Today’s Vespers – 1st reading is Composite 17 – Exodus 40
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “On the first day of the first month you shall set up the Tabernacle of the Testimony, and you shall put in it the Ark and cover it with the veil. You shall bring in the table and the lampstand; and you shall set there a golden altar to burn incense before the Ark of the Testimony. And you shall put a covering on the door of the tabernacle of the Testimony. “Then you shall take the oil of anointing and anoint the Tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its vessels; and it shall be holy. And you shall consecrate the Altar of Burnt Offerings; it shall be most holy.” And Moses did all that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel had commanded him. And a cloud covered the Tabernacle of the Testimony and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the Tabernacle of the Testimony, because the cloud overshadowed it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
Today’s Vespers – 2nd reading is Composite 18 – 3  Kings 7, 8
And it came to pass when Solomon had finished building the House of the Lord, he assembled all the elders of Israel in Zion, to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord out of the City of David, which is Zion. And the priests took up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, the Tabernacle of the Testimony, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tabernacle of the Testimony. And the King and all Israel went before the Ark. And the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place, into the Oracle of the Temple, into the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the Ark so that the cherubim made a covering above the Ark and its holy things above. There was nothing in the Ark except the two tablets of the Covenant which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord had made a Covenant. And when the priests came out from the holy place, a cloud filled the house. And the priests were unable to stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord God Almighty filled the house.
Today’s Vespers – 3rd reading is Ezekiel 43:27-44:4
‘When these days are over it shall be, on the eighth day and thereafter, that the priests shall offer your burnt offerings and your peace offerings on the altar; and I will accept you,’ says the Lord God.” Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. “As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.” Also He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord; and I fell on my face.
Today’s Matins Gospel reading is Luke 1:39-49, 56
Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
Today’s Epistle reading is 1 Thessalonians 2:9-14
For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,
Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 18:31-34
Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.
Today’s Epistle – Theotokos reading is Hebrews 9:1-7
Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;
Today’s Gospel – Theotokos reading is Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Saints and Feasts celebrated today
The Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple
Troparion — Tone 4
Today is the prelude of the good will of God,
of the preaching of the salvation of mankind.
The Virgin appears in the temple of God,
in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all.
Let us rejoice
and sing to her:
“Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation.”
Kontakion — Tone 4
The most pure Temple of the Savior;
the precious Chamber and Virgin;
the sacred Treasure of the glory of God,
is presented today to the house of the Lord.
She brings with her the grace of the Spirit,
therefore, the angels of God praise her:
“Truly this woman is the abode of heaven.”
Today’s Fasting Guidelines
Strict Fast. Refrain from meat, fish, oil, wine, dairy, and eggs.