When the Virgin Mary was born to her aged and barren parents, they promised to dedicate her to God. In fulfillment of that promise, when she was able to walk, they brought her to the temple to live among the temple virgins, to serve God for the first years of her life. When she arrived, she ran into the Holy of Holies and lived in the divine Presence, fed from the hands of angels. She remained in the temple until her twelfth year, in preparation to give birth to the Word Incarnate. Also known as the Presentation of Mary, this great feast is celebrated on November 21.
The icon depicts the arrival of Mary at the temple, as she is received by the High Priest and the other temple virgins. Her elderly parents, Joachim and Anna, are seen in the background. In the upper right corner, Mary has taken her place in the Holy of Holies—a foreshadowing of the time when her own body would later become the Throne of God as Jesus was conceived in her.