March 25, the Catholic Church celebrates a bright holiday — Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ), associated with the important evangelical event — the proclamation by the archangel Gabriel Gabriel Deve Maria of the future birth of the Savior in the flesh.
The Gospel of Luke tells how the archangel Gabriel was sent by God to proclaim Mary, the virgin betrothed to Joseph, that she would have to conceive from the Holy Spirit and give birth to the baby Jesus, who will become the Messiah and be called the Son of God. Confused by the greeting of the angel, Mary then believed in the veracity of his promise and expressed her faith with the words: « Let it be to me according to your word ».
Since at least 2 centuries, the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary ( Annunciation of the Virgin Mary ) has been seen as the first act of redemption in Christian history, in which the obedience of the Virgin Mary balances the disobedience of Eve ( the interpretation of Irenaeus of Lyon ). The day of the celebration of the Annunciation was established on March 25, nine months before Christmas.
From the 4th century there is another explanation for this date: the atonement really had to begin with the conception of Christ on the day of the spring equinox, which traditionally was considered the day of the creation of the world, and in the month of the death and resurrection of Christ ( Easter ). In the Middle Ages, the countdown of days a year was often led from the day of the Annunciation ( in England, this custom was maintained until 1752 ).
The first images of the Annunciation scene belong to the 5th century, and subsequently the Annunciation becomes a favorite plot in Christian art and a constant theme of Byzantine icons, medieval sculpture and Renaissance painting.
Annunciation falls either on the days of Lent, or on the week of Easter celebrations ( Light sadmite ). Depending on this, the holiday each time has a special liturgy. The church celebration of the Annunciation is not canceled, even if the holiday falls on Easter ( such a combination of great holidays is called « Kiriopasha » ), and then chants of the Annunciation are combined with Easter chants. If the Annunciation falls on the post, then the post is weakened for its sake.
The name of the holiday « The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary », established in the Middle Ages both in the East and in the West, appeared relatively later. After the 2nd Vatican Council, the Catholic Church returned to it the earlier name — Annunciation of the Lord ( Russian Catholics, in view of the unusual nature of this name for the Russian tradition, call the holiday simply « Annunciation » ).
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation on April 7th.