Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear, forget your people and your father’s house. So shall the king desire your beauty; for he is your lord, and you must worship him….All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters; her raiment is threaded with spun gold. In embroidered apparel she is borne in to the king; behind her the virgins of her train are brought to you. They are borne in with gladness and joy; they enter the palace of the king.The place of your fathers your sons shall have; you shall make them princes through all the land. I will make your name memorable through all generations; therefore shall nations praise you forever and ever.Ps 45:11-18, a prophecy of Mary’s entranceOn November 21, the feast of the entrance of the Theotokos into the Jerusalem Temple is celebrated. She is escorted by her parents, Joachim and Anne, to be raised among the virgins in service to the Lord. This was a rather common occurrence in those days. Many parents brought their children, especially the first born, to the temple to introduce them to God.
On this day, however, the child was led to the “Holy of Holies.” This was one of the Temple’s three main courts, the other two being the court of the people and the court of the priests. The High Priest alone was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, the Temple’s mystical inner chamber, once a year. Yet according to tradition, Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, receives Mary, takes her by the hand, and guides her to the most sacred part of the Temple.Thus Mary herself is to become the living sanctuary of Jesus, as she would bear Him in her stainless womb. Mary enters the Temple to prepare herself to carry the body of Christ. She, herself, is the Temple of the Living God. Mary is the “Heavenly Tabernacle” according to the feast’s Kontakion. The Word of God becomes flesh in her womb and dwells among us. To bring us to salvation, God assumed human form, which was achieved through the Virgin Mary. Believers consequently proclaim, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”This feast celebrates that we, too, are Temples of God. Each individual is the Lord’s house. He lives and dwells in and among us. “…For we are the temple of the living God; as God said: ‘I will live with them and move among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.’” (II Corinthians 6: 16)The scene found on the icon takes place in the inner court of the Temple. Joachim and Anne escort the child, Mary, to the steps, where Zacharias stands. Mary stretches her hand to the priest, who reaches to receive it and guide her to the Holy of Holies. She is reflected as a child only in stature, as she has a profound wisdom and purity. The figures of the high priest and the holy family are at the forefront of the image, as the presentation to the Temple is the main event. In some icons of the Entrance of the Theotokos, the Virgin Mary is portrayed in the upper left corner, seated in the Temple’s Holy of Holies, but this is not seen in the image above. In the background we see the other Temple buildings.Today is the preview of the good will of God, of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. The Virgin appears in the temple of God, in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. Let us rejoice and sing to her: Rejoice, 0 Divine Fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation. (Troparion)The All-pure Temple of the Saviour, the precious Bridal Chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of the glory of God, is led today into the house of the Lord, and with her she brings the grace of the divine Spirit. Of her God’s angels sing in praise: “She is indeed the heavenly Tabernacle.” (Kontakion)https://www.msu.edu/~rabbatjo/entrancetemple.htm