O ever-virginal little daughter who needed no man to conceive! He who has an eternal Father was borne in the womb by you! O earth-born little daughter who carried the Creator in your God-bearing arms! the ages competed as to which one would be exalted by your birth, but God’s will, which had been determined beforehand, defeated the competition of the ages—God having created the ages [in any case]—and the last became first and were in happy possession of your nativity. Truly you became more precious than the whole of creation. For from you alone the Maker received a share, [that is], the first-fruit of our dough. For his flesh is from your flesh, and his blood is from your blood, and God suckled milk from your breasts, and your lips were united with the lips of God. O incomprehensible and ineffable matters! God of all things, having known in advance your worth, loved you; and because of this love, he predestined you, and “at the end of times” he brought you into being and revealed you as Theotokos, Mother, and Nurse of his own Son and Word. . . .
“A luxuriant vine” has sprouted from Anna and bloomed with a cluster of grapes of sweetness, a drink of nectar for those who dwell on earth which wells up into eternal life. Joachim and Anna have sown in themselves [a source] leading to righteousness and harvested a fruit of life. They have illumined in themselves a light of knowledge and have sought out their Lord; and an offspring of righteousness has come to them. Let the earth and children of Zion take courage! “Rejoice in the Lord your God” since “a wilderness has budded”; a barren woman has born her fruit! Joachim and Anna, like spiritual mountains, “have dropped sweetness.” Be glad, most blessed Anna, for you have born a female [child]. This female [child] will be Mother of God, gateway of light and source of life, and she will do away with the accusation against the female sex. “The rich of the people shall supplicate the person” of this female. Kings of nations will venerate this female, offering gifts. You will lead this female to God, the Universal King, as if “robed in golden-tasselled garments,” which are the well-ordered comeliness of her virtues, and adorned in the grace of the Spirit whose glory is within. For whereas the husband who comes from outside represents the glory of every woman, the glory of the 4eotokos is from within, [since it is] the fruit of her womb.
O desired and thrice-blessed female! “Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” O female, daughter and mother of the King, daughter of King David and Mother of God, the Universal King. O divine, living image in whom God the Creator has rejoiced, possessing a mind which is governed by God and which is devoted to God alone, whose whole aspiration has been directed towards that which alone is desirable and worthy of love and whose anger is directed only against sin and against him who engendered it, [offering] a life that is better than [human] nature! For you did not live for yourself, just as you were not born for your own sake. Hence you lived for God, on whose account you have come into life, in order that you may assist in the salvation of the whole world, [and] in order that the ancient plan of God for the incarnation of the Word and for our deification may be fulfilled through you. [Your] appetite is to feed on the divine words and to be fattened on them, like “a fruitful olive in the house of God,” like a “tree planted by the streams of waters” of the Spirit, like a tree of life, which gave its fruit at the time predetermined by God, [fruit which is] the incarnate God, the eternal life of all things. You draw on every thought that is nourishing and useful for the soul, but you reject every one that is superfluous and harmful for the soul before even tasting it. Your eyes are “continually before the Lord,” seeing eternal and unapproachable light. Your ears hear the divine words and delight in the harp of the Spirit; through them the Word entered that he might become flesh. Your nostrils are charmed with the scent of the Bridegroom’s ointments, who is himself a divine ointment which is willingly poured out to anoint his own humanity, for “Your name is ointment poured out,” says Scripture. Your lips praise the Lord and are attached to his lips. Your tongue and throat discern the words of God and are filled with divine sweetness. Your heart is pure and unblemished, seeing and desiring the unseen God.
A womb in which the Uncontained dwelt and breasts of milk from which God, the little child Jesus, was nourished! Ever-virginal gateway of God! Hands which carried God and knees, a throne that is higher than the cherubim, through which “weak hands and feeble knees” were strengthened! Feet which were guided by the law of God as by a lamp of light, and which run behind him without turning back until they have drawn the beloved One back to the one who loves him. Her whole being is the bridal chamber of the Spirit; her whole being is a city of the living God which “the flowings of the river gladden”; [that is] floods of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. She is “all fair,” entirely the “companion” of God. For she who was raised above the cherubim and the seraphim, as a transcendent being, was called “companion of God.”
O marvel above all marvels! A woman has become higher than the seraphim since God has been seen “made a little less than angels”! Let the most wise Solomon be silent and let him not say, “Here is nothing new under the sun.” O Virgin full of divine grace, holy temple of God which the Spiritual Solomon, Prince of Peace, constructed and inhabited; you are not adorned with gold and lifeless stones, but in place of gold you shine with the Spirit. Instead of precious stones you have Christ, “the pearl above price,” the coal of divinity. Beg that it may touch our lips so that purified, we may praise him together with the Father and the Spirit, crying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts!” one divine nature in three hypostases.
Holy God: who is Father, well pleased in you you and in the accomplishment from you of the mystery which he had determined before the ages. Holy, Strong: the Son of God and Only-begotten God, who has brought you forth today as first-born from a barren mother in order that, since he himself is Only-begotten from the Father and “First-born of all creation,” he might be born from you a virgin mother as only son, “first-born among many brethren,” like us since he partook of flesh and blood from you. But he did not bring you forth from a father or from a mother alone, in order that to the Only-begotten alone should be reserved [the title] of Only-begotten in every way: for he alone is Only-begotten from the Father alone and alone [born] from a mother alone. Holy Immortal: the all-holy Spirit, who with his own divine dew kept you unharmed from the divine fire. For this is what the bush of Moses hinted at in advance.