Entrance of the Theotokos Nov 21/ Dec 4

Today-s readings, followed by a few pastoral & personal thoughts.

Ezekiel 43:27-44:4  27 And when these days are expired, it shall be,
that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your
burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will
accept you, saith the Lord GOD. 1 Then he brought me back the way of the
gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was
shut. 2 Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall
not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the
God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. 3 It
is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before
the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall
go out by the way of the same. 4 Then brought he me the way of the north
gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD
filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face.

This gate is understood by the church to refer to none other than the
Holy Theotokos. Her birth-giving was unique among all of mankind, since
she bore the ?prince¦, and there would never be another such birth, thus
the gate was shut. The closed gate also references her ever-virginity;
after the birth of Jesus, she has no more children, and did not even
have carnal relations with Joseph.  

The gate faced east because Christ, referred to here as the ?LORD, the
God of Israel¦ is the ?dayspring from the East¦. This is the direction
that represents holiness; to this day we situate our altar tables so
that when the priest stands before it he faces to the East, and it is
the custom to, if it is possible, to have our icon corners face to the
East. Our dead are also buried such that they face east, that is, so
that if they were to stand up, they would be facing east. In the Second
coming, Christ will come from the East. 

Priest Seraphim Nov 4/17 2008.                                          
                                                   St Nicholas Russian
Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas 



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