Annunciation

Texts

Gospel according to St. Luke 1:28-33

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 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.

John of Damascus, Homily on the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Hail, royal seal, who stamped the Ruler of All, who shares your substance, with His mother's nature.Migne Patrologia Graeca 96, 692B

Photios, Homily on the Annunciation

For the Virgin found favour with God because she had made herself worthy before her Creator, because, having adorned her soul with the fairness of her purity, she had prepared herself as an agreeable habitation for Him who by His word has established heaven . . . Hail, because we see the sun of righteousness rising out of thee, illuminating both the heavenly and the earthly order, driving away the murk of error, and irradiating the universe with the splendor of Grace.Mango, Homilies of Photius, 116-21

Commentary

One of the five Marian Great Feasts, the Annunciation was also one of only two (along with the Hypapante) that celebrated events reported in the Gospels, as opposed to New Testament apocryphal texts (Birth of the Virgin, Presentation of the Virgin, and Dormition of the Virgin). It was celebrated on 25 March.ODB 1:106–7.

The Annunciation is the most frequently depicted New Testament scene on seals, dating from the sixth to the twelfth century. The iconography underwent changes during this period: pre-Iconoclast seals show the Virgin on the viewer's left, with the archangel Gabriel to the right in the position of honor as the messenger of God. The Virgin is often seen weaving a new curtain for the Temple from purple thread. From the late tenth/early eleventh century the scene changes with the Virgin rarely weaving and with the archangel increasingly moved to the left and the Virgin, often enthroned, placed in the position of honor as the vessel of the Incarnation.Cotsonis, "Narrative Scenes on Byzantine Lead Seals," 61–3.

 

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