The Nativity of Christ

Detail of a Sinai icon painted in miniature scale in the first half of the twelfth century.

Ἀπεγράφετο ποτέ, σὺν τῷ πρεσβύτῃ Ἰωσήφ, ὡς ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυΐδ, ἐν Βηθλεὲμ ἡ Μαριάμ, κυοφοροῦσα τὴν ἄσπορον κυοφορίαν. Ἐπέστη δὲ καιρὸς ὁ τῆς γεννήσεως, καὶ τόπος ἦν οὐδεὶς τῷ καταλύματι· ἀλλ’ ὡς τερπνὸν παλάτιον, τὸ Σπήλαιον τῇ Βασιλίδι ἐδείκνυτο. Χριστὸς γεννᾶται, τὴν πρὶν πεσοῦσαν, ἀναστήσων εἰκόνα.

Once with Joseph the ancient, as of the seed of David, was Mary enrolded in Bethlehem, bearing in her womb her babe, not of seed; then came the time of her bringing forth; and there was no room in the inn: but as a delightsome palace for the Queen did the cave become. Christ is born, to raise the image that was formerly fallen.

Translated by J N W B Robertson, 1894

6 comments to The Nativity of Christ

  • Seraphim

    A blessed feast of the Nativity to you and the members of your community. Again many thanks for the splendid pics and commentary on this blog!

  • Dominique Baron

    Dear Father.
    Thank you for this nice image of the Nativity. As it is a detail, I believe it belongs to a larger icon representing the 12 Great Feast ? There is several icons of this type in the Holy monastery, which one is it ? Thank you for all the joy you bring with your blog Dear Father.

    • Father Justin

      We do have icons of the Twelve Great Feasts. This is only an icon of the Nativity, but it is complex, with many depictions in layer upon layer. There is the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child within the cave, the star above, wise men travelling towards Bethlehem, offering their gifts, and departing on the opposite side. We have the shepherds, the bathing of the Child, the Angel appearing to Joseph in a dream, the flight into Egypt, and the massacre of the Innocents. The panel is small, and each depiction has been executed in a miniature scale that makes the icon even more astonishing.

  • Dominique Baron

    Dear Father.
    The monastery is so rich in ancient icons that it is difficult to recognize them. Thank you Father for giving me specifics about this venerable icon I did not know.

  • Maria

    I am thankful to you !!
    I find this icon very sentimental

  • Vera Alex

    Thank you Father Justin for the wonderful opportunity to see this icon.
    Thank you for telling me. We need your words!

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