Nazareth. Church of the Annunciation and the Church of St. Joseph
Statistics know everything. One must think that the total number of churches and temples of the Annunciation, erected on all continents of the globe, is also known. But only one of these many thousands is located here in Nazareth, in the place that the Divine Will has chosen as the cradle for the “Word that has become flesh.”
Here is how Dm. Merezhkovsky stated what happened in his book “Jesus the Unknown”: “Above all the houses of the village is a cozy house of the carpenter Joseph, the betrothed of young Mary. Twice a day, morning and evening, she ran down to the source, along a narrow, steep street a hundred and fifty steps. A Nazareth envious girl chatted about her only: “… what is Joseph to her, a carpenter, an old widower!” – “How on what? The royal family is he, Davidov, and she is Aaronov, Leviticus.A son will be born — there will be the Messiah, the Tsar-priest, according to Asmona’s prophecy. “No, it wasn’t just said that. From early childhood, Maria was brought up by her cousin Elizabeth, the wife of the priest of the Avian series of Zachariah. She heard the prophecies of Simeon, the prophetess Anna and waited:” Soon ! Soon! Soon! “. And so she lived until her fifteenth year, until one day she heard behind her:” Miriam! Miriam! “. She opened her eyes and saw: An angel is standing in front of her: his face is like lightning, his robe is white as snow …”
“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the city of Galilee, called Nazareth. To the Virgin, betrothed to her husband, by the name of Joseph from the house of David; the name of the Virgin: Mary. The angel came to Her, said: Rejoice, Gracious! The Lord is with Thee Blessed are you between the wives. But when she saw him, she was embarrassed by his words and wondered what kind of a greeting this would be. And the angel said to her: Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace from God, and now you will conceive in the womb and bear the Son and you will call Him the name Jesus, He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the crowd of David his father, and he will reign over Jacob’s house forever, and his kingdom will never end. Mary said to the angel: how will it be when I don’t know my husband? The angel said to her in reply: the Holy Spirit will find on you, and strength The Most High will overshadow You; therefore, the Holy One being born will be called the Son of God. Here is Elizabeth, Your relative, who is called barren, and she conceived in her old age, and she is already six months old; for God will not be left powerless any word. Then Mary said: Behold the servant of the Lord; let it be according to your word! (“From Luke” 1: 26/38).
So: “Here the Word has become flesh” – “Verbum Caro Hic Factum Est”. Both the event and the place were bound to become central in the Christian tradition. And steel!
When the Emperor of Byzantium, Constantine I the Great, proclaimed Christianity the state religion of the empire in 325, his mother, Equal-to-the-Apostles Tsarina Elena, went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in order to identify holy places and build churches on them. So, the Grotto of the Holy Family went down in History. The fate of the buildings erected here was no different from the fate of other churches in Palestine: they were built and destroyed, re-emerged from the ashes and again disappeared under it. Therefore, knowing the chronicles of that time, we will be transported immediately to the XVIII century, when a modest church was built, which stood until 1955, the year of the adoption of a historic decision for it: the demolition of the old and the construction of a new church on the site of the Annunciation and Incarnation. Fourteen years it took the famous Israeli construction company “Solel Bone” to implement the project. In 1969, the Temple was consecrated. Let’s go into it.
Church of the Annunciation
We are led to the Temple by a narrow Arab street, filled with the hubbub of visitors to countless small souvenir shops and cafes. Nothing, well, nothing at all, until it speaks of an upcoming meeting with the Holy Family. And so – until the very entrance, when we face the open space of the courtyard, which contrasts so strikingly with the streets just walked through. The massive building of the Temple, firmly standing on its foundations, its ceremonial pediment, clearly indicate who the Master is in this building. But we will not stop here for now, but in accordance with the rules of etiquette we will go to the southern part of the Temple to greet the Mistress of the house, which meets us here and to which everything is dedicated here.
The Virgin Mary appears before us in all the integrity of her young age, dressed in a casual, modest dress, arms outstretched in a typical Jewish greeting-invitation. Now only She knows that which is open to Her, but with the birth of the Son, the whole World will know about it, which will explode in the grateful words of the antiphon carved on strips of red sandstone pediment:
“Greetings to you, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, Mother of our lives. Our dear and our hope, we cry to you and send you our moans, suffer and cry in the depths of our tears. O most generous Intercessor, look at us with eyes of pity and at the place of our exile – show us the fruit of your womb, Blessed Jesus. O merciful! O beloved! O sweetest Virgin Mary! “