The Feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos

Icon of the Annunciation

The Annunciation of the Theotokos - March 25th


The Feast of the Annunciation is one of the earliest Christian feasts, and was already being celebrated in the fourth century. The Greek and Slavonic names for the Feast may be translated as “good tidings.” This, of course, refers to the Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation He brings. The background of the Annunciation is found in the Gospel of St. Luke (1:26-38). The Troparion describes this as the “beginning of our salvation, and the revelation of the eternal mystery,” for on this day the Son of God became the Son of Man.
There are two main components to the Annunciation: the message itself, and the response of the Virgin. The message fulfills God’s promise to send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” The Fathers of the Church understand “her seed” to refer to Christ. The prophets hinted at His coming, but the Archangel Gabriel proclaimed that the promise is about to be fulfilled.


The Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth in Galilee. There he spoke to the undefiled Virgin who was betrothed to St. Joseph: “Hail, thou who art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
In contrast to Eve, who was readily deceived by the serpent, the Virgin did not immediately accept the Angel’s message. In her humility, she did not think she was deserving of such words, but was actually troubled by them. The fact that she asked for an explanation reveals her sobriety and prudence. She did not disbelieve the words of the angel, but could not understand how they would be fulfilled, for they spoke of something which was beyond nature. “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).
“And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elizabeth hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1: 35-38).
The Annunciation falls during the Great Fast- Lent, but it is always celebrated with great joy. The Vesperal Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is served, even on the weekdays of Lent. The Annunciation of the Theotokos is an annunciation of the human race, good news that the Son and Word of God incarnated. This universal feast must aid in a personal feast, in a personal annunciation. We must accept the preludes of our salvation, which is the greatest notification in our life.

Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth

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