Hail O highly favoured one, the Lord is with you:
Blessed are you among women. 

"His being incarnate of her, and her blessedness by him, and all our blessedness in him with her, 
make it as well our Lord's as our Lady's day."

And the angel said unto Mary, 'Be not afraid for you have found favour 
With God and you shall conceive in your womb and bring forth a 
Son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: 
And of his kingdom there shall be no end.'

Be joyful, Mary, heavenly queen, alleluia:
Your Son who died was living seen,
Alleluia, rejoice, rejoice, O Mary.

The Son you bore by heaven's grace, alleluia:
Did all our guilt and sin efface,
Alleluia, rejoice, rejoice, O Mary.

The Lord has risen from the dead, alleluia:
He rose in glory as he said,
Alleluia, rejoice, rejoice, O Mary.

O pray to God, O Virgin fair, alleluia:
That he our souls to heaven bear,
Alleluia, rejoice, rejoice, O Mary.

And Mary said, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord:
Be it unto me according to your word.'

Bringing us bliss now, the birds are all singing;
Branches sprout leaves and the grasses are springing.
Of one that is matchless my utterance sings,
Chosen as mother by the King of Kings.

Taintless she is and unspotted by sin,
Descended from Jesse, of kingly kin.
The Lord of mankind from her womb was born
To save us from sin, who would else be forlorn.

'Hail Mary, full of grace! And may Our Lord
Be with you!' was the angel Gabriel's word.
'The fruit of your womb, I declare, shall be blest:
You shall carry a child beneath your breast.'

This greeting and word which the angel had brought,
Mary considered and pondered in thought.
She said to the angel, 'How could such thing be?
Of knowledge of man my body is free.'

She was virgin with child and virgin before,
And still virgin yet when her Babe she bore.
Never was a maiden a mother but she;
Well might she the bearer of God's Son be! (Anon.)

Mary you alone who was deemed worthy to receive the fullness of the Spirit did bear in your womb Him Who is the fountain of this gift. Mary you who are the embodiments of beauty and loveliness did become a wondrous tabernacle for the Saviour of the World. O flower of the field who brought forth the lily of the valley; O holy Mother, gracious Lady, help us to live in the light and truth of your Son. Be ever with us now, and at the hour of our death. Amen. 
Holy Mary, Lady Bright,
Mother of abounding might,
Heavenly Queen of feature fair!
Gabriel down from God came winging,
The Holy Spirit with him bringing
To alight within you there.
The word of God you heard and knew,
Acknowledged it with mildness due,
And calmly said, 'So let it be!"
Steadfast was your mind and true.
For the joy that then was new,
Lady, show your grace to me!

The Orthodox Tradition

In the Eastern Church, unlike in the Western Church where Mary is often depicted kneeling in prayer, she is depicted standing or sitting when the angel Gabriel comes with his divine message. "O Theotokos, Virgin Mary, it is indeed a dread and ineffable mystery, what has been done in you. For you indeed gave birth to the Word, who is the cause of all things, and Who is the cause of all things, and who was incarnated by the Holy Spirit, beyond any cause or reason."
But Mary, although she is the mother of Jesus Christ, is also in Christian tradition the figure of the Church, the People of God. In the Orthodox Church she is never separated from the Church she signifies. Her vocation is therefore also the vocation of the Church, which is called to bring Christ into the world.

In the sixth month the archangel Gabriel was sent from heaven to a town in Galilee, 
called Nazareth, to bring to the Virgin the joyful news.
He came to her and said: Greetings, vessel holding the nature nothing can contain!
For your womb, blessed one, has embraced him whom the heavens could not contain.
Greetings, honoured Lady! You are Adam's renewal and Eve's liberation, 
the whole world's rejoicing our race's great joy. 
Heavens be merry and earth rejoice! for he who with the Father is co-eternal,
Without beginning, and shares his throne, has displayed compassion
And loving mercy for mankind.

In accordance with the Father's loving will and wise counsel, 
he has stooped to empty himself, and taken up his abode in a virgin womb,
purified for him by the Spirit. 0 what marvel! God is with us;
a womb embraces the infinite; the timeless is within time. 
Marvellous is his conception, without seed!
Beyond telling his self-emptying! How great the mystery!
For God empties himself, becomes incarnate, becomes a creature,
and to a Virgin the angel announces her conceiving:
Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you, in his abundant mercy.

Today is joy's good news, the Virgin's festival. 
Earth's joined with heaven, Adam's made anew,
from earliest sadness is Eve set free.
For our nature's tent, made Godlike by him who took upon himself
our human clay, is made God's own temple.

0 mystery!
How he empties himself cannot be known;
how he is  conceived cannot be told.
The angel officiates at the Virgin's womb accepts the Son;. the Holy Spirit is sent from above;
the Father consents from heaven, common purpose brings about the covenant.
In him and by him we are say cry we out then with Gabriel to the Virgin:
Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you. From her our salvation, Christ our God,
has taken our human nature, exalting it to himself.
Pray to him to save us. (Great Compline)

Gabriel from heaven called to the holy one: 
Greetings! for you will conceive in your womb the God who is before all ages,
who by his word established earth's bounds. To which Mary replied: 
Husbandless am I: how shall I bear a son? Who has seen seedless birth?
The angel explained to the Virgin, God's Mother: 
The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

God's Word to earth has now come down.
Standing before the Virgin the angel cried:
Greetings, blessed one! You alone have kept virginity's seal,
when you received in your womb the Word and Lord
who is before all ages,
that as God he might  save from error our human race.

