December 9:

The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

Reading from the Synaxarion:

According to the ancient tradition of the Church, since Saint Anna, the Ancestor of God, was barren, she and her husband Joachim remained without children until old age. Therefore, sorrowing over their childlessness, they besought God with a promise that, if He were to grant them the fruit of the womb, they would offer their offspring to Him as a gift. And God, hearkening to their supplication, informed them through an Angel concerning the birth of the Virgin. And thus, through God's promise, Anna conceived according to the laws of nature, and was deemed worthy to become the mother of the Mother of our Lord (see also Sept. 8).

The Consecration of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) in the Holy City of Jerusalem

Reading from the Synaxarion:

The majestic Church of the Resurrection, built by Saint Constantine the Great and his mother Helen, was consecrated in the year 336. In the year 614, this edifice was destroyed by the Persians, who set fire to it. Modestus, the Abbot of the Monastery of Saint Theodosius, and later Patriarch of Jerusalem, rebuilt the church in 626 and had it reconsecrated. In 637, Jerusalem fell to the Moslems; however, the holy shrines were left intact. But in 934, on the Sunday of Pascha, the Saracens set fire to part of this church. Again in 969, the Moslems set fire to the dome of the church, plundered all the sacred objects that were found therein, and surrendered John IV, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to the flames. In 1010, the Moslems, under Hakim the Mad, Caliph of Egypt, destroyed the church to its foundations, but in 1028, by the mediation of Emperor Romanus III Argyrus of Constantinople, the church began to be rebuilt on a more modest scale. This third edifice was completed and recon
secrated in 1048. In 1099, the crusaders took Jerusalem and ruled there for eighty-eight years, and during this time they made certain changes in the structure, �which, for the most part, has remained unaltered ever since (See also Sept. 13).

Orthros Gospel Reading

The reading is from Luke 24:13-35

At that time, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. More
over, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see." And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.