Blessed Feast of the Annuciation!
On March 25 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we celebrate the Annunciation to our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary. Verses The Angel announced as Son to the Virgin, the Great Angel of the Father’s great counsel. On the twenty-fifth the Angel spake of joy unto Mary. When the All-Holy Virgin was entering her fifteenth year, after having spent eleven years of living and serving in the Temple of Jerusalem, the priests informed her that, according to the Law, she could not remain in the Temple but must be betrothed and enter into marriage.
The All-Holy Virgin surprised the priests when she told them that she had dedicated her life to God and that she desired to remain a virgin until death. Then, Zacharias, the high priest and father of the Forerunner, under the inspiration of God, betrothed the Virgin Mary to Joseph of Nazareth to preserve her virginity and to care for her. When the fullness of time had come, as prophesied by Daniel the Prophet, and when God was pleased to fulfill His promise to the banished Adam and to the Prophets, the Archangel Gabriel appeared in the chamber of the All-Holy Virgin. As some priestly writers wrote, precisely at that same moment when she held open the book of the Prophet Isaiah and was contemplating his great prophecy: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son! (7:13)” Gabriel appeared in all of his angelic brightness and saluted her: “Rejoice, highly favored one! The Lord is with thee,” and the rest in order as it is written in the Gospel of Luke.
This annunciation and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Virgin, leading to the incarnation of our Lord, began the salvation of mankind and restoration of all creation. Through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos and of all Thy Saints, O Christ God, have mercy upon us. Amen.
THE AKATHIST HYMN
To thee, the Champion Leader, do I offer thanks of victory, O Theotokos, thou who hast delivered me from terror; but as thou that hast that power invincible, O Theotokos, thou alone can set me free: from all forms of danger free me and deliver me, that I may cry unto thee: “Hail, O Bride without bridegroom.” Yours in Christ, +Bp. THOMAS