The Catholic Church has so much beauty and history!
March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation. The Catholic Church celebrates Mary’s “yes” to the Archangel Gabriel after he asked her to be the Mother of Jesus.
This feast also takes place exactly nine months before Christmas Day!
According to tradition, the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel was established at the very site of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary. It is also believed to be Mary’s childhood home.
The basilica has two stories. The top story is for Nazareth’s Catholic parish community. The bottom level consists of a cave and grotto where it is believed Mary once lived and said “yes” to the angel Gabriel.
It is also the largest Christian Church in the Middle East.
While the large basilica was constructed in 1969, it is said an original shrine consisting of an altar and a cave was built in the mid-4th century.
Here’s a photo of the location in the Basilica where Gabriel appeared to Mary:
This 18th century altar is located on the bottom level of the Basilica of the Annunciation. Tradition holds that it contains the remains of Mary’s childhood home and is the location where the annunciation took place.
The altar’s latin inscription reads, “Verbum Caro Hic Factum Est,” which means, “here the word was made flesh (Jn. 1:14).” The stairs behind the altar lead to “Mary’s kitchen” and a yard exit.
The pillar to the right of the altar, most likely built around the 4th century, represents the location where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary.
Here’s some additional photos of the cave and grotto, or the lower level of the basilica:
Here’s some photos of the basilica’s upper level:
This 170-ft cupola represents a lily! ☝️