Today we celebrate the Dormition or the falling-asleep of the Most Pure Mother of God. We remember how Archangel Gabriel, who had announced the birth of her son, came to her three days before her Dormition. We recall the arrival of the Apostles to Jerusalem to say good-bye to her, and how her face shone as Christ took her soul.
The Holy Theotokos is revered by the Church as “more honourable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim.” To us, she is the ultimately saved person, a human person like all of who had the capability of sinning but did not sin. She was chosen by God to become His Most-Pure vessel. She suffered the sorrow of her own son being crucified before her eyes, surviving her son by twelve years. She experienced at the moment of her death already the resurrection which we will all inherit. Indeed, the Dormition of the Mother of God is a kind of a summer Pascha, which reaffirms our hope of an ever-increasing progression into the depth of the love of God.
The Dormition Feast ends the two-week Dormition Fast and is the last great feast in the Orthodox liturgical calendar. At our Convent, we are preparing to conduct the Great Vespers on the eve, and a Matins and the Divine Liturgy on the morning of the Feast. The services can be viewed online through our YouTube channel.
We honour the Virgin Mary as the spiritual mother of God’s children. She leads us along to God. She comforts and reassures us on the journey to His Kingdom, and embraces us with His Divine love. On the feast day of the Holy Dormition, we venerate the mother of Life who was translated to life, the one who did not forsake the world when falling asleep, and who delivers our souls from death by her prayers.
January 14 will mark eight days since Christmas for us. According to Saint Luke’s Gospel, January 14 is the day when Jesus Christ was circumcised, following the law of Moses. What is the meaning of this feast?