Spiritual developmentChristianity

Anniversary of the Annunciation and Tradition

On Orthodox icons it is customary to portray the archangel Gabriel holding a flower in his hands - a symbol of good news. It was given to him to bring joyful people to people, and otherwise to say - good news. Therefore the archangel Gabriel is always a welcome guest. But the most good news for all people in the world he brought the message two thousand years ago, still very young Virgin Mary. The Messenger of God announced that the Savior of the World would be incarnated from Her womb. Here, with these words, the story of the Annunciation begins.

Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In ancient Judea, people grew up early. Adults who were fourteen years of age were already considered as adults. So the Blessed Virgin Mary, barely parted with her childhood, and brought up from an early age in the temple, had to by law either return to her parents, or get married. But given once a vow of eternal virginity closed for her the way to simple family happiness. From now on Her life was God's only.

Her teachers - the priests of the temple, where she spent her childhood and youth, found a simple and wise decision: The Virgin Mary was betrothed to a distant relative, an eighty-year old old man named Joseph. Thus, the life of the young girl was financially secured, and the vow given to her by the Lord was not violated. After the marriage ceremony, Mary settled in the city of Nazareth in the house of her betrothed. It was under this title that St. Joseph entered the Holy Scripture - the guardian of the purity and virginity of the future Mother of God.

The apparition of the archangel Gabriel Deva of Nazareth

For four months the Most-Holy Virgin lived in the new house, devoting all His time to prayers and reading of the Holy Scripture. That is behind this pious work and found her messenger of God - the archangel Gabriel. Under the rustle of his wings, he announced to the astonished Virgo about that great mission that is entrusted to her by the Creator of the universe.

This event also received the name of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. The history of the feast can not be complete, if you do not pay attention to why it was on Her who stopped the Lord's choice. The answer is simple - exceptional purity, integrity and devotion to God have singled Her out of the great multitude of other girls. For such a great mission it took a righteous man, who was not equal to the creation of the world.

Readiness to fulfill the will of the Creator

To understand the whole meaning of the events described in the Gospel, it is important to take into account another aspect of what happened. In this case, as always, the Lord grants his creature - man complete freedom of choice of actions. Notice how important is the Archangel Gabriel's response to the Virgin Mary and her voluntary consent. There is no hint of any compulsion.

The messenger of God speaks of conception, which must occur in spite of human nature, which can not but cause a skeptical reaction, but the power of the faith of Mary is so great that she unreservedly believes all that is heard. The question of how she can conceive, not knowing her husband, is reduced only to the desire to know the particular of the forthcoming. Her willingness to fulfill the foregoing is evident from every line that describes the great Biblical event - the Annunciation.

The history of the holiday, briefly about the most important

This event became the subject of study of many scientists. As can be seen from their works, in the center of which lies the Annunciation holiday, a simple logical reasoning was used to establish the date of the celebration.

If we consider the moment of the Immaculate Conception to be the day when the Virgin Mary responded to the words of the archangel Gabriel: "Yes be according to your verb", then it is only natural that this day should be upheld from the day when Jesus Christ was born, that is, from the feast Christmas, for nine months. It is easy to calculate that this day for Orthodox Christians is April 7, and for Western Christians - on March 25.

Discoveries of St. Helena Equal-to-the-Apostles

Feast of the Annunciation, whose history goes back to antiquity, according to historians, began to celebrate in the IV century, although images of the scene of this event were discovered during excavations of catacombs dating back to the III and even II centuries. In the IV century, the most important event in the life of the whole Christian world occurred: the Equal-to-the-Apostles Elena discovered the earthly life of Jesus Christ and began the construction of temples in the Holy Land.

Naturally, this caused a heightened interest in everything related to Christmas, the Resurrection and all other events of the Savior's earthly life. Not surprisingly, it was during this period that the appearance of the holiday was noted. Thus, and the history of the feast, the Annunciation has a direct connection with the discoveries of this great ascetic.

Celebration of the Annunciation in Byzantium and in the West

Following further in chronological order, it should be noted that the history of the Orthodox holiday Annunciation has its origin in Byzantium. In the 7th century, he firmly became one of the most celebrated days of the church calendar. However, we must admit that in the historical documents of the two preceding centuries there are separate references to it, but, apparently, it is only a matter of single instances.

