I wholeheartedly congratulate you, dear brothers and sisters, on the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos – the first of the Twelve Great Feasts in the new church year!

Feasts in honour of the Most Holy Theotokos sparkle with special joy. In them, the joy that we are loved by God is combined with the joy that we ourselves can respond to His love with all sincerity.

An ideal example and unattainable height of such divine-human relations is the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her love for the Creator was so holy, great, unconditional and selfless. Her soul was so reverent, pure and beautiful that only She could become the Mother of God.

Today we are celebrating Her Birthday.

She came to this world as a gift from God to righteous elderly parents – Saints Joachim and Anne – who had already despaired of ever having children. She was born as the crown of the spiritual labours of many generations: men and women, saints and sinners – all those who dedicated themselves to the centuries-old struggle for the happiness of being free from the bondage of sin and death.

Thus, purifying generation after generation, people presented God their reciprocal gift – the One Who naturally and voluntarily chooses goodness and light, purity and loyalty to the Divine plan about humans.

Today we remember the Most Holy Theotokos as the embodiment of the ideal to which each of us is called – complete trust in God, humility before His Wise Will and striving to correspond to it always and in everything.

The Blessed Virgin Mary became higher than all the angels. Being forever next to Her Heavenly Son, She became the Intercessor of all those who believed in Him, who took up their cross and decided to follow in His footsteps.

The birthday of the Mother of God is a bright feast for entire humankind that marked the beginning of overcoming the abyss between God and us, because She was born who could unite Heaven and earth through Herself, became the temple of the Incarnation, became the Door leading to Paradise.

On this day, let us glorify the Queen of Heaven, who took our Motherland into Her abode, covering it with Her holy omophorion, showing to this day a great many miracles of Her care for it. Let us be happy for ourselves, for all people – near and far. And most importantly, let us thank God for everything, God who realized our salvation according to His Will from the beginning of time. Amen!