On the evening of the 16th of November 2020, St John the Baptist Parish in Croydon Park hosted its regular ‘monthly enlightenment’ with special guest Merna Nino. Merna gave a truly insightful and in-depth talk on one of the upcoming major feasts of the Church, the Entrance (or Presentation) of the Theotokos to the Temple. We celebrate this feast every year on the 21st of November.

Merna, with her great enthusiasm for the topic at hand, began the session by offering a few general points about the Feast of the Entrance, including an introduction of the main persons involved in the story, including Joachim and Anna; the Parents of the Theotokos, Mary; who at a young age is presented and Zachariah; a Priest of the Temple and Father of St John the Baptist. She then began to systematically unpack one of her main arguments, namely, that the Theotokos became the “living temple”. She did this by referencing numerous Old Testament Scriptures to draw a comparison of the physical Jewish Temple of old, then extracted teaching from the hymnography of the Church, chanted during the Vespers, Matins and Divine Liturgy of the Feast which supports the notion that this event was a “prelude of God’s goodwill” and finally applied this teaching to all that were in the room, drawing from teachings of the Fathers, who encourage all Christian believers to become like the Theotokos, living temples of the Lord.

Thank you Merna for your hard work and effort in preparing this talk, it spurred much thought and movement among the people present on the evening. We now feel more enabled and look forward to celebrating the Feast as one body.