Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos
In the 6th month after Elizabeth conceived St. John the Baptist, Angel Gabriel, usually called Archangel (meaning a highest ranking Angel) was sent by God to Nazareth, a little known town in Galilee, to the Virgin Mary, who was espoused to a man named Joseph. Having appeared to the Virgin Mary, the Angel Gabriel greeted her by saying: "Rejoice, you, full of grace, the Lord is with you!". The appearance of the Angel and His unusual words perplexed Mary, and She started contemplating on their meaning. Comforting Her, the Angel tells Mary that She would give birth to a great Son, Who will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord would give Him the throne of David, His Father, and He will reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and His Kingdom shall have no end.
|Wishing to remain a Virgin, Holy Mary was not sure if She had understood the Angel, so She asked him, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" The Angel comforted Her by explaining that Her vow would not be violated, for She would give birth to a Son in a supernatural way, without a man. The conception without semen would be effected by the Holy Spirit, by Whose action "the power of the Highest shall overshadow" Her, meaning that the Son of God Himself would come down into Her womb. The Most Holy Virgin did not ask the Angel for a proof, but Angel Gabriel himself confirmed the truth of his words by pointing to Elizabeth, who had conceived Prophet John the Baptist in a very old age according to the will of God, for there is nothing impossible for God. The Virgin Mary, seeing the will of God in all this, humbly replied, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."|