The Annunciation reveals the theophany of the incarnation of Christ, announced by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary the Virgin, ‘Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.’ Mary was perplexed and asks, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ Consenting, she says, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy Word!’ (Luke 1:28-38) Mary’s ‘So be it,’ glorifies the theophany of the incarnation of Christ, turning the world right round, restoring all glory to God.
Consenting to the Holy Spirit’s action in her womb, Mary receives the Spirit descending from the Father, who works this mystery of filial generation, revealing the theophany of Holy Trinity. The mutuality of co-inherent divine-human consent uncovers the co-operation of the Thrice-Holy Trinity in divine-human theophany, signifying that the Archangel Gabriel does not speak in his own name, but in the Name of the Father, revealed through the Son in the activity of the Holy Spirit. Theophany of Holy Trinity shines forth between the Archangel and the virgin, hallowing the world.
The Holy Spirit descends upon the Mother of God, empowering her with the Father’s over-shadowing wisdom, hallowing her with the Holy Name of God. The Mother of God, in her Person, represents all created persons in this act of active co-operative theophany. Mary was passive yet supremely active in her response, ‘Be it unto me.’ The iconography of the Annunciation remains essentially similar from the Roman catacombs in the second century to the traditional Annunciation icons of today. The theophany is timeless, like the glory of The Name, delivering saints from dissipation and despair.
The Feast of the Annunciation of Mary, Mother of God, March 25th, 2023.
I was received into Holy Orthodoxy thirty-five years ago today, by Abba Aemilianos, at the instigation of Saint Sophrony the Hesychast, in the Convent of Ormylia, in Greece.