Сhristians of еastern tradition celebrate Аnnunciation
On April 7, churches that follow the Julian Calendar mark one of the greatest feasts in the liturgical year, the Annunciation of the Mother of God. It is the third most important religious feast after Easter and Christmas.
The feast is based on the “good news” Archangel Gabriel delivered to the Virgin Mary (therefore, it is called Annunciation) that she would give birth to the divine baby, the Savior of mankind.
After Mary was betrothed to Joseph, Archangel Gabriel “came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28); “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:31-38).
In Nazareth, there is a church built at the place where Archangel Gabriel spoke to Virgin Mary to remember the annunciation.
The celebration of annunciation was established by the church in the fourth century, after it began to celebrate Christmas independently. The date was defined by counting 9 months before Christmas. In addition, Athanasius the Great explained the date of Annunciation also by supposition that God created man on March 25 (April 7 according to the Gregorian Calendar). Annunciation may be celebrated on Thursday of the third week and Wednesday of the Holy Week (according to the Julian Calendar) at the latest. The ecclesial celebration of the feast is not canceled even if the feast falls on Easter day. Fasting on that day is less strict. The feast can be celebrated from 1 to 3 days.