Commemorated on December 9th
Conception of St Anna, the Mother of the Theotokos.
According to the ancient tradition of the Church, since St Anna, the Ancestor of Christ, was barren, she and her husband Joachim remained without children until old age. Therefore, sorrowing over their childlessness, they besought God with a promise that, if He were to grant them the fruit of the womb, they would offer their offspring to Him as a gift. God, hearkening to their supplication, informed them through an Angel concerning the birth of the Virgin. Thus, through God's promise, Anna conceived according to the laws of nature, and was deemed worthy to become the mother of the mother of our Lord (see also September 8).
The majestic Church of the Resurrection, built by St Constantine the Great and his mother Helen, was consecrated in the year 336 AD. In the year 614 AD, the Persians, who set fire to it, destroyed this edifice. Modestus, the Abbot of the Monastery of St Theodosius, and later Patriarch of Jerusalem, rebuilt the church in 626 AD and had it reconsecrated. In 637 AD, Jerusalem fell to the Moslems; however, the holy shrines were left intact. However, in 934 AD, on the Sunday of Pascha, the Saracens set fire to part of this church. Again in 969 AD, the Moslems set fire to the dome of the church, plundered all the sacred objects that were found therein, and surrendered John IV, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to the flames. In 1010 AD, the Moslems, under Hakim the Mad, Caliph of Egypt, destroyed the church to its foundations, but in 1028 AD, by the mediation of Emperor Romanus III Argyrus of Constantinople, the church began to be rebuilt on a more modest scale. This third edifice was completed and reconsecrated in 1048 AD. In 1099 AD, the crusaders took Jerusalem and ruled there for 88 years, and during this time they made certain changes in the structure, which, for the most part, has remained unaltered ever since.
Dismissal Hymn of the Saint
Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed; for God hearkened to Joachim and Anna. Though it was beyond hope, He clearly promised them that they should bear a divine child, from whom was born the Uncircumscribable One Himself Who became a mortal, and through an Angel commanded them to cry unto her: Rejoice, you who are full of grace; the Lord is with you.
Dismissal Hymn of the Consecration
You have shown the earthly beauty of the holy tabernacle of Your glory to be like unto the splendour of the heavenly firmament, O Lord. Strengthen it for ever and ever, and accept our prayers which we unceasingly offer therein unto You, through the Theotokos, O You Who are the Life and Resurrection of all.
Kontakion of the Saint
On this day You have appeared
All the world celebrates Anna's conception on this day with festive joy, because it came to pass through God; for by divine grace she has conceived her that beyond words conceives the Word of God.
Kontakion of the Consecration
Renew the consecration and enlightenment of the Spirit in the hearts of them that faithfully celebrate the consecration of You house and temple which, according to Your good pleasure, was built in You Divine Name, O You Who alone are glorified in the Saints.