Annunciation, Feast of The

Annunciation, Feast of the (from the Lat. annunciatio, announcement), a festival observed in honor of the tidings which the angel Gabriel brought to the Virgin Mary of the incarnation of our Savior. It is called by various names in church history, e.g. ᾿Ημέρα ἀσπασμοῦ, "the day of salutation;" Χαριτισμός, in reference to the epithet κεχαριτωμένη), employed by the angel (Lu 1:28); also Εὐαγγελισμός, with reference to the subject of the announcement. Some doubt exists as to the date of its establishment. Augusti is of opinion that the festival was celebrated at the time of the council of Laodicea, cir. 364. In the homily ascribed to Athanasius it is called one of our Lord's festivals. After the fifth century, in consequence of what passed during the Nestorian controversies, this festival was referred to Mary, and its observance fixed for the 25th of March, on which day it is now celebrated by the Greek, Roman, and English Churches. It seems to have been generally observed in the sixth century, but the first formal mention that we meet with of its being commemorated among the festivals of the Church is in the decrees of the council of Trullo, convened at the close of the seventh century. Chrysostom, and Bernard after him, call it "the root of all festivals." — Bingham, Orig. Eccl. bk. 20, ch. 8, § 4.

The following writers treat on this subject: Kocher, De salutatione angelica (Jen. 1760-1); Myslenta, De angelica annunciatione (Regiom. 1623); Rancke, De locutione angelorum (Lips. 1678); Sonntag, De chaeretismo (Altdorf.1709); Zeibich, De verbis Gabrieli ad Mariam (Viteb. 1754). SEE MARY.

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