His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH's
Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos
“The joy of the whole world hath shone forth to us from the two righteous ones, Joachim and Anna, the all-extolled Virgin, who because of her surpassing purity became a living temple of God, and alone is known as truly Theotokos. Wherefore, by her intercessions, O Christ God, send forth safety to the world, and to our souls the Great Mercy”. (The Aposticha for the Nativity of the Theotokos in Tone 4)
We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos.The Aposticha from the Vespers of the feast which is quoted above transmits to us the essence of this feast. We are first joyful for the birth of Mary, since the birth of a child is a great gift granted by God. Our joy is magnified because she is granted to her parents Joachim and Anna in their later years, thereby overturning the laws of nature. Our final and greatest joy comes from the knowledge that she has been chosen by God to be the mother of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, “a living temple of God”, and that she “alone is known as truly Theotokos”. We ask her to continue to intercede for our salvation and for peace to come to all of those around the world who are suffering so greatly.
The great joy of this feast marks the first major feast of the Holy Orthodox Church in this Ecclesiastical New Year which began on September 1st. We convey our most heartfelt love to you as we celebrate this joyous feast and we ask our gracious Lord to bless you and to grant that we will all be lifted up to new spiritual heights.
Yours in Christ,
+ J O S E P H
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America