Museum of Chora

On the wall in the second section at the left in the inner narthex, the theme is Mary’s birth. Two young women are seen in front of the door, one of them sitting and holding a new-born baby in her lap. They are trying to bathe the newly born Mary .Joachim is seen watching this scene in amazement, stretching his head and holding a door with his right hand. In the background, we see three women engaged in other everyday chores. Another woman is helping Anne, who lies in bed. Joachim and Anne are Mary’s parents. This man and wife, both of whom are descendents of David, were childless. Joachim goes to the temple on a holy day, to make some votive offerings and sacrifices. But the priest sends Joachim away, since he has no children. Joachim then goes up to the mountains and retires with the shepherds of his flocks, and prays there for forty days and nights.

On the last day of the religious festivities, Gabriel pays a visit to Anne, bringing her good tidings; she is soon to have a child. He also tells her that the aged married couple shall one day meet at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem.

Joachim, who is not aware of the good news brought to Anne, offers a sacrifice to God, on the mountain where he retired. The Arcangel Gabriel had announced that one day the old married couple would meet at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem. The old couple meet one day at the Golden Gate. What the Archangel Gabriel has said is materialized. Anne gives birth to a baby girl, whom they call Mary. These are the events that preceded the birth scene depicted in the panel of mosaics. On the adjacent arch, at the point designated as No.45 in our plan, the panel of mosaics depicting the first seven steps of the Virgin is located. Facing this panel, we see the chief priest Zacchariah praying in front of the twelve sticks.