop replied: “As you have imitated David in sin, imitate him also in repentance.” The emperor was ashamed, turned back and repented bitterly of the sin he had committed.


Contemplate the righteousness of the righteous Noah (Genesis 6):

1. How all men were corrupt and wicked;

2. How, amidst universal corruption, Noah alone remained righteous and lived according to the will of God.


on Noah

Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).

To be righteous among the righteous is a great and praiseworthy deed, but how far greater and more praiseworthy a deed it is to be righteous among the unrighteous. Noah lived among men who were filled with unrighteousness and evil; he lived among them for five hundred years and remained righteous before God: Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8). The Most-high Judge, who looks at all the works of mankind and evaluates them without prejudice and without error, valued the labors of Noah because, in the midst of a corrupt and perverse generation, he remained in the righteousness of God; and God rewarded him with His grace. Assuredly, Noah endured much misery and bitterness from his evil neighbors. Assuredly, he was unable to have a friend among them. The greatest satisfaction for a sinner is to drag a righteous man down into his own mire and to share his sin with him. But Noah did not allow himself to be dragged down or misled. Noah favored God’s friendship over that of unrighteous men. It was dearer to him to walk with God without men, than to walk with men without God. Fear of God, the Creator and Judge, preserved him from the worldwide corruption; and he was not only righteous but also perfect in his generations. That is, he did not allow himself, even in the least, to be contaminated by the common evil, but rather he cleaved to God’s righteousness. The allurement of sin and the ridicule of the sinners: everything merely served to separate him all the more from them. When the universal flood befell the human race, God did not abandon his faithful Noah to perish with the others. Instead, He saved him and glorified him, making him the progenitor of a new generation of men. Brethren, this shining example of Noah teaches that each one of us can please God even in the midst of sinners, if only we want to.

O Righteous and Long-suffering God, uphold us on the path of Thy righteousness.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.