Passion and Annunciation – the Lily Crucifix

Annunciation from the Llanbeblig Book of Hours – click on image for larger view

In Passiontide a crucifix is laid in front of the altar in the side chapel where we celebrate Mass each day. In the last two weeks of Lent we focus on the cross of Christ, our God.

The Feast of the Annunciation often falls towards the end of Lent, in Passiontide. The timing brings special poignancy to the feast. We were reminded that Mary’s ‘Yes’ led to the birth of the Son of God, the birth of Christ who entered our humanity and knew its passion and its death.

In medieval England it was believed the crucifixion took place on the same day as the Annunciation, March 25th.

This gave rise to an image only found in medieval Britain – the lily crucifix. An image of Our Lord crucified is worked among lilies. In the late 14th century Llanbeblig book of hours Our Lady is shown at the Annunciation with a vase of lilies shaped as a crucifix next to her.

Stained Glass Lily Crucifix in Long Melford Church, Suffolk

Each Sunday at St Chrysostom’s at the end of the Angelus the prayer sung is the collect of the feast of the Annunciation and it too connects the Annunciation with the passion of Our Lord.

As the prayer is sung in front of Our Lady’s statue we remember the Annunciation but we also remember Our Lord’s death as we make the sign of the cross ourselves.

We beseech you, O Lord, pour your grace into our hearts, that as we have known the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of an angel, so by his cross and passion we may be brought to the glory of his resurrection. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
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