Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear; and forget your own people and your father’s house. And the king shall greatly desire your beauty, for he himself is your Lord, and you shall worship him. And him shall the daughters of Tyre worship with gifts; the rich among the people shall entreat your countenance (τὸ πρόσωπόν σου λιτανεύσουσιν, лицу твоему помолятся). All the glory of the daughter of the king is within, with goldfringed garments is she arrayed, adorned in varied colors… I shall commemorate your name in every generation and generation.“ (Ps 44: 9-12, 16, Septuagint-translation)

Today, as those of us on the Older Calendar continue to celebrate the Afterfeast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, our Church showers praise, gratitude and love upon “the daughter of the king.“ She did, indeed, “incline her ear“ to God’s call from an early age, growing up not in “her father’s house“ but in the Temple, and became “arrayed“ with a unique beauty “within.“ It wasn’t any bland or one-dimensional kind of beauty, but one “adorned in varied colors.“ Thus “in every generation“ we “entreat her countenance“ in the many and varied holy icons of the Mother of God.

Thank you, most-holy Mother of God, for not abandoning us in your Dormition, and blessing us daily with your loving countenance. I’m also grateful today, because September 2 is the day I entered the convent, exactly 30 years ago. My monastic journey has not been a conventional one, but you never abandoned me. Today I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the son of her womb? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Is 49: 15)