Leigh Hatts  

The Annunciation at the Holy House

Angels carrying the Holy House

This weekend we have an opportunity to look back nine months to the Annunciation on Saturday 25 March.

At the time we were all thinking about Mothering Sunday the next day.

This December weekend sees the annual celebration at Loreto in Italy where the Virgin Mary’s Nazareth house is now found inside a basilica.

The Holy House is the front part of the building where Mary and her parents lived in Nazareth. Here Mary may have been conceived (as we recalled yesterday).

It was also the scene of the Annunciation when Mary as a young woman was informed by the angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of Jesus.

The tiny building, once attached to a cave, was transported from the Holy Land to Italy in 1273.

The Angeli family masterminded the operation which gave rise to the idea that the house was carried to Loreto by angels. It has inspired lovely iconography featuring angels carrying a house..

This year Our Lady of Loreto Day on 10 December, marking the arrival of the Holy House in Italy, will not have the usual wide observance as it  is the Second Sunday of Advent.

But in Loreto there is a celebration tonight.

On Sunday at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto & St Michael, in Musselburgh near Edinburgh, the congregation will sing their own Loreto hymn Wond’rous the throne from which Gabriel came  written and composed by Roy McGillivray, who died  year ago, and his wife Catrina.

A replica of the Holy House can be found at the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk.


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