Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Annunciation, East and West

Sorry I'm late tonight in posting these. Here are the "propers" from the Feast of the Annunciation. As with so much else, the two rites simply say the same thing in different words. This is particularly pronounced in the most distinctive features of the feast's liturgies: the Collect (Western Rite) and the Troparion (Byzantine Rite).

Western RiteByzantine Rite
Collect and Offertory of the FeastTroparion of the Feast (Tone 4)

O God, Who wast pleased that Thy Word should take Flesh of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the message of an angel; grant to us Thy humble servants that we, believing her to be indeed the Mother of God, may by her intercession be holpen in Thy sight. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb.
Today is the beginning of our salvation,
And the manifestation of the mystery from the ages.
For the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaimeth grace.
Wherefore do we shout with him to the Theotokos:
"Hail, Thou who art Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee!"
Tract of the Feast
Kontakion of the Feast (Tone 8)

Hearken, O daughter, and consider; incline thine ear; so shall the King have pleasure in thy beauty. The rich among the people shall make their supplication before thee; kings daughters are among thine honorable women. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework; the virgins that be her fellows shall bear her company. With joy and gladness shall they be brought, and shall enter into the King's palace.

(from The Orthodox Missal.)
I thy servant, O Theotokos, inscribe unto thee the banner of conquest, O Defending Soldier.
I offer thanks to thee as a deliverer from all tribulation.
But as thine is the might invincible, deliver me me from all dangers,
That I may sing unto thee: Hail, O Bride without Bridegroom.

The similarity between the Tract and the Kontakion may be better understood if one takes into consideration the Christian East's flair for innovative poetry and the Western liturgy's somewhat greater reliance upon quotations from the Scriptures. The Tract is taken from Psalm 44 [45]. The same Psalm is read during Orthros of Annunciation.

There's more to say...but it's late. :)

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