The Presentation of The Mother of God in The Temple
Early references to this event are found in The Apocryphal Writing of St. James. Accounts of this event passed on through oral tradition eventually evolved into hymns of the church that chronicles this event in the present. Early church tradition held that Joachim and Anna, while praying for help in overcoming their inability to conceive a child, vowed to God that if they were blessed with a child, they would dedicated the child to God. Anna then miraculously conceived and bore a child, and this child was Mary, The Mother of God. When Mary was three years old, Joachim and Anna; accompanied by relatives and friends, took Mary to the temple in order to fulfill their promise to God. They were greeted by Zachariah, The High Priest, and future father of John The Forerunner. While in the temple, The Mother of God paused at the foot of a staircase leading up to a screen. This screen concealed The Holy of Holies, the most sacred element of the temple and an area in which only the High Priest was allowed to enter one time a year. Mary climbed these fifteen stairs and entered into The Holy of Holies. Because the Ark of The Covenant was contained behind the Holy of Holies, The Ark became a symbol associated with The Mother of God and She is referred to as "The Living Ark". At the top of The Icon of The Mother of God in The Temple, The Virgin Mary is seen sitting on the top step of the staircase, inside the Holy of Holies. An angel feeds Mary Heavenly Bread. The Feast Day of The Mother of God in The Temple is celebrated on November the twenty-first.