Today is the beginning of our salvation…
– Troparion for Annunciation
I sometimes feel that today’s Feast doesn’t get the honor that it should in the liturgical year: this day as much as Nativity marks the commencement of Christ’s Incarnation and of the world’s salvation in him.
In England, “Lady Day,” March 25, was New Year’s Day on the civil calendar from 1155 until 1752, almost 600 years, since it was recognized as the beginning of the Christian era.
We’re all familiar with the standard icon of the Annunciation, so I pass along a few images that are a bit different.
A small number of Annunciation icons show Gabriel’s visit happening as the Theotokos goes to draw water at a well. I like these; I suppose their parallel with Christ’s revelation of himself to the Samaritan woman is intentional.
Sandro Botticelli’s image of the Annunciation is maybe my favorite; I especially like the portrayal of the Archangel bowing in awe to the Mother of God.
Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Annunciation (1898) abandons the iconographic mindset and makes a daring attempt to picture the event as might have looked to an observer on the scene. The shelf in the upper left combines with the pillar of light to form a Cross.
We’ll be partaking of another “Video Liturgy” today. It’s nothing like being able to worship together in church, but I’m glad that so many churches are making it possible join them online in this way.