Saint Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church
Proclaiming & Living the Holy Orthodox Faith
in the California Central Valley

The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
Commemorated on March 25 @ 9am

The Greek and Slavonic names for the Feast may be translated as “good tidings.” This, of course, refers to the Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation He brings. The background of the Annunciation is found in the Gospel of Saint Luke (1:26-38). The troparion describes this as the “beginning of our salvation, and the revelation of the eternal mystery,” for on this day the Son of God became the Son of Man.

There are two main components to the Annunciation: the message itself, and the response of the Virgin. The message fulfills God’s promise to send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” The Fathers of the Church understand “her seed” to refer to Christ. The prophets hinted at His coming, which they saw dimly, but the Archangel Gabriel now proclaims that the promise is about to be fulfilled.

We see this echoed in the Liturgy of Saint Basil, as well: “When man disobeyed Thee, the only true God who had created him, and was deceived by the guile of the serpent, becoming subject to death by his own transgressions, Thou, O God, in Thy righteous judgment, didst send him forth from Paradise into this world, returning him to the earth from which he was taken, yet providing for him the salvation of regeneration in Thy Christ Himself.”

The Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth in Galilee. There he spoke to the undefiled Virgin who was betrothed to Saint Joseph: “Hail, thou who art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 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 Most High: 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.”

In contrast to Eve, who was readily deceived by the serpent, the Virgin did not immediately accept the Angel’s message. In her humility, she did not think she was deserving of such words, but was actually troubled by them. The fact that she asked for an explanation reveals her sobriety and prudence. She did not disbelieve the words of the angel, but could not understand how they would be fulfilled, for they spoke of something which was beyond nature.

Then said Mary unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).

“And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ 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: 35-38)

The icon of the Feast shows the Archangel with a staff in his left hand, indicating his role as a messenger. Sometimes one wing is upraised, as if to show his swift descent from heaven. His right hand is stretched toward the holy Virgin as he delivers his message.

The Annunciation falls during Lent, but it is always celebrated with great joy. The Liturgy of Saint Basil or Saint John Chrysostom is served, even on the weekdays of Lent. It is one of the two days of Great Lent on which the fast is relaxed and fish is permitted (Palm Sunday is the other).

The Celebration of the Annunciation begins with Presanctified Liturgy - FRIDAY MARCH 24 @ 6pm

Presanctified Liturgy is followed by a Pot-Luck Evening Meal





Lenten Reading Schedule
Read All Four Gospels During Great Lent
Click on Chapter numbers to READ in Bible Gateway (RSV Version) 
Click HERE to LISTEN to the AUDIO Bible  (ESV Version)
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Feb 27:  Matthew 1-2 March 06:   Matthew 15-16 March 13:  Mark 1-2 March 20: Mark 15-16
Feb 28:  Matthew 3-4 March 07:  Matthew 17-18 March 14:  Mark 3-4 March 21:   Luke 1-2
March 01:  Matthew 5-6 March 08:  Matthew 19-20 March 15:  Mark 5-6 March 22:   Luke 3-4
March 02:  Matthew 7-8 March 09:  Matthew 21-22 March 16:  Mark 7-8 March 23:   Luke 5-6
March 03:   Matthew 9-10 March 10:  Matthew 23-24 March 17:   Mark 9 -10 March 24: Luke 7-8
March 04:  Matthew 11-12 March 11:  Matthew 25-26 March 18:   Mark 11-12 March 25: Luke 9-10
March 05: Matthew 13-14 March 12:  Matthew 27-28 March 19:   Mark 13-14 March 26:  Luke 11-12
Week 5 Week 6 Week 7
March 27:  Luke 13-14 April 03:  John 3-4 April 10:  John 17-18
March 28:  Luke 15-16 April 04:  John 5-6 April 11:  John 19-20
March 29:  Luke 17-18 April 05:  John 7-8 April 12:  John 21
March 30:  Luke 19-20 April 06:  John 9-10  
March 31:  Luke 21-22 April 07:  John 11-12  
April 01:  Luke 23-24 April 08:  John 13-14  
April 02:  John 1-2 April 09:  John 15-16  


An Introduction to the

Orthodox Christian Church

Adapted from: John Meyendorff. The Orthodox Church

Sesquicentennial Commemorative Logo

An Invitation to Worship
An Invitation to Worship

What in the world is an Orthodox Christian?  

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Click HERE for a more complete explanation!

Glossary of Orthodox Terms

Extensive and excellent guide to Orthodox

Christian vocabulary

by the Orthodox Church of the Mother of God 



NEW Church Office Hours  

Tuesday and Thursday 

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10 Essential Conditions for Coming to Know

God’s Truth and Finding Life


Sermon : Sunday of Veneration of the Cross - MArch 19, 2023

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Gospel and Sermon "St. Gregory Palamas" March 12, 2023

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