Feast of the Annunciation
List of Major Feast Days
March 25 (Gregorian Calendar)
April 7 (Julian Calendar)
- In all Annunciation icons Mary is on the right.
- In all Annunciation icons the Archangel Gabriel is on the left.
- The partially revealed dark sphere is the symbol of heaven.
- Rays of divine power radiate from the sphere toward Mary.
- Before the royal doors each baptized person receives the body and blood of Christ;
- With the annunciation, Mary received God, body and soul. When receiving communion we do the same.
- The burning bush reveals that God will become human, without destroying humanity when Mary says “Yes.”
- Mary is holding the scarlet and purple yarn that was to be used to make the veil for the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple.
- The task of needlework is put aside as Mary agrees to be the Temple of God.
- From this moment, Mary will be the Theotokos, the God-Bearer.
The New Testament and our salvation began with the mystery of the Annunciation.
The “Good News” is the name of this feast, and it is also the meaning of the word “gospel.” Luke introduces us into the greatest mystery of our faith: God becoming one of us.
Humankind had waited thousands of years for the good news of the Archangel concerning the incarnation of the Son of God.
Heaven, earth, and the righteous souls of the dead awaited this good news.
On this day God fulfilled his promise to send a redeemer, for on this day the “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)
DID YOU KNOW?
- The services of the feast of the Annunciation are taken even if it should fall on Palm Sunday, Great Friday, or on the feast of the Resurrection.
- In the church of the Annunciation, in Kiev, Prince Yaroslaw the Wise consecrated the whole Ukrainian nation to the patronage of the Mother of God in 1037.
- Gabriel (from the Hebrew, meaning ‘God is holy’) is one of the seven archangels who lead the heavenly host.
- The word “angel” comes from the Greek for “messenger”. Angels are ready to move instantly in the service of God. Wings suggest their readiness to go wherever God sends them.
- Rays of light are often used in highlighting angelic robes to suggest their immaterial existence.
- The angel’s raised right hand signifies the words: “Hail, you who are filled with grace, the Lord is with you”.
- Because Mary is the meeting place of heaven and earth, the Annunciation icon is always placed on the royal doors.
The EPISTLE reading, Hebrews 2:11-18, tells us that by partaking of our human nature Christ became like us in all ways, except sin. He is the true High Priest who offered Himself for our sins.
The GOSPEL is from Luke 1:24-38. We hear of the conception of St. John the Baptist; then in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel came to Mary in Nazareth, to ask her to be the mother of God.
TROPAR (Tone 4)
Today is the source of our salvation* and the revelation of an eternal mystery:* the Son of God becomes a virgin’s Son,* and Gabriel announces this grace.* Therefore, let us exclaim with him to the Mother of God:* “Hail, O woman full of grace; the Lord is with you!”
KONDAK (Tone 8)
O Mother of God,* we your servants sing a hymn of thanksgiving to you,* a hymn of triumph to a valiant leader;* for you have delivered us from all peril.* We now exclaim to you: ”Hail, O Bride and Virgin ever pure!”
WHAT CAN I DO IN MY HOME OR CLASSROOM?
- Learn how to sing the Tropar and Kondak in their proper tones.
- Learn how to sing the Magnificat.
- Look at the “Guardian Angel” video and say a prayer to your guardian angel.
- Place an icon of the Annunciation in your icon corner. Explain the icon to the children.
- Locate the icon of the Annunciation in your parish church and note the similarities in all icons of the Annunciation.