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Feast of the Annunciation

Today (March 25) is the Feast of the Annunciation which celebrates Archangel Gabriel's visit to Mary, bringing her a lily and the news that in nine months, she would give birth to Jesus.

And legend has it that March 25 is also the date when Venice was founded, in the year 421 AD. Garry Wills' book, "Venice: Lion City" explores "the religion of empire" and all the many ways the Venetians interwove their history with the sacred Christian stories. He notes "the serene assurance Venetians had that the Virgin of the Annunciation blesses everything they do" and makes the funny observation that "only the Venetians could be confident that their city, born miraculously from the sea, is an earthly echo of the conception of the Saviour himself." (!)

There are scenes of the Annunciation all over Venice, most notably on the Rialto bridge and also at the city's highest point (on top of the San Marco campanile). Here's a smaller and more humble one, which can be found on the same building as the one in the my last post.


Archangel Gabriel on the left and Mary on the right~

Archangel Gabriel


March 25 is always a day of celebration in Venice, but this year, the festivities include welcoming the new Patriarch of Venice who was appointed by the Pope in January. After visiting various churches on the mainland, the Patriarch came to Venice, did a blessing of the children ceremony at Santa Lucia station, processed down the Grand Canal, stopped at Santa Maria della Salute for prayer, and then went to San Marco for Mass. There are some photos of these festivities on Flickr. Benvenuto Patriarca Francesco!

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Comments (7)

That is a rather masculine looking Mary!

I really enjoy your blog Annie.

Thanks Susie! You're right about Mary and now that I look more closely, Gabriel seems more feminine!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, I had no idea that Venice was founded on March 25. I enjoyed reading about this special day and seeing your photos.

Thanks so much for sharing your photos and links. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Hi Annie: Fascinating! Wonderfully written and detailed post. Thank you. M


What an interesting Annunciation (and legend about Venice's founding!)


March 25th is also my birthday! :)

Happy Birthday, Anne!

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