The Annunciation is one of the seven major feasts of the Coptic church; it commemorates the announcement of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she should conceive and give birth to Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.
According to the Coptic SYNAXARION, this festival, which has been observed since the early centuries of Christianity, falls on 29 Baramhat, nine months before the nativity of Jesus on 29 Kiyahk. As this occurs during the Great Lent preceding Easter, it is celebrated with due rejoicing but without breaking the fast, though it is a major feast. If, however, it coincides with Holy Week, it is commemorated without altering any of the solemn observances.
The account of the Annunciation as related in Luke 1:26-38 reflects the humility and willing submission of the Virgin Mary to God’s will, in clear contrast to Zechariah’s skepticism in reaction to the angel’s identical message concerning his wife Elizabeth and the birth of John the Baptist.
- Jugie, M. “La Première fête mariale en Orient et en Occident; l’avant primitif.” In Echos d’Orient 26 (1923):130-52.