Feast of the Annunciation

The annunciation is an important feast in the Coptic Orthodox Church. It in fact is the first of the seven major feasts of the Lord; which are:

Annunciation

  1. The Annunciation (Paramhat 29, c. April 7)
  2. The Nativity of Christ (Christmas, Kiahk 29, c. January 7)
  3. The Theophany or the Baptism of Christ (Tuba 11, c. January 19)
  4. Palm Sunday
  5. The Feast of the Resurrection
  6. Ascension
  7. Pentecost

On this day, the Church remembers the Annunciation by Archangel Gabriel to St. Mary. We recall the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies about salvation, namely the Incarnation of the Word of God in the Virgin’s womb (Matthew 13:17).

It was when Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to announce to St. Mary that she will have a Son. This is recorded in detail in the Bible in Luke 1:16 as follows:

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly
favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!

But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

This feast is celebrated on the 29th of the Coptic month of Baramhat. The Rite of this feast is prayed in the joyous tune, and the Divine Liturgy is prayed in the same way as the other Major Feasts, with the appropriate responses and hymns specific to the feast. The Fraction Prayer of the Major Feasts of the Lord is prayed during the breaking of the Body. If this feast falls during lent, then the readings of the Holy Mass are replaced with those of the Feast of the Annunciation.

An annunciation is full of joy. In Arabic annunciation is (Beshara), and this means (Bringing Good News). That is why the Gospel is called "Besharah". We say "the Besharah" of Matthew, the "Besharah" of Mark...etc. That is because the Gospel brings rejoicing News about the Salvation which the Lord Christ freely offered us all.

May the joy of the Lordly Feast of the Annunciation fill our lives.

St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in London is one of the oldest Coptic churches in the lands of the immigration, and one of the first to be supported and cared for by our beloved patriarch, HH the late Pope Shenouda III.

  • St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church
    Allen Street, Kensington
    London W8 6UX