вторник, 7 апреля 2009 г.

ANNUNCIATION OF THE HOLY VIRGIN


By Lyubov Tsarevskaya

On April 7th believers mark the holiday of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. The feast commemorates when Archangel Gabriel the Blessed Messenger informed the Holy Virgin Mary that through Immaculate Conception, at the will of the Holy Spirit, She would be blessed with a Child Who was destined to become the Savior. After the birth of the Infant Christ She Herself would remain a Virgin.

Apostle and Evangelist Luke thus narrates the event:

"… angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the Virgin's name was Mary.

And the Angel said unto Her, Fear not Mary: for Thou hast found favour with
God.

And, behold, Thou shalt conceive in Thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt
call His name JESUS.

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: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

The feast of the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin has a profound spiritual and moral significance for man.

This is what Father Superior of the Annunciation church in Moscow archpriest Dmitry Smirnov told us:

“The Lord waited long and patiently for the birth of such a person as the Holy Virgin Mary, so that He might come down to earth for the salvation of mankind. For many centuries generations of people who are mentioned in the genealogy of Christ the Savior made their spiritual contribution towards this final result. And this labor was completed by John and Anna, who all their life were denounced by compatriots for being childless which was regarded in ancient Israel as God’s punishment for sin. From the Gospel we know that not always is sorrow linked with sin. At times man needs to suffer to receive the imprint of the Lord’s grace. The ancient Israelites did not know this. John and Anna were pure before the Lord and meekly accepted the abuse leveled at them. When they were completely humbled and reconciled with their fate, the Lord bestowed upon them a child which became the daughter of their humility. To the humility of her parents Virgin Mary added her own humility, and for that received the Lord’s Grace and bore its fruit.

Each one of us, if we wish to receive the Lord’s Grace, should strive to achieve similar humility. Everything around us humbles us: surrounding people, relatives, situations, our superiors at work, illness, even the weather. You think that spring is suddenly arrived – yet — lo and behold — its winter again! However, people show different reactions to this: some grumble and repine, while others receive with gratitude all that the Lord sends us, and are subsequently blessed with the Lord’s Grace.

The flower of the Annunciation – a white Lily – is a symbol of chastity and purity. Legend has it that it was bearing a Lily that Archangel Gabriel came to Virgin Mary. In Nazareth to this day there is an unfailing spring where Mary first saw the angel. It’s called the “Annunciation Spring”.

The feast of the Annunciation is one of the most revered in Russia: numerous churches have been consecrated in its honor. Church services on the day in solemnity come close to those of Christmas or Epiphany.

On the feast of Annunciation, which falls of the period of Lent, it is allowed to partake of fish, oil, and drink wine.

There exists a touching custom, particularly in Moscow, on the day of the Annunciation, to release birds from cages, as a sign of acknowledgment of the world’s salvation.

Source:The Voice of Russia

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