The Annunciation: Three Poems, Three Quotes from the Holy Fathers and Three Books
Every year we seek for ourselves new meanings of a wonderful event, which in Orthodoxy is called the Annunciation.
To understand this holiday more deeply, to soak in the mood of the Good News, to find out what accents Christian authors of different eras put in understanding this event, we have prepared this collection for you.
Rafael "The Annunciation"
Poems about the Annunciation
The Virgin Mary at Rilke, the great modernist and soulful Christian poet, suddenly appears to us as an ordinary, completely earthly young girl who was embarrassed by the youthful face of the archangel:
"Not the appearance of an angel (understand)
she was embarrassed. Moon beam people
and the sun is not seen
objects perceived or met,
led her into indignation
not an angel at all … "
Read the entire poem and the entire book, The Life of the Virgin Mary.
In Averintsev, the Virgin appears completely different, here we see a more "intellectual" interpretation of the event:
"Courtesy of heaven: he called her
by name. He called to Her
the earthly name that mother
Her name was cherished in the cradle:
Maria! The way we call her
in prayer: Holy Mary!
Courtesy of the sky? Mind, Osil: Togo,
Who created the heavens. Kohl this message
truthful, through the Messenger the Creator
welcomes creation. Really
time has returned at the dawn of time
undefiled: the moment when judged
Creator of His land: “Good
Zelo, ”and the stars rejoiced? Where are
curse the earth? Where, daughter of Eve?
And everything fell on the edge of the sword. ”
Read the entire Annunciation Song and the entire book of Averintsev's Spiritual Poems.
One of the main poets of the Silver Age, Mikhail Kuzmin, has an emphasis on feelings: joy, fear, confusion, fear:
"She looks, not understanding
And in the heart is joy, in the heart is fear.
Rosy rose red
And he says, having relieved the fright:
“This is incomprehensible thing:
I do not know my husband, my friend. "
Read the whole poem and the whole book of Kuzmin "Holidays of the Blessed Virgin Mary".
Erfurt Altar, approx. 1410/1420
By Lent, the Church reads the Canon of Andrew of Crete. Here is what the Canon writer wrote about the Annunciation:
“Now joy has come for all, rewarding the former sorrow: the Omnipresent has appeared to fulfill all joys. But how did he appear? – Not with bodyguards, not accompanied by the armies of the Angels, not with pomp and noise: but quietly and serenely, to hide His procession from the prince of darkness and to catch the snake and laugh at the vigilance of that Assyrian dragon who enslaved the nobility of nature – to steal his prey from him. The indescribable great mercy of Him did not want to see the loss of such a creation as the man for whom He had spread the vault of heaven, established the earth, poured air, formed the sea, arranged all the visible creation. Therefore, God appears on earth, God from heaven, God between people, God in the womb of the Virgin – the One that does not contain the whole universe. "
Read the full Word and the entire collection of words of Andrew of Crete.
One of the weeks of Lent is dedicated to St. Gregory Palamas. Here is what he wrote about the Annunciation:
“If everything is filled with a miracle, and that which came from being non-existent is a divine and glorious deed, then how much more wonderful and divine and even more should we sing that from the category of creations it became God, and not just God, but , What is true God, and this is when our nature could not and did not want to preserve its dignity, in which it was created and therefore was rightly rejected into the lowest element of the earth? And it is so great and divine, indescribable and incomprehensible that our nature has become one with God, and through this we have been granted a return to a better state, which is for the holy Angels and people, and even for the Prophets themselves, although they ripened by the action of the Spirit, it remained truly unknowable, hidden from the age of the sacrament. ”
Read fully the omilia and the entire book of omilia Gregory Palamas.
Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem thus conveys the highest theological significance of the Annunciation:
“Having created at the beginning of man and created him in his own image, he will not otherwise judge to save man and redeem his image, as soon as he can become man by nature and, clothed in flesh, make his own image with his clothing. Based on this, immiscible elements are mixed; on the basis of this, elements that cannot be merged with each other are inextricably mixed; on this basis, elements unconnected to each other are connected with each other; on the basis of this, the elements are not connected with each other, which cannot be connected with each other in one whole; on the basis of this, the divine becomes human, so that human can be made divine (Θειότερα); on this basis, the Word of God, remaining God and the Word of God, becomes a mother (παχύνεται – “condenses”, “thickens”); on this basis, the Uncreated, as Born from the uncreated God, while remaining uncreated, becomes a creature; on the basis of this, the Highest is proclaimed as humble, and the Invisible is seen as visible, and the Intangible is tangible, and the Bodyless comes in the body, and the Unembodied is described in the flesh, and the Disappeared is preached as suffering, and the Immortal nature is immortal – so that human nature, subject to passions (and suffering) and death, to erect into the bright immortality and passionlessness, and man, who has become the enemy and enemy of God, to reconcile with God and the Father. ”
Read the full Word and collection of works of Sophronius of Jerusalem.
