The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
This feast recalls to us the Incarnation of the Divine Word in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This mystery merits for Mary her most beautiful name, Theotokos, which means “Mother of God”. This is why the Angel greeted her on this day: “Rejoice, Full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among all women.” And again from her own words “every generation shall call me blessed”.
In becoming the mother of the New Adam, the Theotokos became by the same fact the Mother of the whole redeemed human race. By her voluntary acceptance (“let it be done to me according to your word”), she -the only creature- actively participated in the realization of this grandiose mystery by which humanity would be saved. “every generation shall call me blessed,” she cried out in her enthusiasm. This is why the Church, in the name of the entire human race, today renders to the Theotokos the altogether exceptional honors to which she has a right.
The date of March 25 was chosen in terms of December 25. Originally, the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary was included in the cycle of the Nativity according to the Flesh of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. The Syrian tradition still consecrates to it the two Sundays which preceed the Feast of the Nativity according to the Flesh of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. In the West, it is found today in the Ambrosian rite under the name of the “Sunday of the Incarnation,” whereas the Mozarabic rite fixed it on December 18, which is perhaps the first feast of the Theotokos in the East and West. It is due to Constantinople’s influence that the date of March 25 owes its universal extension. It is found already in 692 in the Acts of the Council “In Trullo.” It had been introduced into the West by Pope Saint Leo II (681-683), who was a Sicilian of Greek culture.
Dismissal Hymn of the Annunciation
Today is the fountainhead of our salvation and the manifestation of the mystery which was from eternity. The Son of God becometh the Virgin’s Son, and Gabriel proclaimeth the good tidings of grace; for this cause, we also cry to the Mother of God with him: Rejoice, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee.
Kontakion of the Annunciation / Original Kontakion of Akathist to Mother of God
When the bodiless one learned the secret command, in haste he came and stood before Joseph’s dwelling, and spake unto the Maiden who knew not wedlock: The One Who hath bowed the Heavens by His descent is held and contained unchanging wholly in thee. Seeing Him receiving the form of a servant in they womb, I stand in awe and cry to thee: Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.
Another Kontakion of the Annunciation / Kontakion of Akathist to Mother of God
To thee, the Champion Leader, we thy flock dedicate a feast of victory and thanksgiving, as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos. But as thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do thou deliver us, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.
Dismissal Hymns and Kontakia used by permission
Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 278 Warren Street, Brookline, MA 02174