My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE PREACHING OF THE PROPHETS HAS REACHED ITS FULFILLMENT
Saint Andrew of Crete comments, "Of Thee, O Mary, all interpreters of the Spirit sang." Nowhere in the divinely inspired Scripture can one look without seeing some allusion to her. "Rejoice, Mediatress of the Law and of grace, seal of the Old and New Testaments, clear fulfillment of the whole of prophecy, of the Truth of Holy Scripture inspired by God, the Living and Most Pure Book of God and the Logos/Word in which, without voice or writing, the Writer Himself, God and Logos/Word, is everyday read" (Saint Andrew of Crete, Homily IV). Saint Gregory Palamas thought that "all divinely inspired Scripture was written because of the Virgin who brought forth God Incarnate (Saint Gregory Palamas (+ 1296-1359), Archbishop of Thessaloniki (1347).
Saint John of Damascus interprets the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-8) as an image of the virgin birth when he chants: "Plainly foreshadowed by the burning bush that was not consumed (Exodus 3:2), a hallowed womb has borne the Logos/Word. God is mingled with the form of mortal men, and so looses the unhappy womb of Eve from the bitter curse of old (Genesis 3:16)" (Orthros (Matins) Canon of Nativity, Ode One, Mode One, by St. John of Damascus). And, "That which was revealed to Moses in the bush, we see accomplished here in a strange manner. The Virgin bore Fire within her, yet was not consumed, when she gave birth to the Benefactor Who brings us Light. (January 6th, Orthros (Matins) Canon of Theophany, Ode Nine, Mode two).
Saint Andrew of Crete also chants elsewhere that "as Thou art one of the Trinity, Thou wast seen to become flesh, not changing Thine essence, O Lord. Neither didst Thou burn the incorrupt womb of her that bore Thee. since Thou art wholly God and fire" (Orthros (Matins) Canon of Wednesday of Mid-Pentecost, Ode three, Mode Plagal Four).
The burning bush was traditionally interpreted as a type of the Virgin. Saint Gregory of Nyssa is insistent on the virginitas in partu. From the image of the burning bush seen by Moses in Sinai, "We also learn the mystery of the Virgin: the Light of Divinity, which through birth shone from her into human life, did not wither the flower of her virginity, just as the burning bush was not consumed" (Saint Gregory of Nyssa (+ 335-394 A.D.), The Life of Moses, p. 59 P.G. 46:1136B).
Saint IIdelphonsus, Archbishop of Toledo, wrote that "the Holy Spirit heated, inflamed, and melted Mary with love, as fire does iron; so that the flame of the holy spirit was seen and nothing was felt by the fire of the love of God" (+607-667 A.D.) cited in J.J. Adels' The Wisdom of the Saints, p. 20).
Saint Joseph the Hymnographer, borrowing from the Book of Numbers (Old Testament) chants: Now is Christ born of Jacob, so Balaam said (Numbers 24:17). And He shall rule over nations, and His Kingdom shall be exalted in grace and shall remain perpetually" (Canon of Forefeast of Nativity, Ode Five, Mode Two, by Saint Joseph the Hymnographer (+ 816-886 A.D.). Therefore, that Thou mightiest fill all things with Thy glory, Thou hast bowed the heavens and come down (Psalm 17:9) till they touched the earth. For as rain upon the fleece (Judg. 6:36-38), has Thou descended into a virgin womb, from which Thou now camest forth to be born in two natures, O God-Man" (Canon of Forefeast, Ode One, Mode Plagal Two).
The poet and brother of Saint John Damascus, hymnographer Saint Kosmas (7th Century) Bishop of Maiouma, writes: "As dew upon the fleece hast Thou descended into the womb of the Virgin, O Christ, and as drops of rain that fall upon the earth. Ethiopia and Tarshish and the isles of Arabia, the king of Saba, of the Medes and all the earth, fell down before Thee, O Savior" (Orthros (Matins) Canon, Ode Four, Mode One, by Saint Kosmas).
Saint Romanos in the Orthros (Matins) service writes: "Bethlehem has opened Eden; come, and let us take possession of the Paradise that is within the cave. There the unwatered Root has appeared and flowers forth forgiveness; there is found the undug Well, when David of old yearned to drink (2 Kings (2 Samuel) 23:15). There the Virgin has borne a Babe, and cause the thirst of Adam and David to cease straightway. Therefore, let us hasten to this place where now a young Child is born, the Pre-Eternal God" (Eirmos of Canon of Forefeast, Ode Five, Mode Plagal Two).
THE PROPHECY OF ISAIAH
"Esaias (Isaiha), as he watched by night, beheld the Light that knows no evening, the Light of Thy Theophany, O Christ, that came to pass from tender love for us; and he cries aloud: 'Behold, the Virgin shall conceive in the womb' (Isaiah 7:14). And shall bear the incarnate Logos/Word, and all those on earth shall rejoice exceedingly" (Eirmos of Canon of Forefeast, Ode Five, Mode Plagal Two). Saint Kosmas the Poet also chants of this Virgin: "Lo, the Virgin, as it was said in day of old (Isaiah 7:14), has conceived in her womb and brought forth God made Man; and she has remained a virgin. Reconciled to God through her, let us sinners sing her praises, for she is verily the Theotokos" (Orthros [Matins] Canon of Nativity, Ode Five, Mode One.)
MARY THE PROPHETESS
In another prophecy, Isaiah sates: "And I went in to the Prophetess and she conceived, and bore a son. And the Lord said to me, 'Call His name, "Spoil quickly, plunder speedily." For before the Child shall know His father or His mother, He shall take the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria before the king of the Assyrians" (Isaiah 8:3, 41). The Persian sage, monk and bishop, Saint Aphrata (4th century), speaks of Mary as a "prophetess," because of the Magnificat (St. Luke 1:46-55) that she had uttered" (Saint Basil the Great, P.G. 30:464A-465B, 477B). [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -- Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Divine Birth,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God