The Annunciation (Mystic unicorn hunt). 1489, Martin Schongauer circle. Pushkin Museum
Priest Sergius Bulgakov in “The Burning Dome” gives a complex philosophy and theology regarding the Virgin. Here's the Annunciation:
“The Annunciation is already the accomplishment of the Mother of God. The descent of the Holy Spirit and its infusion into the Mother of God, which received the power of this infestation to have the ability to have a family without conception, is generally the highest blessing that can be imagined for creation. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit already means the deification of human nature in the person of the Mother of God. And, however, at the same time it was not yet salvation, but only preparation for salvation. Life in the Holy Spirit was opened to man only through Christ and in Christ, who begged the Father to send the Holy Spirit by His ascension. Earlier this, the Holy Spirit is revealed as an overpowering force that acts on a person in a certain sense from the outside, transcendentally, but not from the inside, not immanent; the latter became possible only when Christ was embodied and became immanent to humanity. ”
Read the entire “Burning Incense” and Bulgakov’s small trilogy.
Saint Filaret of Moscow, in the book “Glory of the Mother of God,” also builds the theological divinity, but not as “complicated” as Bulgakov’s:
“In what silence, what a great event happened on the day of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
One of the Almighty, who is closest to the throne, Archangel Gabriel, secretly commanded by the mind, flies through all nine ranks of the Angels, from the highest to the lower heaven, and tends to the earth. Celestials look and do not comprehend what is happening: the Angels desire to come to their senses (1 Pet 1:12). Where is he going? Is it not at Sinai, to the legislator Moses with a new revelation? “But Sinai no longer shines and thunders, and Moses is no longer there; he completed and crowned his work when he said and wrote: The Prophet of your brethren, much less, the Lord your God will make you known: Listen to him (Deut. 18:15). – Is it not in Jerusalem, not in the Temple there, with a wonderful cloud to the quota of the Divine tablets, or with heavenly fire for a sacrifice? But this kivot is no longer there either. Now it’s a matter of arranging an animated Quivot for the Hypostatic Word of God. Where is the archangel? – In the infamous Nazareth, in the small temple, to the poor Virgo, little known for the fact that She unusually loves God and virginity. She alone hears what the Archangel says to her; one knows this after his conversation: and the faithful keeper of Her righteous Joseph does not know what has happened. What happened? – The eternal determination of God about the salvation of the fallen human race is put into effect; looking at secrets hidden from centuries in God, incomprehensible to Angels, is open to the Daughters of man, of course, not to comprehension, but not to belief only, but to fulfillment through Her: and Her faith was able to contain the incompatible for the Angelic minds too! ”
Read in full “The Glory of Our Lady” of Filaret of Moscow.
And the book of Metropolitan Veniamin (Fedchenkov) “The Annunciation” is very simple:
“We, Christians, are now accustomed to the objects of our faith – the Trinity, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit, the Virgin, the incarnation, angels, miracles – that we have already ceased to marvel at them. And we pronounce it simply – and sometimes it’s cold … In fact, these names refer to things that are incomprehensible, and extreme, and supernatural, and can fill the soul with fear.
I’ll tell you about a recent case in my life. I had to be in a mixed society of people who believe and few unbelievers, both Russians and Jews. The landlady, a young woman, the mother of a three-year-old girl, was a wonderful person. But, to my deep regret, she was afraid to believe – she was afraid – as we shall see later, to our teaching … How good she was is evident from her only phrase. “I am ashamed,” she said, “to be an unbeliever among you believers!” I wanted to cry from such sincere words, and extremely delicate ones. Then, in private, I asked her: why does she not believe?
– I'm afraid! It’s scary to think that God … was incarnated … You can die from this alone! The heart cannot stand it!
… Never in my life have I heard such a thing – even! – opinions!
This is the fear of God!
And she baptized her three-year-old daughter, through others, and asked someone to receive her communion.
It is not in vain that the Church in her chants even presents the archangel Gabriel as embarrassed at the appearance of his Most Holy Virgin. For example, in the Mother of God’s saddle (after the 1st kathisma, Monday, the third voice) she sings: “To the beauty of Your virginity, and Your luminous purity, Gabriel was surprised, crying out to the Virgin Mary: will I bring worthy praise to Ty? so what is claimed? Perplexed and horrified! The same (however), as I was commanded, I cry to Ty: Rejoice, gracious! ”
Even he is “perplexed and horrified”! But how should we feel ourselves ?! ”
Read the entire Annunciation by Metropolitan Benjamin (Fedchenkov).
We have a special Annunciation page with many different materials.
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