Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Entrance of the Theotokos: The Monastic Feast of Panagia

The Entrance of the Theotokos to the Temple, fresco by Manuel Panselinos, Protaton, Mount Athos (source)
The Entrance of the Theotokos: The Monastic Feast of Panagia
This feast on Mount Athos, my Fathers named "The Monastic Feast of Panagia".

Elder Gelasios loved it greatly, and said that Papa-Thanasis, his Elder, the holy Abbot of Gregoriou Monastery, honored it greatly. And once, on this day, Elder Gelasios saw him liturgizing with St. Iakovos Adelphotheos. He is the one who is relating this tradition.

Panagia is coming to the Holy of Holies.
Her parents, Sts. Joachim and Anna are fulfilling their vow. And many little girls of Jerusalem holding lit candles, and a red carpet is laid out, like the wedding runner which was laid out in the old days at the home of the couple during the hour that the Holy Mystery of Marriage was being celebrated.

How many symbols! And how many centuries was the world waiting for this hour? For an Ever-Virgin to enter into a sanctified place, where the Archpriest men trembled to approach and enter within only once a year.

The nous cannot comprehend this, and many "scientists" deny this feast in particular.
Naturally, they deny because they are living with a mind held only by reason. And wherever the "irrational" thought enters, the Nous that surpasses logic leaves, our Triune God.

And the servant [of this event] is the Archangel of joy [Gabriel], of the Gospel and of hope. What an awesome mystery!

And for the Athonite Fathers, this great feast is very dear, because it resembles monasticism, the mystery of the monastic way of life.

Of course, our place that is the "Holy of Holies", is the place of our deep heart. There, something occurs with the mixing of the created and the uncreated, amidst abundant light.

When the heart is totally empty [of the passions], it is renewed by the Newborn Child, our Lord Jesus Christ, amidst abundant and saving light.

When the Altar of the Temple in Jerusalem was empty, there was the spotless Maria enthroned, the child of Nazareth.

The monk, the monastic, is he who enters into his own Holy Altar which has been forgotten and abandoned. And, what a mystery this is, when one turns around to see a small virgin, enthused by the light and her red robe and shining within with light, being led forward to her sacred Bridal Chamber, the one and only place of her rest, her deep heart, with tears.

The Monastic Feast of the Ever-Virgin. She is led by the Great High Priest and Prophet. Yes, and a prophet, think of how many centuries before him the prophets prophesied of that instant. The preaching of the Prophets, the Lady Theotokos. This is what the hymn speaks of. And the recreation of the faithful. We, therefore, all those who desire to be faithful in faith and to the Church, we, therefore, must be renewed--transformed, therefore, every instant, if we desire it, to become new people--full of His light and believing rightly in the Church.

How much did he love this feast, as an Athonite Father that he was, St. Gregory [Palamas] the Theologian of our Uncreated God? His homily is unmatched. Full of enthusiasm, waves of grace and an ocean of love.

My brother, if you find yourself at Hilandar Monastery, our beloved, and lift up your eyes to the right choir, and join chorus with the monastics, there you will see the little Maria, and her parents and the high priest. And to experience this yourself, even for a short time, within the Holy of Holies in the world, amidst the false rubbish [of the fallen world], the holy Athos, her Garden, the Holy Mountain
Most-holy Theotokos, save us! Amen!

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