From the Father eternally, from his Mother in time the Word above all being
is revealed to the world.
He takes the form of a slave and becomes human, not parted from God.
He creates Adam anew in the womb of her who without seed conceived him.
(Matins on 25th)

Today all creation rejoices, for the angel cries: Greetings!
Blessed are you, Pure One, Christ's spotless Mother. Today is the serpent's haughtiness bridles, for the bonds of our ancestors's curse are undone. We too then cry out to you: Greetings, most favoured one! (Matins)
The Creator, pitying his creation and stooping in his compassion, makes haste to dwell in a Maiden's womb, the womb of God's own child.
The great archangel came to her and said:
Greetings, whom God has favoured! Our God is now with you.
Have no fear of me, the king's great commander.
For you have found the grace which your ancestress Eve lost of old.
You will conceive and give birth to him who is of one being with the Father. 
From heaven was sent the archangel Gabriel, to announce to the Virgin her conceiving.
He came to Nazareth and, considering the wonder in his mind, was amazed:
How can he be born of a Virgin who, beyond understanding, dwells on high?
How can he, whose throne is heaven and whose footstool earth, be embraced in a woman's womb?
He on whom the six-winged seraphs and cherubim with many eyes cannot intently look, 
has consented at a single word to become flesh through her.
He who is present is the word of God.
So why do I stand still and not say to the maiden: Greetings, favoured one! the Lord is with you. Greetings, pure Virgin! Greetings unmarried Bride! Greetings, Life's mother!
Blessed is the fruit of your womb!

Today is our salvation's beginning, the eternal  mystery's revealing. God's Son becomes the Virgin's; Gabriel brings good news of grace.
Join we then him and sing to God's Mother: Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.  (Vespers)

Mary the dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the gate, Christ the Heavenly Way!
Mary the root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!
 Mary the wheat, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the stem, Christ the Rose blood-red!
  Mary the beacon, Christ the Haven's Rest;
    Mary the mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
  Mary the mother, Christ the Mother's Son
        By all things blest while endless ages run. Amen.

By her example and her prayer, Mary leads us on the way to Christ, her Son, the Word of God made flesh for our salvation. Let us pray:
Christ, perfect day,
- enlighten a world that dwells in darkness and the shadow of death with its persistent hatred, violence and revenge:
R. Mary, the dawn, pray for us.

Christ, the mystic vine,
- bring together in one all the branches of your Church and let her bear the fruit of life and unity:
R. Mary, the root, pray for us.

Christ, the living bread,
- feed the hungers of the world, both spiritually and physically:
R. Mary, the wheat, pray for us.

Christ, the vision blest,
- keep our eyes fixed on you in all our thoughts and actions so that we may bear witness to truth and justice in our world:
R. Mary, the mirror, pray for us.

Our Father...
0 God, in the incarnation of the Word, you have wrought a marvellous exchange: as he humbled himself to share in our humanity, so did he enable us to have a share in his divinity. Transform us, 0 God, according to your word, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
As Christ came into the world, he said: Behold! I have come to do your will, 0 God. (Heb 10: 5, 7)
A Reading from a sermon of Cyril of Alexandria,
preached at the Council of Ephesus in 431,
in which he celebrates the special dignity accorded to
Mary, the bearer of the Incarnate Word of God

We hail you, O mysterious and Holy Trinity who has gathered us together in council in this church of Holy Mary, the Godbearer.
We hail you, Mary, the Godbearer, sacred treasure of all the universe, the star which never sets, the crown of virginity, the sceptre of true law, a temple which cannot be destroyed, the dwelling place of one who cannot be contained.
O Mother and Virgin, we hail you for the sake of the one whom the holy Gospels call 'blessed', the one who 'comes in the name of the Lord'.
We hail you Mary, for in your virginal womb you held the one whom the heavens themselves cannot contain, one through whom the Trinity is glorified and worshipped throughout the world; through whom the heavens exult; through whom angels and archangels rejoice; through whom demons are put to flight; through whom the tempter was thrown out of heaven; through whom fallen creation is raised up to the heavens; through whom the whole world, held captive by idolatry, has now come to know the truth; through whom holy baptism is given to those who believe, anointing them with the 'oil of gladness'; through whom churches have been founded throughout the world; through whom the nations have been converted.

What more can I say? It is through you, Mary, that the light of the onlybegotten Son of God has shone upon those 'who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death'. It is through you that prophets have spoken of the future, that the apostles have preached salvation to the nations, that the dead have been raised, that monarchs are reigning in the name of the Trinity.

Is there a single person who can sufficiently set forth the praises of Mary? She is both Mother and Virgin. What a wondrous thing! In fact it is so wonderful that I am overwhelmed by it. Has anyone ever heard of a builder who was stopped from dwelling in the temple he himself had built? Has anyone the right to speak ill of the one who bestowed upon his own servant the title of 'mother'? This is why today everyone is rejoicing.

Today, therefore, may we the Church worship and adore the unity, may we worship and honour the undivided Trinity, by singing the praises of Mary ever Virgin, and the praises of her Son and immaculate Spouse, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Mary's vocation belongs to every Christian, as well as to the Christian community as a whole. Through our willing obedience to the word of God us, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, in the depths of our being and there forms Christ in us. We bring him forth in our world, as we learn to let his mind inform ours, and as we put into practice the love of God, which was embodied in him, and shed abroad in human hearts by the Holy Spirit. The Annunciation reminds us too that we too are overshadowed by the power of the Most High, that Christ is to be formed in us, and that we are to be the means by whom the love of God enters the worlds, to extend in its life his reconciling and renewing power.
 1. Lady Day. The Annunciation
2. Mary in May.
 3. The Visitation.
4. The Dormition

 6. Our Lady of Sorrows.
  5. The Nativity
7October commemoration of the Rosary

  8. Mary's Presentation in the Temple

  9. The Immaculate Conception       
Marianne Dorman
Return to Index
10. Mother of God