The Entry Into the Church of the Most Holy Virgin Mary (The Entry)
The Presentation in the Temple of our Most Holy Lady, Mother of God
and Ever-Virgin Mary s a feast celebrated by Eastern Catholic, Orthodox Churches, and Roman Catholic, alike.
According to the Gospel of James (Infancy Narrative), Mary's childless parents Joachim and Anne, received a message from the Heavens that they would indeed have a child. They were thrilled, and as a thank you to God, they took Mary when she was still a child to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God. She remained in the Temple until puberty, and after which she was returned to her distant relative, eighty-year-old Joseph, who was assigned as her guardian. In later accounts of this story, it is believed that Mary was taken to the temple at about the age of three as a fulfillment of a vow. Tradition held that she was to remain there to be educated as a preparation for her role as Mother of God.
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a devout belief, but it is not a defined matter of faith.
The Feast originated as a form of dedication, to the Basilica of Saint Mary the New, which was built in 543 by the Byzantines under the Emperor Justinian I near the ruined Temple in Jerusalem. However, not long after this, the basilica was destroyed by the Sassanid Persians under Khosrau II after the Siege of Jerusalem in 614. Despite this event, the Feast continued to be celebrated throughout the East, and was celebrated in the monasteries of Southern Italy by the 9th Century.
In Eastern Orthodox Churches, this event is celebrated on November 21 as one of the twelve Great Feasts. November 21 falls on December 4 of the modern Gregorian Calendar. The first documented celebration of the feast is the mention of the "Entry of the All-Holy Theotokos [into the temple]" in the Menologion of Basil II, which was an 11th century menology of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) emperor Basil II. This feast always falls during the Nativity Fast in the Orthodox Christian Church.
On the day of the feast, the fasting rules are less strict. Fish, wine and oil are permitted for consumption. November 21 is also a "Pro Orantibus" Day, a day of prayer for the cloistered religious, or nuns, totally dedicated to God in prayer, silence, and concealment.
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
is observed on December 4 / November 21 (old)