The Virgin Mary: A Celebration of Our Faith: Session 1: Nativity of the Theotokos—Senior Group
Theme Of Lesson: Nativity of the Theotokos
Sub-Theme Mary’s connection to humanity & God’s love
- Describe the significance of the event of the birth of the Theotokos.
- Contrast the attitude of Mary as the “New Eve” with that of Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
- Read the icon of the feast and explain the narrative details that are similar to the icon of the Nativity of Christ.
the text of the Hymn from the Praises of the Matins Service for the Nativity
of Christ to the Theotokos
- Bible aids
The following website will give you the Apocryphal writing of the noncanonical
James (Protoevangelian) that has the texts used in the feasts for the Theotokos. http://wesley.nnu.edu/noncanon/gospels/gosjames.htm [Sections IV and V for the Nativity of the Theotokos]
- Genesis 3, esp. Genesis 3:15
Liturgy, Feasts, Hymns
Troparion of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Tone Four)
Your Nativity, O Virgin, has proclaimed joy to the whole universe!
The Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, has shone from you, O Theotokos!
By annulling the curse, He bestowed a blessing.
By destroying death, He has granted us eternal life.
Kontakion of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Tone Four)
By your Nativity, O most pure Virgin,
Joachim and Anna are freed from barrenness;
Adam and Eve, from the corruption of death.
And we, your people, freed from the guilt of sin, celebrate and sing to you:
“The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos, the Nourisher of our Life.”
Hymn to the Theotokos
Virginity is foreign to mothers;
childbearing is strange for virgins.
But in you, O Theotokos,
both were accomplished!
For this, all the earthly nations unceasingly magnify you!
- Discuss how Mary’s birth began the events that reversed Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden and why Mary is considered the “New Eve.” A contrast chart on butcher paper is a good group activity.
- Examine closely the Troparion ,the Kontakion, the Hymn to the Virgin Mary, and the Hymn from the Praises for this Feast.
phrases and terms that describe key concepts or theological statements about
- A copy of the two icons of the Nativity will be included, as well as the section from The Icon Book.
Teacher’s Notes & Discussion-Starter Questions:
about this event is mentioned anywhere in the Holy Scriptures. But why should
there be? Is there anything remarkable, anything especially unique about the
normal birth of a child, a birth like any other? And if the Church began to
commemorate the event with a special feast, it was not because the birth was
somehow unique or miraculous or out of the ordinary: but because on the contrary,
the very fact that it is routine discloses something fresh and radiant about
everything we call “routine” and ordinary, it gives new depth
to the “unremarkable” details of human life. What do we see in
the icon of the feast when we look at it with our spiritual eyes? There on
the bed lies a woman, Anna according to Church tradition, who has just given
birth to a daughter. Next to her is the child’s father, Joachim, according
to the same tradition. A few women stand by the bed washing the newborn baby
for the first time. The most routine, unremarkable event. Or is it? Could
it be that the Church is telling us through this icon that every birth, every
entrance of a new human being into the world and life is a miracle of miracles,
a miracle that explodes all routine, for it marks the start of something unending,
the start of a unique unrepeatable human life. The beginning of a new person.
And with each birth, the world is itself in some sense created anew and given
as a gift to this new human being to be his life, his path, his creation.”
pp. 23 – 24, Schmemann.