Annunciation of the Lord

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Leonardo da Vinci : The Annunciation , around 1472–1475

Annunciation of the Lord , Latin Annuntiatio Domini , also Mariäündigungs (In Annuntiatione Beatæ Mariæ Virginis) , is a festival in the church year and at the same time the name for the event of the announcement by the angel Gabriel , described in the Gospel of Luke , that the Virgin Mary the Son of God from the saint Receive the Spirit and give birth to it.

The festival on March 25th is celebrated in many denominations . Older names are Conceptio Christi ('conception of Christ'), Mariä Bekleibung and Ancilla [Domini] ('maid [of the Lord]'). The biblical event is a motif that is often depicted in Christian iconography . Many churches are dedicated to the Annunciation.


Annunciation of Mary; 13th century embroidery

Holy Scripture

The proclamation of the Lord is told in the Gospel of Luke ( Lk 1, 26–38  EU ).

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin by God in a city in Galilee called Nazareth. She was engaged to a man named Joseph, who came from the House of David. The name of the virgin was Mary. The angel came in to her and said: Greetings, you favored one, the Lord is with you. She was shocked at the salutation and wondered what this greeting meant. The angel said to her: Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. You will conceive a child, you will bear a son: you should name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his rule will never end. Mary said to the angel: How can this be done, since I do not know a man? The angel answered her: The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child will also be called holy and son of God. Elizabeth, your relative, also had a son when she was old; although she was considered sterile, she is now in her sixth month. Because nothing is impossible for God. Then Mary said, I am the Lord's handmaid; happen to me as you said it would. Then the angel left her. "

The announcement is also understood as the moment of conception, according to the biblical principle: When God speaks, what he says happens. The virgin birth is considered an independent mystery.

In the German translation, the angel says to Mary: “I greet you, Maria!” The word χαιρε (chaire) used at this point in the original Greek text of the Gospel of Luke means literally: “Rejoice, be happy”; this was the usual greeting among the ancient Greeks. The normal greeting in Hebrew was שלום (“ shalom ”), which literally means “peace”. In the Latin translation of the Gospel of Luke, the word Ave is used here, which literally means roughly "you should be fine" and was a common greeting among the ancient Romans. The words of the New Testament are an invitation to joy.

The central importance of this salvation event for Christians is also expressed in the Angelus , which has the preaching of the Lord as its object. The Bible passage is also the basis of the Ave Maria .


The place of the Annunciation in Nazareth is said to have been the house of Mary and Joseph . The Annunciation Basilica is located there today . The central place of worship is a small grotto, which already contained an altar in 383, as the Spanish pilgrim Egeria testified. In front of the grotto was a small house that was dismantled during the siege of Acre (1291) and before the subsequent final expulsion of the Crusaders from the Holy Land and which is said to have reached Loreto , where it was rebuilt in 1294 and became the destination of the Loreto pilgrimage .

The festival in the different denominations

Meister von Seitenstetten: Annunciation, around 1490

The date of the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord is derived from Christmas , which is celebrated nine months after, and has an Advent character. In Europe, the feast of the Annunciation was long considered the beginning of the year ( Annunciation style ), in England until the 16th century.

Catholic Church

According to the general Roman calendar , the Annunciation is celebrated in the ordinary form of the Roman rite as a Lord's Feast (Annuntiatio Domini) , since it considers the incarnation of God . In the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, it is still celebrated as the Feast of Mary (Annuntiatio beatae Mariae virginis) . If March 25 falls in Holy Week or the Octave of Easter , the feast in the Latin Church is postponed to the first day after the Octave of Easter, since both the cartage and the days of the Octave of Easter have a higher liturgical rank and therefore displace the feast.

Orthodox churches

In the Orthodox churches, the festival (under the Greek name Εὐαγγελισμός or Euangelismos , "Annunciation of the Good News ") is one of the twelve main festivals. The third antiphon of the liturgy on the feast sums up the festive mystery: “Today is the beginning of our salvation and the mystery from eternity is revealed. The Son of God becomes the Virgin's child and Gabriel brings the good news of grace. With him we also call out to the Theotokos: 'Rejoice, gracious! The Lord is with you. '”An icon depicting the Annunciation is usually placed on the royal door of the iconostasis ; The gospel is preached out of this door, and the believers, like Mary, are to hear the words of the preaching of the word .

