This icon is one of the six icons that comprise a 16th century set of Russian Holy Doors that are now in the Andrei Rublev Museum in Moscow. The Holy Doors separate the Bema, or altar area, from the Nave, or place where the Faithful stand during Church services in church. Usually they have the four Evangelists and also the Annunciation depicted in two icons, one of the Archangel Gabriel, and one of the Virgin Mary when he gives her the astonishing news that if she agrees, she will bear a son, yet remain a virgin, effectively reversing the disobedience of the first Eve in Paradise who heard evil advice and said yes to it.
The Archangel Gabriel is often sent by God to bring important news for our salvation. Here he tells the Virgin about Christ’s Incarnation, which occurs right after she says yes to do God’s Will. He also told the Prophet Zacharias and the Righteous Elizabeth about the coming birth of their son, St. John the Baptist; told the Righteous Joachim and Anna that she would conceive and bear the Virgin Mary, and told Moses the narrative of Genesis and the origin of the world. Gabriel means, “Man of God” in Hebrew.