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March 25 - Feast of the Annunciation of our most holy lady, the Theotokos and ever virgin Mary

Orthodox Christian Celebration of the Feast  of the Annunciation of the Theotokos

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The Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos  is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is conducted on the morning of the Feast and preceded by a Matins (Orthros) service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before  the day of the Feast. Scripture readings for the Feast are the following:  At Vespers: Genesis 28:10-17; Ezekiel 43:27—44:4; Proverbs 9:1-11. At the Matins: Luke   1:39-49, 56. At the Divine Liturgy: Hebrews 2:11-18; Luke 1:24-38.

The Feast of the Annunciation in the Greek Orthodox Church also marks a day of national celebration for the   people of Greece and those around the world of Greek descent. It   was on March 25, 1821 when Greece officially declared its independence  and began the revolution that would eventually give the nation its  freedom after 400 years of rule by the Ottomans. In addition to the services for the Feast, festivities and parades are held and   official proclamations are offered throughout the world in recognition   of Greek Independence Day.

Hymns of the Feast

Apolytikion (Fourth Tone)   Today marks the crowning of our salvation and the revelation of  the mystery before all ages. For the Son of God becomes the son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaims the grace. Wherefore, we also cry out with him, “Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you.”

Kontakion (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

  To you, Theotokos, invincible Defender, having been delivered from   peril, I, your city, dedicate the victory festival as a thank offering.    In your irresistible might, keep me safe from all trials, that I   may call out to you: “Hail, unwedded bride!”

source: GoArch.org

The Tbilisi Holy Trinity Cathedral commonly known as Sameba (Georgian: სამება for Trinity) is the main Georgian Orthodox Christian cathedral, located in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Constructed between 1995 and 2004, it is the largest religious building not only in Georgia but in the region of South Caucasus, and is listed among the largest Orthodox churches in the world.
The idea to build a new cathedral to commemorate 1,500 years of autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church and 2,000 years from the birth of Jesus emerged as early as 1989, a crucial year for the national awakening of the then-Soviet republic of Georgia. In May 1989, the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate and the authorities of Tbilisi announced an international contest for the project of the “Holy Trinity Cathedral.” No winner was chosen at the first round of the contest when more than a hundred projects were submitted. Finally the project of architect Archil Mindiashvili won. The subsequent turbulent years of civil unrest deferred this grandiose plan for six years, and it was not until November 23, 1995 when the foundation for the new cathedral was finally laid. The construction of the church as a “symbol of the Georgian national and spiritual revival” has been sponsored through mostly anonymous donations by several businessmen and common citizens. On November 23 2004, on St. George’s Day, the cathedral was consecrated by Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II and the high-ranking representatives of fellow Orthodox churches of the world. The ceremonial was also attended by the leaders of other religious and confessional communities of Georgia as well as political leaders.
 

Bixad Monastery, Satu Mare, Romania

On the spiritual - culture level, a special attention was given to restoring the library of the monastery, which now numbers over 3,000 volumes, both from acquisitions and donations. For the monastery edifice, the church was endowed with all the necessary service. In this sense there were done two icons, “The Savior” and “Mother of God”. One of the few monuments of the existing wall in this part, the Orthodox church was dedicated to “the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul”, represents a real treasure for the tourism in the area. Stone walls keep the Byzantine plan, shaped in cross, with lateral semicircular apses and a tall tower. From the beginning of our century dates the subsequent supplements, the tower and altar.

On the eve of the great festivals of the Virgin Mary, all over the Romanian land, but, especially in Transylvania, the people of villages and fairs, from Moisei up to Banat, from the country of Fagaras to Oas country, prepared for pilgrimage. Whether they live 50 or 100 km from Bixad, people respect the old tradition, for centuries, starting with a week earlier, on foot, the virtual pilgrimage. The vast majority of believers today are heading to the holy edifice by train, by car or coach.

On the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Assumption, Assumption of Virgin Mary and the Cross Day at Bixad Monastery is the dedication to the titular saint. The greatest feast of St. Mary Major is taking place on August 15. The Vecerniei Ceremony begins on the eve of the festival, in the evening, on the night full of stars, confession, prayers, songs and sermons. The next day takes place the Divine Liturgy and the sacrament of those who have testified in secret night, and then takes place the Holy Unction service, the holy water and a commemoration of remembrance. The believers prepare to leave just after the Divine Liturgy is over. Everyone leaves Bixad with a nostalgic mood.

Location: com Bixad, Jud. Satu Mare, 7 km NW of Negresti-Oas, 55 km north-east of Satu Mare on DN Satu Mare - Negresti-Oas - Sighet Memorial;

source: romguide.net | Photos: crestinortodox.ro

The Dormition of the Mother of God (Greek: Κοίμησις Θεοτόκου, Koímēsis Theotokos often anglicized as Kimisis, Slavic: Успение Пресвятия Богородици, Uspenie Presvetia Bogoroditsi) is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the “falling asleep” or death of Mary, the mother of Jesus (literally translated as God-bearer), and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 (August 28, N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar) as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Dormition not on a fixed date, but on the Sunday nearest August 15.

The Feast of the Dormition is preceded by a two-week fast, referred to as the Dormition Fast. From August 1 to August 14 (inclusive) Orthodox and Eastern Catholics fast from red meat, poultry, meat products, dairy products (eggs and milk products), fish, oil, and wine. The Dormition Fast is a stricter fast than either the Nativity Fast (Advent) or the Apostle’s Fast, with only wine and oil (but no fish) allowed on weekends. As with the other Fasts of the Church year, there is a Great Feast that falls during the Fast; in this case, the Transfiguration (August 6), on which fish, wine and oil are allowed.

Voroneţ Monastery is one of the most visited Orthodox Christian Monasteries of Moldova, Romania.

Voroneț is a monastery in Romania, located in the town of Gura Humorului, Moldavia. It is one of the famous painted monasteries from southern Bukovina, in Suceava County. Between May and September 1488, Stephen III of Moldavia (known as “Stephen the Great”, in Romanian Ștefan cel Mare) built the Voroneț Monastery (in Romanian Mănăstirea Voroneț) to commemorate the victory at Battle of Vaslui. Often known as the “Sistine Chapel of the East”, the frescoes at Voroneț feature an intense shade of blue known in Romania as “Voroneț blue”. “The exterior walls — including a representation of the Last Judgment on the west wall — were painted in 1547 with a background of vivid cerulean blue. This blue is so vibrant that art historians refer to Voroneț blue the same way they do Titian red.”

The small windows, their rectangular frames of crossed rods and the receding pointed or shouldered arches of the interior doorframes are Gothic. The south and north doors of the exonarthex of 1547 have rectangular frames, which indicate a transition period from Gothic to Renaissance. But, above them, on each wall is a tall window with a flamboyant Gothic arch. The whole west façade is without any openings, which indicates that the intention of the Metropolitan Roșca was from the beginning to reserve it for frescoes.

On the north façade is still visible the original decoration of the church, the rows of ceramic enamelled discs in yellow, brown and green, decorated in relief. These include heraldic motifs, such as the rampant lion and the aurochs’ head of the Moldaviancoat of arms, and creatures inspired by Western European mediaeval literature, such as two-tailed mermaids. The tower is decorated with sixteen tall niches, in four of which are windows. A row of small niches encircles the tower above them. The fragmented roof probably follows the shape of the original roof, which doubtless was made with shingles.

The tomb of the monastery’s first abbot, Saint Daniil the Hermit, is found at the monastery.

The church is one of the Painted churches of northern Moldavia listed in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.

Credits: http://romaniaandmoldova.com | bestourism.com | wondermondo.com

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