In the calendar of the Orthodox Churches, the feast is not superseded by any other, but there are special unification liturgies for each of the movable holidays, which can coincide with the proclamation. In this case, the corresponding liturgy is celebrated with the Eucharist even on Good Friday . In the Greek Orthodox Church and the other New Calendar Orthodox Churches, however, the feast of the Annunciation can no longer coincide with the Holy Days or Easter days, since as a fixed holiday according to the Orthodox calendar , which is almost identical to the Gregorian calendar , it is movable holidays such as Easter but to be committed according to the Julian calendar. (The difference between the Orthodox and Gregorian calendars does not appear until the year 2800; the Orthodox calendar represents an even more precise approximation of the tropical period of the earth than the Gregorian calendar in terms of year length.)

Evangelical and Anglican Churches

Even Protestant churches like the member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany , the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod noted the date in their calendar, Martin Luther called it "one of the fürnehmsten festivals". The feast is also celebrated in the Anglican Church .

Representation in Christian art

Visual arts

The scene of the Annunciation to Mary has been a frequent motif in the fine arts over the centuries and is represented in many ways, especially in the Renaissance . The depictions usually show Mary and the angel in the interior of a house, possibly as a symbol for Mary's inwardness, chastity and virginity (compare hortus conclusus ). Sometimes the angel brings Mary a white lily , a symbol of virginity and purity, while the girl's gestures express surprise and touch. Sometimes Mary is also shown reading in a book, which underlines the connection with the announcement of the Messiah by the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament . In many representations the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove, in other representations the conception is represented by a ray of light hitting Mary.

The artistic representations each emphasize different aspects or moments of Mary's encounter with the angel. A distinction is made between message, greeting and conversation; Specifically, five sub-phases: Conturbatio - Mary's excitement about the unexpected and meaningful message; Cogitatio - the reflection on what has just been said; Interrogatio - the demand; Humiliatio - submission to the divine will; Meritatio - the emphasis on the merit of Mary.


Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a cantata for this day: How beautifully the morning star shines, BWV 1 . He also extended the dedication of the cantata Himmelskönig, sein Willkommen (BWV 182), which was actually written for Palm Sunday .


The Annunciation Basilica in Nazareth is dedicated to the mystery of faith of the Annunciation of the Lord (see Church of the Annunciation ). The Russian city of Blagoveshchensk is subordinate to the patronage of the Annunciation . The Italian city of Torre Annunziata was built around a chapel of the Annunciation over ancient ruins .

Also subject to this patronage are the Annuntiates , a contemplative order in the Roman Catholic Church, the Ordo SS. Annuntiationis , a contemplative women's order founded by Maria Vittoria De Fornari Strata in Genoa in 1604, and the Congregation of the Maidservants of the Annunciation (Congregatio Ancillarum Beatae Mariae Virginis from Annunciata) , a congregation founded in 1920 by Johannes Stanislaus Boda OFMCap (1871–1933) in Szombathely . The award of the Order of Announcements is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Lord.

Reception in Islam

The Koran reports on the event in the 3rd sura (verses 45-51), but varies in 19: 16-26:

“(Back then) when the angels said: Mary! God proclaims a word of himself to you, whose name is Jesus Christ, the son of Mary! He will be respected in this world and in the hereafter, one of those who are close (to God). (3:45) "

See also

Web links

Commons : Annunciation  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Covering = "rooting", "growing" according to Grimm's dictionary
  2. after the angel, as previously reported in Lk 1,5–25  EU , had announced the birth of a son to Zacharias and Elizabeth had received John the Baptist ; Franz Bogislaus Westermeier : Epistle Sermons , Volume 2, Halle 1847, p. 282
  3. Benedict XVI. ; Stefan von Kempis (ed.): The Holy Scriptures: Meditations on the Bible. Benno Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-7462-2482-4
  4. ^ Annuntiatio Domini .
  5. Bach works directory with details of the dedications (PDF; 233 kB)
  6. 3: 45-51 in German translation ,
  7. 19th sura, in German translation ,
  8. 3:45 - German by Rudi Paret ,