Fifth day in the Octave of the Conception of BVM, Dec. 12th
A Homily by St. Tharasius, the Patriarch of Constantinople
O Mary where shall I find words to praise thee? Maiden undefiled, Virgin unstained, exaltation of women, thy glory is in thy guilelessness, and thy name is a name of purity. In thee the curse of Adam is done away, and the debt of Eve paid. Thou art the clean offering of Abel, chosen out of the firstlings of the flock, a pure sacrifice. Thou art the hope of Enoch, that firm hope that he had in god, and was not ashamed.
Thou art the vision of the Prophets and the fulfilment of those things which they foretold. Thou art the gate whereof Ezekiel spake, when he prophesied and said : This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it ; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. Thou art the Rod of Jesse, whereof Isaiah spake, even the Rod whose flower is Christ, and whose offshoots shall choke out all the seedlings of sin, and fill the earth with plants of grace.
And now we, the people of God, a holy generation, an acceptable congregation, the nestlings of the dove of peace, the children of grace do with purified minds and unpolluted lips, praise God in the tongues of all nations on this joyful solemnity of the Virgin. This is a noble feast wherein the Angels keep holiday and men do most fitly offer praise, even a feast wherein we echo with reverence and joy that salutation first spoken by Gabriel. Hail Mary! Hail, thou Paradise of God the Father, whence the knowledge of him floweth in broad rivers to the ends of the earth. Hail, Dwelling-place of God the Son, whence he came forth clothed in flesh. Hail, mysterious Tabernacle of God the Holy Ghost. Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee, even the Lord that is before thee, and from thee, and that now is with us. To him, with the Father, and the most holy and lifegiving Spirit, be ascribed all praise, now and ever, world without end. Amen.