A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
The Presentation of the Theotokos (The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary). One of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s Twelve Great Feasts (Δωδεκάορτον). Together with Pascha (Easter), these are the most significant dates on the Orthodox liturgical calendar, which begins with the month of September. Eight of the Great Feasts are in honour of Jesus Christ, whilst the other four are dedicated to the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary), who as a child was taken into the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by her parents, Joachim and Anna. They had been childless and she was consecrated to God in thanksgiving for the gift of a daughter after they had received a heavenly message that they would have a child. The Theotokos was solemnly received by the temple community headed by the priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and lived and served as a Temple virgin. She was educated in preparation for her rôle as Mother of God and to become the Holy of Holies of God, the living sanctuary and temple of the Divine Child who was to be born into her after she was betrothed to St Joseph. The Church sees this feast as marking the end of the dwelling place of God being the Temple in Jerusalem. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, this is one of the days, along with 15 August, when women named Mary (Μαρία, Maria) and Despoina (Δέσποινα, Mariam, Virgin Mary) celebrate their name day. The feast is celebrated in Catholic and some Anglo-Catholic Churches as the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Image: youtube.com.
Prayer Today is the preview of the good will of God, of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. The Virgin appears in the Temple of God, the house of the Lord, in anticipation of the proclaiming of Christ to all. Let us therefore sing to her: Rejoice, O Divine fulfilment of the Creator’s dispensation. Amen
Totensonntag (Sunday of the Dead, Totenfest). Lutheran Northern German and Netherland Protestant religious holiday observed by the Lutheran and Reformed Church for the Remembrance of the Faithful Departed, when all the deceased are honoured and remembered in church services with prayers for the dead, votive candles and visits to cemeteries and graveyards. Originally, it was observed by the Lutheran churches under Prussian rule but eventually other Lutheran churches followed suit. In cities such as Berlin, it replaces the 2 November All Souls’ Day and is also referred to as Ewigkeitssontag (Eternity Sunday). It has the status of a protected holiday in all Länder (States) of Germany and the holiday laws of almost all federal states, Hamburg being an exception, have special provisions that classify the Sunday of the Dead either as a silent or memorial day. During silent days, music is forbidden in public venues or can only be played at certain hours. As it is observed only by Lutheran denominations and Catholics in Germany honour the deceased on All Souls’ Day, about one-third of the total population being Catholic and one-third Protestant, both holidays are observed. This is the last Sunday before the 28 November to 24 December Advent (arrival) season of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, looking forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time, and for Lutherans a time of repentance. Germany also has a separate Volkstrauertag (Memorial Day) holiday two Sundays before the first day of Advent, 14 November this year, honouring those lost in armed conflict. Image: timebulletin.com.
Błogosławiona Maria Franciszka Siedliska (Blessed Mother Frances Siedliska, Maria of Jesus the Good Shepherd) (1842-1902). Feast Day commemorating the death of the Jewish Polish Roman Catholic, a professed religious and the founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. As a child, she was indifferent to her faith, as was her family, but a local priest converted her and she became aware of a call to the religious life that her parents opposed. The 1870 death of her father enabled her to offer herself to God, pursue her vocation and in 1873 visit the Pope in Rome to found a religious congregation that was established during Advent 1875. She expanded her congregation from Rome to her native Poland and other countries, including Great Britain, France and the USA, where she visited during extensive travels. Mother Frances died in Rome on 21 November 1902. She was declared a Servant of God for having led a life of heroic virtue and is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. Patron of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and Polish missionaries. Image: facebook.com.