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NAZARETH – Orthodox Christians celebrated the feast of the Annunciation on April 7, the date  exactly corresponds to March 25 in the Gregorian calendar. After the great celebration of March 25, which is the official holiday of the city, the Orthodox community led by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus III gathered the faithful, civil officials and many friends to commemorate with joy the ” Yes “of Mary.

Malicious thinking would see this day as an unfortunate repetition of events since the main feast of the Annunciation was already celebrated by the Christians of Nazareth on March 25.  Metropolitan of Nazareth, Kyriakos stated this is not the case: “it is rather a replication of joy. Liturgically we keep the traditional date, although March 25 has been proclaimed the official public holiday of the city of Nazareth, as is the case in Lebanon. Besides, we have many foreign pilgrims who make a pilgrimage to coincide with this date for the feast.  Liturgically, we cannot change. “

Among the Orthodox, the Annunciation is a particularly important feast, “It really is the new creation of the earth, of the universe and all of the living”, as a Greek song proclaims. And if it falls during Holy Week and Easter Day, except on Good Friday, this feast prevails 

This year in Nazareth, the festivities began as Patriarch Theophilus was welcomed at the Bishopric and to the Church. Many officials were present: Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, the Melkite and Anglican priests of Nazareth, the Greek Consul of Haifa and the Russian Consul for Galilee. The local faithful were joined by pilgrim groups from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania and even Siberia.

After the sung Mass according to the long and solemn liturgy of Saint Basil, the celebration ended with a procession led by the Scouts and their band.

This other celebration of the Annunciation is not too much in Nazareth. For Bishop Marcuzzo, “it is always good to celebrate this beautiful and great Mystery of the Incarnation, especially in Nazareth, and it is also an excellent opportunity to live ecumenism! “.

For those who may be surprised at the importance of this feast and its celebration before the Holy Week, an Orthodox priest reminded us during the procession: “There would be no Easter, were it not for the Incarnation!”

From our correspondent in Galilee

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