The Annunciation - 25th March

The Annunciation falls exactly nine months before the Feast of the Nativity. It generally falls within Great Lent.

It recalls the the Archangel Gabriel  announcing to Mary that she will carry our Lord Jesus Christ in her womb as recounted in Luke 1:26-38.


26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end

. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Thus we are informed that Mary of her own free will accepted that which God had asked of her.

On meeting her cousin Elizabeth, who carried in her womb St  John the Baptist. event recounted in Luke 1 40 -56 Mary sung the Hymn of the Theotokos, or  Magnificat
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever
Under the Old Calendar this feast may fall on Pascha itself an event called Kyriopascha, this cannot occur with the New Calendar.

Some of the faithful relax the Lenten fasting rules and allow themselves to eat fish on this day.

During the Great Lent the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is not celebrated on weekdays excepting for this feast.

Troparion
Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You!
Kontakion
O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts!
We, your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos!
 As you possess invincible might, set us free from every calamity
So that we may sing: Rejoice,
O unwedded Bride!
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