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Feast of Conception

     The Festival of the Annunciation, during which the honorable Angel Gabriel appeared to our Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary, is celebrated in our Holy Church on April 7. According to the Holy Gospel, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was conceived in the sixth month after Elizabeth's conception. Gabriel was sent by God to a city on the borders of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

     When Saint Gabriel approached her, he greeted her, saying, "Rejoice, O full of grace, God is with you." She was troubled by his words and pondered the meaning of such a greeting. Then he said to her, "Fear not, O Mary, for you have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son. His Name shall be called 'Jesus.' He shall be great and shall be called the 'Son of the Highest.' The Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David. He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom shall have no end."


     Saint Mary, puzzled, asked him, "How can this be, since I have never been with a man?" The Angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. Indeed, your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; this is the sixth month for her, who was called barren. For nothing is impossible with God." He then assured her of the truth of his announcement, saying, "Behold, Elizabeth, your relative, who was said to be barren, has conceived in her old age; for nothing is impossible with God." Saint Mary humbly responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled." Then Saint Gabriel departed from her. (Luke 1:28-38)


     Upon receiving this divine conception, the Son, the Word of God, who is one of the Three Persons and exists eternally, descended and took residence in the womb of the holy Virgin Mary. The manner of this dwelling is beyond human comprehension. Immediately, He received perfect incarnation from her. His Divinity was with His Incarnation, one Being, inseparable, distinct, and unchangeable. This day marks the foremost of all festivals, as it signifies the commencement of the world's salvation.


May God bestow His mercy upon us on this holiday, Amen!

Source: The Ethiopian Synaxarium, pages 430-431.

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