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Annunciation to the Theotokos
- March 25 -
The Annunciation (or Evangelismos in Greek) to the Theotokos is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on March 25. Greeks also celebrate Greek Independence Day this day. This is one of only two days during Lent, the other being Palm Sunday, when fish is permitted.
According to the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce to her that she would conceive and bear a son, even though she "knew no man." According to holy tradition Mary had come home to her parents when she was only fifteen when she was visited by Gabriel.
This date was selected by the Church Fathers to be exactly nine months ahead of Christmas, indicating that Christ was conceived in perfection at that time "of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary," as stated in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
Celebration of the feast
The feast of the Annunciation normally falls during the season of Great Lent, but it is still a joyous day. Many lessen their fast with fish on this day.
If the feast comes on a weekday of Lent, the Divine Liturgy of the feast is served in the evening with Vespers. When this happens, the fasting rules for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts are followed. The Divine Liturgy of the Annunciation is the only celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom allowed on a weekday of Great Lent.
If the feast falls on the same day as Pascha, the resultant festival is called Kyriopascha and is celebrated with special rubrics.
Troparion (Tone 4)
Today is the beginning of our salvation,
Kontakion (Tone 8)
O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts!