Synaxarion of the Nativity of the Theotokos
On the eighth of September, we commemorate the Birth of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary.
Anna, all mothers truly you surpassed,
Until your daughter should become your Mother.
Anna brought into the light on the eighth of this month God’s own Mother.
Our Lady the Theotokos was a descendant through her father Joachim of the royal tribe of David. Because a child was not born to him, and he was reproached for this, for this reason he did not cease offering to God a double portion of his gifts, being that he was wealthy and a lover of God. Her mother Anna, who also was a descendant of the royal tribe of David, was more noble than anyone else in both her body and her soul.
Because they both grieved over the reproach of childlessness, Joachim went to a mountain, and Anna went into the garden. And both supplicated God with tears to grant them the fruit of the womb. For this they were granted what they longed for, and gave birth to Mary the Theotokos, who is more saintly than all the saints. And so they bore an incomparable and most-excellent beautiful child, for she exceeded all the beautiful children of humanity. Truly they were blessed for their virtuous and God-loving judgment, rather they became more blessed by the incomparable grace and divine childbirth of which they were made worthy. For by their daughter, namely the Ever-virgin Mary, the birth of the Son of God took place.
Now in what manner Anna was of the royal tribe of David, we will now reveal briefly. Mathan was of the twenty-third generation after David (or more precisely the twenty-seventh according to the genealogy of the Evangelist Matthew). He took a wife named Maria who was of the tribe of Judah, and gave birth to a son named Jacob, the father of Joseph the Betrothed, and three daughters: Maria, Sobe and Anna. Maria gave birth to Salome the midwife, Sobe gave birth to Elizabeth, and Anna gave birth to the Theotokos. Thus Salome, Elizabeth and the Theotokos are grandchildren of Mathan and his wife Maria, and first cousins between themselves.*
* Therefore, since the Theotokos gave birth to the Lord, and from Elizabeth was born the Forerunner, they are second cousins. And Elizabeth and Salome were nieces of Anna, being the daughters of her sisters, namely Maria and Sobe. It should also be noted that Joseph the Betrothed was first cousins with the Theotokos, though he was much older.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Nativity, O Mother of God, has brought joy to all the world; for from thee arose the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, Who, having dissolved the curse, has given His blessing, and having abolished death, has granted us life eternal.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Joachim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness, and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death, O Immaculate One, by thy holy nativity. And thy people, redeemed from the liability of our offences, celebrate thy birth by crying to thee: The barren woman gives birth to the Mother of God and the nurse of our life.
We magnify thee, most holy Virgin, and honour thy holy Parents, and glorify thy most glorious Nativity.
Irmos of Ode 9, with Refrain
Magnify, my soul, the most glorious Birth of the Mother of God. Wonderful is a virgin-mother, and strange a maiden giving birth; but yet in thee, O Mother of God, were both fulfilled. Therefore we all of earthly race cease not to magnify thee.