Dormition of the Mother of God

Dormition of the Mother of God
DateAugust 15
Next time15 August 2018 (2018-08-15)
Frequencyannual
Icon of the Dormition by El Greco, 16th century (Cathedral of the Dormition, Ermoupolis).

The Dormition of the Mother of God (Greek: Κοίμησις Θεοτόκου, Koímēsis Theotokou often anglicized as Kimisis; Slavonic: Успение Пресвятыя Богородицы, Uspenie Presvetia Bogoroditsi; Georgian: მიძინება ყოვლადწმიდისა ღვთისმშობელისა) is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of Mary the Theotokos ("Mother of God", literally translated as God-bearer), and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on 15 August (28 August N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar) as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Dormition not on a fixed date, but on the Sunday nearest 15 August.

The death or Dormition of Mary is not recorded in the Christian canonical scriptures.

Hyppolitus of Thebes, a 7th- or 8th-century author, claims in his partially preserved chronology to the New Testament that Mary lived for 11 years after the death of Jesus, dying in AD 41.[1]

The term Dormition expresses the belief that the Virgin died without suffering, in a state of spiritual peace. This belief does not rest on any scriptural basis, but is based on apocryphal writings.[citation needed] In Pseudo-John the Evangelist's Liber de Dormitione Mariae, lit. "Book of the Dormition of Mary", known in English as "The Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God", Mary's soul is carried to heaven, while her body is carried away by angels to be preserved util the ultimate resurrection.[2]

Dormition fast

The Feast of the Dormition is preceded by a two-week fast, referred to as the Dormition Fast. From August 1 to August 14 (inclusive) Orthodox and Eastern Catholics fast from red meat, poultry, meat products, dairy products (eggs and milk products), fish, oil, and wine. The Dormition Fast is a stricter fast than either the Nativity Fast (Advent) or the Apostles' Fast, with only wine and oil (but no fish) allowed on weekends. As with the other Fasts of the Church year, there is a Great Feast that falls during the Fast; in this case, the Transfiguration (August 6), on which fish, wine and oil are allowed.

In some places, the services on weekdays during the Fast are similar to the services during Great Lent (with some variations). Many churches and monasteries in the Russian tradition perform the lenten services on at least the first day of the Dormition Fast. In the Greek tradition, during the Fast either the Great Paraklesis (Supplicatory Canon) or the Small Paraklesis is celebrated every evening except Saturday evening and the Eves of the Transfiguration and the Dormition.[3]

The first day of the Dormition Fast is a feast day called the Procession of the Cross (August 1), on which day it is customary to have an outdoor procession and perform the Lesser Blessing of Water. In Eastern Orthodoxy it is also the day of the Holy Seven Maccabees, Martyrs Abimus, Antonius, Gurias, Eleazar, Eusebonus, Alimus, and Marcellus, their mother Solomonia, and their teacher Eleazar. Therefore, the day is sometimes referred to as "Makovei". Finally it is also considered the First of the three "Feasts of the Saviour" in August, the Feast to the All-Merciful Saviour and the Most Holy Mother of God.[4]

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