Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Excerpt from the Homily on the Annunciation by St. John of Damascus
The Annunciation of the Theotokos (source)
Excerpt from the Homily on the Annunciation by St. John of Damascus (amateur translation)
The present precious, radiant and surpassingly-glorious royal gathering, let us hymn O faithful of all races and tongues, and of every rank and surrounding people, rejoicing in soul, and spiritually, let us celebrate, and let us speedily weave God-pleasing hymns for the Queen from [David's seed], and let us gather for a new feast of spring, and the celebration of all celebrations of our hope.
Today, therefore, truly the noetic Powers of the Heavens reclined, and invisibly celebrate together with those on earth.
Today, the prophecy of David is fulfilled, which says: “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad.” For behold, the greatest joy has filled her who is Full-of-grace.
Today, from the cold winter, the warm and flowery spring has shown forth, and the golden sun of rejoicing and happiness has dawned for us.
Today, God-planted Eden is re-opened, and God-fashioned Adam, due to His goodness and love for man, enters again to dwell within.
Today, the forefather's condemnation of sorrow is dissolved, and the corrupting exile and arduous penance of Eve ceases.
Today, the ranks on high gather together with those on earth to dance together for this Holy gathering, and the world shines with light.
Today, the spotless Church of God is magnified in form, and is adorned as with golden garments by the beauty of this day.
Today, the much-seen and holy city of Jerusalem rejoices with those below and those above, and New Sion prophetically is joyful.
Today, Bethlehem, the famed birth-place of David, is shown to be as heaven, and is adorned with a radiant bridal garment.
Today, the city of Nazareth, and the precious Gethsemane, and every city and land hastens towards this wholly-bright feast.
Today, kings of the earth and all people of this incomparable Royal city [Constantinople], royally celebrate the blessed memory of the Mother of God.
Today, daughters of kings and queens, gather for the memory of the King's Bridal Chamber, from the rising of the sun till dusk.
Today, young men and maids, mothers and virgins, and noble people of every rank, bless the Mother and Virgin and nourishment of our life.
Today, the Holy of Holies is hymned by everyone, as heaven and earth and all creation celebrates together.
Today, the holy book of the Prophets from all time, is brought amidst us, and each of them proclaims before-hand the grace of this Feast.
Today, the Patriarch Jacob rejoices, who spoke of you prophetically as that mystical ladder leading from earth to heaven.
Today, that former Prophet and defender of the people of Israel [Moses], speaks of you as that bush which was burning, but not consumed.
Today, Zacharias, the noteworthy among Prophets, through his own prophecy cries out: “And behold a golden lampstand, and the radiance above it.”
Today, Isaiah, the great preacher among the Prophets, prophecies with great voice: “A rod will raise by from the root of Jesse, and a flower from the root will come forth.”
Today, Ezekiel the wondrous cries out: “Behold, the gate was shut, and none can enter through it nor exit, except for the Lord God alone, and it remained shut.”
Today, Daniel the sublime, proclaims the future as the past, as he cries out: “The stone was cut from the mountain without hands,” in other words, without a man.
Today, David, the melodist who escorts the bride, speaking of her virginity like a truly adorned city, says: “Glorious things have been spoken of you, the city of the Great King.”
Today, Gabriel the Taxiarch, descends from the vaults of heaven to the greatly-hymned Virgin and Theotokos, and greets her crying out: “Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, the Lord is with you.”
Today, we and all men take up the Angel's voice, and offer encomiums like his, to her who is the forerunner of the taking away of the curse, saying:
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Joachim and Anna, who spotlessly gave birth to you with prayer, and who hasten also at this time to her who lived under their roof.
Rejoice greatly, O Theotokos and Virgin, for you truly heard the encomium of the Angel: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, from the royal line of David, and from the Levitical line from Anna the godly-minded one, who sprouted forth beyond all hope.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, who from infancy was raised in the Holy of Holies.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, who through an angel received tidings of joy, and became the forerunner of unspeakable and indescribable joy for the whole world.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, for the King of all was adorned with a body [through you] as if adorned with a royal purple robe.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, who bore within your womb the radiance of the goodness of the Father, and that Light that nothing can contain.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, the fragrance-bearing earth and life-bearing vessel and new myrrh container of the Spirit, which filled the world with fragrance like a myrrh-seller.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, the exalted and established Throne of the Creator and Redeemer of all, Who holds heaven and earth in His hand.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, the spiritual temple of the majestic glory of Him Who was incarnate for us, and Who put on flesh for our salvation.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, who bears life and light as a new-born babe, and nurses with milk Him Who poured forth honey formerly from the rock.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, the rejoicing in soul of the whole world and the universal reverence, and the good intercessor for all sinners.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, O gate of those troubled and hope of those without hope, and the awesome protection for those who with good heart confess you to be the Theotokos.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, you who bore the Master Who loves man for the salvation of our common race of men, and who entreats Him on behalf of everyone, as a Mother.
Rejoice, O Full-of-grace, the wondrous and sympathetic refuge of all Christians, and the most-exalted vision of greatly-worked beauty...(source)
The Annunciation of the Theotokos (source)
Most-holy Theotokos, save us! Amen!