Today, Orthodox believers of the entire world celebrate one of the most significant events in Christian history—the day of Annunciation.
This day is considered to be so great that it never gets cancelled or cut short even if it falls on the Holy Week like it is this year…
This religious holiday is dedicated to the memory of the day when the Holy Virgin Mary had learnt about the Immaculate Conception.
This religious holiday is of tremendous significance for it proclaims the beginning of humanity's freedom from the eternal death. This is an ancient holiday; it belongs to the 12 most significant religious holidays and followed by even greater one called Easter
Annunciation or Lady Day has become a holiday on its own in mid VII century. It has always been a traditional theme of religious paintings. True believers have always followed the following tradition: people (peasants) used to free their birds from cages. This simple earthly symbol possessed immense meaning. It signified freeing oneself from the power of sins, thus clearing the road to Heaven.
Also, according to another belief, people used to burn their straw mattresses in order to rid themselves of illnesses. Women used to burn salt in their ovens believing that would acquire powers to do miracles and to heal.
Today, Patriarch of Moscow and the entire Russia Alexei II will conduct vespers and divine liturgy at the Blagoveshchensk Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. Right after the mass, he along with many kinds will free birds.