Excerpt from the Prologue of Ohrid by Saint Nicholaj Velimirovic; Published by Sebastian Press; Copyright Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western Australia; With the Blessing of His Grace MAXIM Bishop of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church
The Holy Virgin Mary was born of aged parents, Joachim and Anna. Her father was of the lineage of David, and her mother of the lineage of Aaron. Thus, she was of royal birth by her father, and of priestly birth by her mother. In this, she foreshadowed Him Who would be born of her as King and High Priest. Her parents were quite old and had no children because of this they were ashamed before men and humble before God. In their humility they prayed to God with tears, to bring them joy in their old age by giving them a child, as He had once given joy to the aged Abraham and his wife Sarah by giving them Isaac.
God gave them just one daughter, and she would later give them just one grand-son - but what a daughter and what a Grandson!
The Almighty and All-seeing God rewarded them with a joy that surpassed all their expectations and all their most beautiful dreams. For He gave them not just a daughter, but the Mother of God. He illumined them not only with temporal joy, but with eternal as well. God gave them just one daughter, and she would later give them just one grand-son — but what a daughter and what a Grandson! Mary, Full of grace, Blessed among women, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Altar of the Living God, the Table of the Heavenly Bread, the Ark of God’s Holiness, the Tree of Sweetest Fruit, the Glory of the race of man, the praise of womanhood, the Fount of virginity and purity — this was the daughter given by God to Joachim and Anna. She was born in Nazareth, and at the age of three, was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem. In her young womanhood she returned again to Nazareth, and shortly thereafter heard the Annunciation of the Holy Archangel Gabriel concerning the birth of the Son of God, the Savior of the world, from her most pure virgin body.
Hymn of Praise
O greatly desired and long awaited one, O virgin, thou hast been obtained from the Lord with tears! A bodily temple of the Most-holy Spirit shalt thou become, And shalt be called Mother of the Eternal Word.
The Burning Bush the called thee. For thou wilt receive within thyself the divine fire; Ablaze with fire but not consumed, Thou shalt bear the Golden Fruit and offer it to theworld
Thou shalt be the Bearer of Him Who bears the heavens, To Whom all of heaven offers up praise! The Miracle of miracles shall come to pass within thee, For thou shalt bear heaven, thou who art “more spacious than the heavens!”
Thou are more precious to us, O Virgin, than precious stones, For thou art the source of salvation for mankind. For this, may the entire universe glorify thee, O Most Holy Virgin, O white Turtledove!
The King of Heaven shall desire to enter the world, And shall pass through thee, O Beautiful Gate! O Virgin, when thou dost become woman thou shalt bear Christ for us; From thy body, the Sun shall blaze forth.