By Saint Luke, Archbishop of Crimea
If all of us great ones need throughout our lives to be closely united with our True Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ, and be nourished from the life-giving juice from the Divine Root, the same applies to the smaller branches of the Vine, the smallest green leaves and the small tender flowers, which bloom on the holy Vine. These flowers, leaves and small branches are our children, which we care for with tenderness, and which we love as our hearts.
Those Christians who do not perform their sacred duty to protect their children have a large debt and responsibility before God. And not only children but also the infants, which hostile winds can cut them off from the Vine of Christ and take them far away and cast them to the dirt and mud, where the enemies of higher truth and good will tread with their feet.
Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, understood this very well. Only the first three years of the life of this youngster, who was elected by God to serve the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, did the parents enjoy the joy of life with her and her fervent love. Once she emerged from infancy she was led to the Temple of Jerusalem and was left there, entrusting her upbringing to God Himself.
Not only did Joachim and Anna dedicate the fruit of their pure marriage to God, but before and after them the same was done by holy and wise mothers, whose names you mothers of today should remember. Saint Hannah, who was barren, prayed fervently to God, vowing to dedicate to Him her child, if He was merciful to her childlessness and gave her a boy. The Lord heard the prayer of Hannah and she became the mother of the great Prophet Samuel. Mothers should remember the name of Saint Martha, the mother of the great and venerable Symeon the Stylite who, like Hannah did with Samuel, was dedicated by Martha to God even before he was born. From a very young age the great Symeon ascended his pillar and remained there until his death, like an unquenchable lamp before God.
Remember, pious mothers of today, how great and sacred before God is our duty to cultivate within our children the fear of God and to educate them in the unbroken and uninterrupted unity with the True Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ. Only from you, mothers and fathers, can your children learn the law of God, which is not taught in the schools. And only then will they learn it, if you yourselves eagerly study the law in the churches of God, learning it from the servants of God, the priests and bishops. Bring your children to the sacred churches so that they may breathe, even a little bit, the air, not only full of incense, but of the secret grace of the great mysteries which are performed there, as well as the prayers of many people. For twelve whole years the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin was fed in the sacredness of the Temple of Jerusalem, she who is "more honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim." May her all-powerful intercessions before God help you in the great work of your child's upbringing. Amen.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.