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Sermon on the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

The feast of the Presentation of the Virgin in the temple (November 21st) was first celebrated in Syria towards the end of the 6th century, inspired by apocryphal gospels that tell of how the parents of the Virgin Mary took her to the Temple when she was three years old, and how she remained there until she was betrothed to Joseph.

While the historical accuracy of the Presentation story is debatable, the Church continues to celebrate the feast for its profound eternal significance. By entering the Temple so that she might become 'the living temple' in which Jesus comes to dwell, the Theotokos embodies a profound shift from the way of old temple to the way of the new.

In the ancient world, a temple was a physical place in which a deity was said to live. People did not actually worship inside ancient temples; rather, a statue of the god or goddess occupied most of the space, while the worshippers gathered outside, and the consecrated religious professionals brought and offered s…

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