The Virgin Nativity Cathedral
Section of Southern Lengthwise Nave. South View

“What shall we offer you, O Christ?” (Cathedral of Theotokos)

Dionisy's frescoes. “What shall we offer you, O Christ?” (Cathedral of Theotokos)

An illustration of the Christmas sticheron written in the 8th century by Cosmas of Jerusalem: “What shall we offer you, O Christ, because you have appeared on earth as a man for our sakes? For each of the creatures made by you offers you its thanks: the Angels their hymn; the heavens the Star; the Shepherds their wonder; the Magi their gifts; the earth the Cave; the desert the Manger; but we a Virgin Mother. God before the ages, have mercy on us.” In accordance with the text it represents the Theotokos with the baby and “creatures” offering gifts to their Creator: singing angels, magi, shepherds, allegoric figures of the Earth and the Wilderness as well as singers headed by the saint hymnographers, authors of numerous chants in honour of the Theotokos, John Damascene and Cosmas of Jerusalem.