Thursday, March 24, 2011


Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You!

Basilica of Annunciation, Nazareth, built on the foundation of Byzantine and Crusade era churches

Basilica of Annunciation at night

Lintel of the main entrance to the Basilica

The main entrance to the Basilica

An Archangel was sent from heaven to cry “Rejoice!” to the Theotokos; 
and, O Lord, as he saw you taking bodily form
at the sound of his bodiless voice,
he stood still in amazement.

The main sanctuary in front of the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The house of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Verbum Caro Hic Factum Est - Here Word Was Made Flesh

Knowing herself pure, the holy maiden
spoke to Gabriel boldly:
The strange wonder you tell seems hard to my soul,
for you speak of a birth
from a seedless conception, crying aloud: Alleluia!

The upper church in the Basilica

Polish priests celebrate mass in the upper church

The mosaic mural of the upper church

The large stain glass window of the upper church on the narthex side

Side shrine donated by Poland - Our Lady of  Częstochowa

Side shrine donated by France - Sede Sapientiae

Side shrine donated by Mexico - Our Lady of Guadalupe

Side shrine donated by Ukraine - Mosaic icon of annunciation

Then power from the Most High
overshadowed the maiden unto conception;
and her fruitful womb was revealed as a fertile field
to all who wish to reap salvation,
as they sing: Alleluia!

Statue of Our Lady in the court yard

Mosaic icon in the colonnade donated by Greece - Theotokos of Vladimir

Mosaic icon in the colonnade donated by Romania - The Great Panagia
Mosaic in the colonnade donated by Scotland - Sede Sapientiae
Mosaic in the colonnade donated by Malta - Sede Sapientiae
Tile painting donated by the Chinese Church - Our Lady of China

O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts!
We, your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos!
As you possess invincible might, set us free from every calamity
So that we may sing: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Church of Mary's Spring

Façade of the church

Icon of annunciation in Church of Mary's Spring
The bishop's throne
The iconostasis of the Church
Icon of St. George on the iconostasis
Icon of St. John the Baptist on the iconostasis
Icon of Christ on the iconostasis
Icon of the Theotokos on the iconostasis

Icon of annunciation on the iconostasis

Christ the Pantocrator under the main arch

Mural icon of annunciation

Grotto of Mary's Spring
Mary's Spring, where according to legend,  Mary met Archangel Gabriel while  getting some water

As we meditate on the mystery of Word made flesh, let us listen to: 
Today is the beginning

O Victorious Leader

Saturday, January 8, 2011


When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan,
The worship of the Trinity was made manifest.
For the voice of the Father bore witness to You,
And called You His beloved Son.
And the Spirit, in the form of a dove,
Confirmed the truthfulness of His word.
O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself
And have enlightened the world, glory to You!

Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan (el-Maghtas), Jordan
The baptism site of Jesus. Only the foundation and the baptistry of the ancient shrine remain today. Due to the narrowing of the Jordan River, the channel is no longer connected to the river itself.


Today You have shown forth to the world, O Lord,
and the light of Your countenance has been marked on us.
Knowing You, we sing Your praises.
You have come and revealed Yourself,
O unapproachable Light.

The Israeli side of Jordan River and chapel

Outdoor chapel on the Jordanian side of Jordan River

Today the Lord enters the Jordan and cries out to John:
"Do not be afraid to baptize me.
For I have come to save Adam, the first-formed man."

St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church, Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, Jordan, built in 2003

The icons of St. John the Baptist testifying to Jesus and Archangels Michael (left) and Gabriel (right)

The sanctuary Area and the icon of annunciation

Icon of St. John the Baptist testifies to Jesus

Icon of Baptism of Christ

Icon of St. Zosimas giving communion St. Mary of Egypt

Icon of Nativity of Christ

Icon of Baptism of Christ

Prepare, O Zebulon,
And adorn yourself, O Naphtali;
River Jordan, cease flowing
And receive with joy the Master coming to be baptized.
Adam, rejoice with our First Mother
And do not hide yourself as you did of old in Paradise;
For having seen you naked,
He has appeared to clothe you with the first garment.
Christ has appeared to renew all creation.

Mosaic icon of Baptism of Christ, St. George Orthodox Church, Madaba, Jordan

Mosaic of Baptism of Christ, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Madaba, Jordan

Of old, the river Jordan
Turned back before Elisha's mantle at Elijah's ascension.
The waters were parted in two
And the waterway became a dry path.
This is truly a symbol of baptism
By which we pass through this mortal life.
Christ has appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters!

As we continue to celebrate this monument in our history of salvation, the baptism of our Lord, let us meditate this mystery with the main hymn (apolitikion) of this feast day, 
When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan.