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Annunciation

An icon of the Annunciation.

THE ICON

Archangel Gabriel - the winged figure on the left.

The Theotokos- on the right; in her left hand she holds a spool of yarn. Just as sheep give their wool to clothe people, so the Theotokos gave her flesh and blood to clothe the eternal Son of God in a garment of humanity.

Temple - the event took place in the temple while Mary was spinning

THE FEAST

The "Incarnation," it has been rightly said, "was not only the work of the Father, of His Power and His Spirit, it was also the work of the will and the faith of the Virgin." On the feast of the Annunciation, therefore, Orthodoxy commemorates not only the divine initiative. .. it also commemorates the human response, whereby Mary freely accepted the vocation set before her. God always respects human liberty; and so, when He elected to become man, He desired to do so with the willing agreement of her whom he chose as His Mother. Mary's answer to the angel was not a foregone conclusion. She could have refused; she was not a passive instrument but an active participant, with a free and positive part to play in God's scheme of salvation.

In the services of the Church, Mary's doubts are set forth with the utmost directness; we see all her skepticism and embarrassment. This is done to make clear that she acted in full freedom. This feast is celebrated nine months before the feast of Christ's birth.

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, THEOTOKOS! AS YOU POSSESS INVINCIBLE MIGHT, SET US FREE FROM EVERY CALAMITY, SO THAT WE MAY SING: REJOICE, UNWEDDED BRIDE!