Dormition Fast Begins

Standing at your deathbed, the Apostles cried aloud in wonder:
The Palace of the King withdraws: the Ark of holiness is raised on high.
Let the gates be opened wide that the Gate of God
may enter into abundant joy,
She who asks without ceasing for great mercy on the world.

Several years ago, I was sharing with an Orthodox pilgrim the thought that the Dormition fast, though short, was very intense spiritually and that hardships seemed to befall people more in those two weeks than in the long Apostles’ fast. Without hesitation he responded, “Of course! Lent is the hardest, but after Christ, who does the devil hate the most? The holy Mother of God!” And how true! Many years the Dormition fast catches us off guard. Our flesh groans, “But the Apostles’ fast just ended!” However, the Dormition fast is an extremely important fast. It is short but intense, therefore an excellent opportunity for spiritual exercise.

First and foremost, we keep the short but strict Dormition fast with care and attention because we love the Mother of God. She helps us, she loves us, she attends to our needs, and with the boldness of a mother, she intercedes with her Son on our behalf; not because He doesn’t already know our needs, but because that’s what a loving mother does! She is the foremost of the saints, the first Christian, the chosen one, the bush that burned but was not consumed, the ark, the tabernacle, the chalice, and the gateway to salvation. She loves us because we are her Son’s. She loves what He loves. By honoring her we honor Him, and because of Him we honor her.

Secondly, we keep the Dormition fast with diligence because Satan and his demons hate her whom we love. They would have her dishonored and, even better, forgotten, for the Incarnation of Christ through her is all mankind’s opportunity for salvation and deification—adoption by the Father into spiritual kinship with the Son. We take heed of this reality every year for, after the Resurrection, the powers of darkness despise the Dormition of Mary the most. She believed, she was saved, she suffered and was persecuted for the sake of her Son. His love for her would not endure that she should experience decay in the grave, so He took her bodily into heaven after her death.

During the Dormition fast each year, take time to reread the account of the Virgin Mary’s death and bodily assumption. It will touch your soul and energize you spiritually. And it is a great adventure! The Apostles find themselves caught up in clouds and whisked to Jerusalem from various continents where they are evangelizing. The Jewish leaders plot to kill the blessed Virgin, fearing that a following will arise after her death as it did for her Son. Lightning shoots from her house to defeat the Jewish attackers. After her death, one man has his hands cut off by the sword of an angel for attempting to overturn her bier while in procession. He repents, is healed by prayer, and joins the burial procession, glorifying the True God and bearing witness to the holiness of His Mother. The Apostle Thomas arrives late and sees the Theotokos ascending bodily into heaven. As a gift she throws Thomas her sash (which is preserved on Mt. Athos). The Apostles and disciples then reopen her tomb, and she is not there.

The month of August is materially and spiritually a time of transition. The end of summer is in sight, last-chance vacations are squeezed in, and plans are being made for the beginning of school. It is a time of liturgical transition as well, for the annual celebration of Christ’s salvific journey on earth is coming to a close. The incarnate Son of God was enclosed physically in the womb of Mary, the Theotokos; therefore, the liturgical celebration of His ministry on earth is also encapsulated within her life. We began the liturgical year with the feast of her birth and end it now with the feast of her repose.

St. Lawrence Orthodox Church

See also
The Vision of the Theotokos Communing the Weary Fathers The Vision of the Theotokos Communing the Weary Fathers
On the One Who Saw the Panagia Communing the Weary Brothers With Heavenly Bread
The Vision of the Theotokos Communing the Weary Fathers The Vision of the Theotokos Communing the Weary Fathers
On the One Who Saw the Panagia Communing the Weary Brothers With Heavenly Bread
And when the fathers came, the Novice saw a wondrous vision, not sleeping but awake. That is, he saw a beautiful woman between two angels, who shined brighter than the rays of the sun. One held a cup full of heavenly bread, and the other a small cloth. And that beautiful woman, who was our Lady, held a golden spoon, and each brother came forward in his turn and the angel wiped their face with the cloth. After they venerated the Panagia, she took the spoon and gave them the heavenly bread.
Our Mom Our Mom
His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria
Our Mom Our Mom
His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria
Along with the entire choir of Saints in the Kingdom of Heaven, together with those also who live today in the trenches of life and with the prayers of those who support the world, we also send her our supplications. My Panagia, my joy, my consolation, my hope, my breath, save us from every circumstance.
A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
St. Gregory Palamas
A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
St. Gregory Palamas
If, then, "death of the righteous man is honorable" (cf. Ps. 115:6) and the "memory of the just man is celebrated with songs of praise" (Prov. 10:7), how much more ought we to honor with great praises the memory of the holiest of the saints, she by whom all holiness is afforded to the saints, I mean the Ever-Virgin. Mother of God! Even so we celebrate today her holy dormition or translation to another life, whereby, while being "a little lower than angels" (Ps. 8:6), by her proximity to the God of all, and in the wondrous deeds which from the beginning of time were written down and accomplished with respect to her, she has ascended incomparably higher than the angels and the archangels and all the super-celestial hosts that are found beyond them.
Comments
Theo8/16/2016 7:58 pm
With all due respect to Fr. Thaddeus Hardenbrook's priesthood and his community, they are on the new calendar so I think that it's somewhat misleading to title this article " Dormition Fast Begins" since they just ended their fast. The Jewish leaders plotted to kill the Virgin Mary, but what of the priest that murders his fellow priest in his heart and plots against him? What of the man with so little conviction that on a month to month bases he shifts back and forth depending on what benefits him (not his flock) the most. Would you like to join a Church where a priest will betray his spiritual father, lie about his spiritual brother priest/ assistant priest so that he can have him removed out of his way for him to become the main priest? Does it appeal to you to have a form of religion but deny the power thereof? Then find any church under the so called "Palestinian Jordanian vicariate" that Fr. Thaddeus belongs to and enjoy the mockery of Christ, His holy sacraments and His church. There you will find everything an anti-Christian desires.
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