The sermon for the Day of the Glorious Entry of the Most Holy Virgin into the Temple of St. John of Kronstadt

    Let us faithfully glorify and exalt the One to become the 
    God-bearing Virgin: today she is introduced into the Holy
    of Holies to be brought up to the Lord (Svetilen of the Feast)

Today the Holy Church celebrates the glorious Entry into the Temple of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This event was foreseen and predetermined[1] by God before all the ages: before the creation of the angelic worlds and before the existence of the heaven and earth.

It was foreseen just as the fall of a third of the angelic world, and the fall of the human race, foreseen and allowed by God for as "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18).

Through His endless goodness the God had called, through His Word, from non-existence to existence, the countless luminous angelic minds of different ranks and orders.

He had conferred them with a wondrous, grace-like beauty and immortality.

And there was one of them, superior to all -  Lucifer, who stood out of  all of them having especially great mind and brilliance (as per his given name); and power, and beauty, and  closeness to God.

This Lucifer became reverent about himself and about his own perfections.  Instead of thanking God, from whom he has received it all, he became arrogant, wanting to become equal to God.  He desired to establish his apostate kingdom, dragging behind him a third of angelic world.

His own pride had blinded him: he chose to remain adamant and unrepentant in his own nemesis, together with those persuaded by him. And so the Grace of God left him and all those who have fallen away with him.

And they have wholly turned into anger, into pride, into eternal darkness. They have consumed, within themselves, the engulfing  and tormenting flames, the eternal rebellion. They have declared a war -- to whom?  To the God Himself, with the rest of the faithful and good angels.

And then, when a man was created and subjected to the test of faith and obedience to God, the former Lucifer, having appeared as a serpent to Eve, the first wife, had deceived her and her husband, and made them rebels against the Creator and the Benefactor.

Thus the Fall of the entire human race took place through the Forefathers.

The God is true to Himself and dwells eternally in His Holiness, Truth and Mercy, while the creation has willfully turned from innocent, godlike and blissful state into unfaithful and wicked. It had fallen away from Him to subject itself to the righteous wrath of God, to the curse and to death.

The man was miserably robbed by serpent, deprived of God-likeness, left with some remnants of the image of God, with even those were disfigured and wretched. Thus he became a slave of the devil and was subjected to all kinds of sinful corruption, and especially idolatry.

However the layers of future generations of the fallen human kind were concealing immense treasures such as Enoch, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, David, and, among them, the greatest - the Virgin Mary. These gems were foreseen by God before all the ages; they were elected by Him for the fulfillment of His Divine intensions: for the Salvation of the human kind.

And so, what does the goodness of God undertake for the salvation of the perishing mankind?

One of the Persons of the Holy Trinity has wished to become a man, to fulfill all the obedience for the disobedience of Adam and Eve and of all of the mankind, and to fulfill the whole Truth of God.  He has wished to take upon Himself the mankind's sins, the curse and the death in order to trample down death by His God-man's death, to overcome its sting, to Rise from the dead and to give the Resurrection and Life Eternal to all. O Lord, our Savior, how wonderful are Thy works! The bounty of your love to people is inexhaustible!

And so in the pre-eternal Council of God, the Son of God was determined to become a man, not ceasing to be God; and to execute His Father's will for the Salvation of the human race. But who could serve such an incarnation? All the people were corrupt, and the All-Righteous could not have been born from the sinners, "for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14).

The incarnation is accomplished supernaturally, for where the God desires, the law of nature is abolished. At the will of God the Father, for the incarnation of the Son of God, a pure Virgin is chosen, pre-cleansed by the Holy Spirit, and brought up from infancy in the shrine. Upon the upbringing in the Holy of Holies of the Temple, and upon the coming of age, a heavenly bearer of gospel, St. Archangel is sent to her -  to declare to Her about conceiving, in Her virgin womb, from the Holy Spirit of God - of the Son of God. The Holy Virgin has faithfully and obediently received the gospel, and the Son of God was conceived in Her. Upon the completion of the time of gestation, the Divine Child was born, subject to the natural law of human maturing.

Oh, what a great Miracle of miracles of God, the most incomprehensible of all, the Saving, and at the same time awe-provoking Holy Incarnation of God- the Word, by His Word, who to this day is creating the human race.

It is for that reason that the pure Virgin was chosen out of all the generations; was solemnly introduced into the Temple as a three-year-old girl, and was brought up in it by the Holy Spirit into the Mother and the Abode of the Logos.

Rejoice, the faithful Christian family for such a lenience of God to the fallen human race. Celebrate with pure heart the Entry of the Most Holy Virgin into the Temple; praise and exalt, with your mouth and your heart, the Mother of God, the Intercessor of Faithful Christians and our Mediator before her Son and God.

Be faithful to the Church of God and be spiritually educated in the Temple of God, for the Kingdom of Heaven. Hate the sin, which was, and is, the cause of temporal and eternal perdition; and do righteousness "perfecting holiness in the fear of God". (2 Corinthians 7: 1).  Amen.

[1] - For He saw all things before they were, holding them timelessly in His thoughts; and each one conformably to His voluntary and timeless thought, which constitutes predetermination and image and pattern, comes into existence at the predetermined time.  [St. John Damascene "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" BOOK I CHAPTER IX "Concerning what is affirmed about God."]. 

This is not about “an unconditional predestination, as Calvinists teach, but about predestination based on the omniscience of God. This does not mean that God, ignoring the will of people, Had predetermined some to Salvation, and others to destruction, but that God, as an omniscient knows who will use his free will for good, and who will use it for evil, and depending on this, predetermines the eternal fate of each one.” (Archbishop Averky Taushev - Guide to the study of the Holy Scripture of the New Testament - the Apostle)