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Six months after John the Forerunner’s conception, the Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth, a town
of Galilee, unto Mary the Virgin, who had come forth from the Temple a mature maiden (see Nov. 21). According
to the tradition handed down by the Fathers, she had been betrothed to Joseph four months. On coming to
Joseph’s house, the Archangel declared: “Rejoice, thou Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou
among women.” After some consideration, and turmoil of soul, and fear because of this greeting, the Virgin,
when she had finally obtained full assurance concerning God’s unsearchable condescension and the ineffable
dispensation that was to take place through her, and believing that all things are possible to the Most High, answered
in humility: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” And at this, the Holy
Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her all-blameless womb, and the Son
and Word of God, Who existed before the ages, was conceived past speech and understanding, and became
flesh in her immaculate body (Luke 1:26-38).

Bearing in her womb the Uncontainable One, the blessed Virgin went with haste from Nazareth to the hill country
of Judea, where Zacharias had his dwelling; for she desired to find Elizabeth her kinswoman and rejoice together
with her, because, as she had learned from the Archangel, Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. Furthermore,
she wished to tell her of the great things that the Mighty One had been well-pleased to bring to pass
in her, and she greeted Elizabeth and drew nigh to her. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she felt her sixmonth-old
babe, Saint John the Baptist, prophesied of the dawning of the spiritual Sun. Immediately, the aged
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and recognized her as the Mother of her Lord, and with a great voice
blessed her and the Fruit that she held within herself. The Virgin also, moved by a supernatural rejoicing in the
spirit, glorified her God and Savior, saying: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God
my Saviour,” and the rest, as the divine Luke hath recorded (1:39-55)