Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"Ecce ancilla Domini" ~ Feast of the Annunciation from the Latin Vulgate

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Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation. This feast commemorating the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin is celebrated on March 25—exactly nine months before the traditional date of Christmas on December 25. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the early history of this feast is as follows:
In the Latin Church this feast is first mentioned in the Sacramentarium of Pope Gelasius (d. 496), which we possess in a manuscript of the seventh century; it is also contained in the Sacramentarium of St. Gregory (d. 604), one manuscript of which dates back to the eighth century. Since these sacramentaries contain additions posterior to the time of Gelasius and Gregory, Duchesne (Origines du culte chr├ętien, 118, 261) ascribes the origin of this feast in Rome to the seventh century; Probst, however, (Sacramentarien, 264) thinks that it really belongs to the time of Pope Gelasius. The tenth Synod of Toledo (656), and Trullan Synod (692) speak of this feast as one universally celebrated in the Catholic Church.
Here is the account of the event from the Latin Vulgate Gospel of Saint Jerome, according to Saint Luke:
In mense autem sexto, missus est angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilaeae, cui nomen Nazareth, ad virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Joseph, de domo David: et nomen virginis Maria. Et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit:

"Ave gratia plena: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus."

Quae cum audisset, turbata est in sermone ejus, et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio. Et ait angelus ei:

"Ne timeas, Maria: invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum. Ecce concipies in utero, et paries filium, et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum: hic erit magnus, et Filius Altissimi vocabitur, et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David patris ejus: et regnabit in domo Jacob in aeternum, et regni ejus non erit finis."

Dixit autem Maria ad angelum:

"Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco?"

Et respondens angelus dixit ei:

"Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. Et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua, et ipsa concepit filium in senectute sua: et hic mensis sextus est illi, quae vocatur sterilis: quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum."

Dixit autem Maria:

"Ecce ancilla Domini: fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum."

Et discessit ab illa angelus.
The English translation may be found here.

The image of the Annunciation shown above was painted by Simone Martini in AD 1333 in Siena.

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