Family Values

Ancient Answers

Today, September 8th, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos. A beautiful feast, celebrating the birth of the future birth-giver of God. There’s nothing in the Bible about the birth of Mary, so the church has relied on sources outside the Bible. Joachim and Anna, the parents of Mary, were a pious Jewish couple, among the faithful remnant who were waiting for the Messiah. They were barren and earnestly prayed for a child. Their faith was rewarded and miraculously conceived and gave birth to Mary. Uniquely in the Orthodox tradition, the conception of Mary is represented by showing Joachim and Anna embracing! It is very rare in Orthodox iconography to show such intimacy between a man and a woman.

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 The birth itself is shown in great detail, with the midwife and other attending women shown. What is even…

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