On 21 November 2012, on the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Church, hundreds of faithful were present on the Joy Hill. His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, celebrated the Divine Liturgy assisted by a group of priests and deacons.
In the sermon delivered, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel spoke about the history of the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Church: “The Gospel we listened to today is read in the Church at all the feasts dedicated to the Mother of God. Yet, at this feast named Presentation of the Mother of God, the Gospel has a special importance in regard to the Mother of God and to the Word of God. This feast is a later one. It was introduced in the Church in the 8th century as a spiritual need, because from the 5th century forward, fasting preceding the feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, our Lord, spread in the Christian West too. In the 6th century the Christmas Advent spread in the East too. This is why in the 8th century a feast was needed at the beginning of the Advent of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, our Lord, namely that of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Church“.
The Patriarch of Romania has also shown that there is a relationship between the Mother of God and the Temple of Jerusalem because the One whom she would give birth to, Christ, is the living Temple of God: “He Himself related the Temple of Jerusalem to the Temple of His body when He said: Pull down this temple and I will build it again in three days. Namely, if you kill this Body, it will come back to life on the third day. The Gospel according to John says that the Saviour Himself referred to His own Body when He said Pull down this temple and I will build it again in three days. Thus, the Temple of the Old Testament, just like the High Priest or the Apostle of the Old Testament, were a foretaste of the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God which turns His human nature into the Temple of the full presence of God within the humankind. This is why, Saint Paul the Apostle says in the Epistle to the Colossians about Jesus Christ, God-the-Man, that the fullness of divinity lives in Him. So, the Mother of God who would give birth to the Son of God enters the Temple of Jerusalem to prepare to receive the Mystery of the Temple in her, the Mystery of the holiest and most solemn presence of God in the world”.
His Beatitude has also pointed out the importance of the holy work that the Mother of God had to accomplish for the salvation of the humankind: “The Holy Scriptures does not speak of this presence of the Mother of God in the Temple, but the Holy Tradition says that when three years old, her parents Joachim and Ana took her to the Temple and entrusted her to High Priest Zachariah, father of Saint John the Baptist, who took their daughter not only to the Holy, but also to Holy of the Holies, the holiest place, inspired by God and feeling that she would have to accomplish a holy mission for the salvation of humankind. The Mother of God was taken to the House of God ever since a little girl because she was becoming Sanctified Temple and Spiritual Paradise through the Incarnation of the Son of the Eternal God from her and from the Holy Spirit. This is why the Axion of the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great names her Sanctified Temple and Spiritual Paradise.
The feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Church, has also shown His Beatitude, is a call to all the Christians to get ready to celebrate the feast of the Nativity of the Lord, showing that just like any meeting of ours with God during a great festive event needs a preparation, a special attention, both spiritual and physical.
“Thus, we see that any great event, any special meeting of ours with God during a festive event needs preparation, special heed, purification of the mind, words, soul, and body, as well as a cultivation of the desire to meet God, to make Him room in our soul and house. Therefore, today’s feast is a call for all Christians to get ready to meet the feast when Jesus Christ, our Saviour, became a human being and showed Himself in the world, namely the feast of the Nativity of the Lord or Christmas time. In other words, the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Church is an urge for us to listen to the words of God-the-Word of the Holy Scriptures, and read the writings of the saints of God bearers of the Holy Spirit even more, as well as to confess our sins and have the Holy Communion more often to be spiritually prepared to make more good deeds, especially merciful deeds, not to be praised by the people, but out of merciful humble love as the love of God is, according to the urge of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who says Be merciful as your Father of heaven is. Thus, this is the period when we try to turn our life into a temple, to change the cave of our soul often damped and darkened because of sin, into a holy temple, a holy place of the presence and work of Christ in our life”, the Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church said.
His Beatitude has also shown that the pure soul purified through prayer and confession and enlightened through the Holy Communion generates virtues.
“Therefore, during this period, the Church urges us, through the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Church, to be merciful and spread the gift of God shown in Jesus Christ, to answer with new gifts and so we shall feel as Saint Maxim the Confessor says that the soul of every Christian must be both a virgin and a mother, a virgin through purity and faithful or fidelity to God keeping the right faith, and mother by generating virtues. The pure good soul purified through confession and enlightened through the Holy Communion generates virtues and good deeds and so, we feel in our life the joy of the Mother of God to be both a virgin and a mother, to be faithful, obedient in lowliness to God and give birth to Christ and show Him to the world”, showed His Beatitude.
The Patriarch of Romania has also explained why the Mother of God is a living icon of the Church, not only for women, but also for men.
“May God help us understand that the Mother of God is a living icon of the Church not only for women, but also for men because the soul of every Christian who deifies himself through fasting, prayer and mercy resembles the soul and life of the Mother of God. This is why to end with today’s Gospel the Saviour says “Blessed are those who listen to the word of God and accomplish it in their lives“, urging to pure living in good deeds in the Holy Gospel for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and our salvation.”