Feast Day: March 25th
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:24-38
Awed by the beauty of thy Virginity and the exceeding radiance of thy Purity, Gabriel called out unto thee, O Theotokos: What worthy hymn of praise can I offer unto thee? And what shall I name thee? I am in doubt and stand in awe. Wherefore as commanded, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Full of Grace.
Apolytikion: Today marks the crowning of our Salvation and the revelation of the Mystery before all ages. For the Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaims the Grace. Wherefore, we also cry out with him, “Hail, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.”
Kontakion: To you, Theotokos, invincible Defender, having been delivered from peril, I, your city, dedicate the victory festival as a thank offering. In your irresistible might, keep me safe from all trials, that I may call out to you: “Hail, Unwedded Bride!”
O Theotokos and Virgin, Rejoice, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our Souls.
Only perfect dove, who brought forth the Lord of mercy as an olive branch, Ever-virgin Mary, rejoice! You are the boast of devout Monastic Saints. Rejoice! You are the glory of the Holy Martyrs. Rejoice! And the Righteous pride themselves in knowing you. We the faithful have you as our rescuer.
Now the Archangel Gabriel is entrusted the Mystery which even to Angels was hidden and unknown. And he shall presently come to you, the dove that alone is fair and completely undefiled, restoration of humankind, and shall say to you: “Rejoice, O All-holy one! Make ready through a word to
grant admission into your womb unto God the Word.”
O All-blameless one, presently shall the Archangel Gabriel come to you perceptibly and shall say to you, “Rejoice, deliverance from the curse, the raising of fallen man! O rejoice! For only you among women are rightly called chosen one of God. Living cloud of the Sun, rejoice, and welcome in your womb the Uncontainable, Whose perfect will is to dwell therein.”
Gabriel annunciates good tidings today to her who is full of grace: “Rejoice, O Maiden unmarried and unwed. Be not astonished by my strange appearance, nor be dismayed. For an Archangel am I. The serpent once beguiled Eve, but I am now announcing to you the joy. You shall remain inviolate, and yet shall bear the Lord, O Immaculate.”
As she was reading from the Old Testament from the Prophet Isaiah and when she reads the part that says, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and shall bear a son…”, she looks up to Heaven and she says “My God, may I become worthy to become the servant of this virgin.” This is what Our Panagia says. And when Our Panagia says these words then the Archangel comes and gives her the greeting “Rejoice O highly favoured one of God”. She will not be the servant of the virgin, but she will be the virgin to conceive and bring God down to Earth in the flesh.
Now in the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the Angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; Blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the Angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His Name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, for I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
The Holy Icon of the Annunciation and Saint Pelagia of Tinos