In the Western tradition, the Annunciation story begins around the same time period as the Eastern church. The Roman Pope Sergius I (687-701) included him in the number of three major holidays dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was celebrated quite solemnly and was accompanied by a festive procession through the streets of Rome.

The historical names of this holiday and its status

It is curious that this holiday was not always called the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos. The history of the holiday also remembers other names. For example, in the works of some ancient authors he is referred to as the "Welcome Day" or "Annunciation". That name, which is used today, came from the Greek word "evangelism". For the first time it is found in historical documents of the 7th century.

At that time the feast was considered equal both to the Lord's and the Theotokos, but time brought its changes. If in the Orthodox tradition of the East he is still one of the most important events of the year, in the West his role has narrowed somewhat, leaving him only the place of a minor holiday.

Celebration of the Annunciation in the Orthodox world

In the tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church, it refers to the number of twelve, great, non-transitional holidays. As well as during the divine services of other Mother of God feasts, the clergy are wearing a blue dress on this day. We can name a number of circumstances that indicate that the Annunciation Day has a very special significance in the Orthodox Church.

The history of the Ecumenical Councils, in particular, indicates how much attention it paid to the Fathers of the Church. At the 6th Ecumenical Council, held in 680 in Constantinople, a document was adopted according to which on the day of this feast, despite the fact that it falls on the calendar during the Great Lent, the liturgy of John Chrysostom, and not the Presanctified Gifts, is served Indicating its exceptional importance.

The importance of the feast of the Annunciation is written in his writings and John Chrysostom. He calls it "the first holiday" and even "the root of the holidays." Today, on this day, fasting is being weakened. In particular, it is allowed to eat fish and oil (oil). In the people, he is one of the most beloved, bearing peace and joy, because it is based on the good news, that is, the message, filled with the grace of God.

Revival of Orthodox Culture in Russia

Nowadays, when after many decades of state atheism the Orthodox Church has again taken its proper place, many of our compatriots have fulfilled their desire to return to the spiritual sources of their people and learn as much as possible from what was until recently closed to them. In particular, the Orthodox holidays are of great interest, and among them the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos. The history of the holiday, traditions and rituals - everything becomes the subject of inquisitive study.

Another important aspect of modern life is the study of the foundations of Orthodox culture among children. This is important in order not to repeat the tragic error of the past years, when whole generations in our country grew up and entered life in isolation from the faith of their ancestors. And in this regard, in our days is working. Many Bible events and festivals are submitted in a version that is understandable to the children.

Teaching the basics of Orthodox culture for children

This applies to the feast of the Annunciation. The history of the holiday for children is set out in such a way that, despite the adapted nature of the text, the meaning of the event itself remains unchanged and understandable to the child. This, of course, is the complexity of the problem. The Annunciation story The Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, briefly but meaningfully stated, should be deposited in the most fertile manner in the children's consciousness.

An invaluable role in the revival of Orthodox culture is played by Sunday schools, organized today in many churches. By the way, their program includes familiarization of students with the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos. The history of the holiday for children and adults attending these classes is of great interest, as many have heard of it, but have a very vague idea of its content.

Folk traditions on the day of the Annunciation

Since ancient times people have established traditions connected with this holiday. Since it falls on the spring month, naturally, many of them are associated with the beginning of field work. There was a tradition that on the day of the holiday the seeds prepared for sowing were poured into a tub and, placing the icon "Annunciation" on top, they made a special prayer for the giving of an abundant harvest. In it, the peasants turned to the Most Holy Theotokos and the Eternal Son with a request to bless the grain, "vsevayaem in mother - the earth."

There were also traditions that were clear echoes of paganism. Among them was, for example, such. In the evening, on the eve of the holiday, the cabbage heads of last year's harvest were taken from the cellars or pantries. They, secretly from all, were put on the ground near the road, on which they were going to go to church tomorrow. And then the next day, returning after the Mass, it was necessary to pick up the heads, find seeds in them and plant them in the garden together with fresh seedlings. It was believed that in this case a rich crop of cabbage will grow, which no frosts are afraid of.

The ancient worship of our pagan ancestors to the fire and its purifying force was manifested in one of the popular traditions of the Annunciation. This refers to the custom, according to which on this day, burnt old clothes, shoes, bedding and the like. Residential premises and outbuildings were fumigated with smoke. Particular attention was paid to domestic cattle, which was also fumigated, hoping to protect from any evil spirits.

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