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Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos (One of the Twelve Great Feasts, class 2)

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Cycle Preparing
Dormition
Preparing
Fasting
Dormition
Preparating
Praying
Feast
Procession
Holy Cross
Feast
Transfiguration
Feast
Dormition
Feast
Blessing
Flowers
Celebrating
Dormition

 

FeastEvent
Commem-
orated
Action
of Event
Significance
of Event
CelebrateApostolosGospelDateClass
Dormition
of
Theotokos
Theotokos'
going
to heaven.
Holy God's
taking
Theotokos'
body
and soul
into heaven.
Preview
of
transfig-
uration
that
awaits
all of us
in the
Kingdom
to come.
Possi-
bility
of our
"eternal
life".
Phil.
2:5-11
Lk.
10:38-42,
11:27-28
15
Aug.
Great
Feast
Class
2

15 August - Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos celebrates the wondrous way in which Theotokos' left this earthly life and was taken into heaven in a miraculous way: both body and soul. Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ received her soul and body into heaven. The Theotokos left behind an empty tomb filled with the fragrance of sweet-smelling flowers.

The Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos recalls the physical glorification of Mary as she shares in the resurrection life of her Son, Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. When, at her death (or falling asleep, that is, dormition), Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christrist received her body and soul into heaven, He in a way gave all humanity a preview of the transfiguration that awaits all of us in the Kingdom to come. Holy Tradition tells us that all the Apostles, except Holy and Glorious Apostle Thomas, were transported mystically to Jerusalem in order to be with The Theotokos as she died and present at her burial. When Holy and Glorious Apostle Thomas arrived the next day, they opened the tomb so that he could say his farewell. They found only an empty tomb filled with sweet-smelling flowers. We bless sweet-smelling flowers in remembrance of this great sign of her holiness.

"Dormition" is a Latin word meaning "Falling asleep".

According to Archbishop Joseph Raya

Most of the story of the life and the death of The Theotokos is not in the Bible, but in other very early Christian writings. Archbishop Joseph Raya tells it this way: "According to a very early Christian legend, while the apostles were scattered all over the the then-known world, preaching the Gospel, Mary remained in Jerusalem in the house of John [the Beloved Disciple]. Her love of God, like an ardent flame, burned steadily in her body. Finally it was revealed to her that her life was about to end. She wished to see the Twelve Apostles once more before she died. Each one of them was miraculously carried away from where he happened to be and borne on a cloud to the house on Mount Sion in Jerusalem where Mary was approaching death; every one of them, that is, except Thomas. They saw Christ Himself come down from heaven and receive the soul of His Mother in His arms. They took her holy body and placed it in the tomb prepared for it in the valley of Cedron, near Gethsemani. Thomas arrived three days later, when all was over. He wished to see for the last time the face of the woman who had been the Temple of God. He went with the other apostles to the tomb, which they opened. They found it empty, but heard an angelic concert. [It is also said that the beautiful fragrance of flowers filled the empty tomb, and this is why we bless flowers on this day.] Mary herself appeared to them and confirmed the fact of her assumption into heaven."

Our Transfiguration

Each one of us is called to be transfigured--changed by the power of Holy God so that we also shine with divine love and grace.

The Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos and the Great Feast of the of the Transfiguration of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, on August 6, remind us of our need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in our own transfiguration toward the holiness and perfection that God created us to share with the Holy Trinity. We work toward this transfiguration by prayer, fasting, and sharing the many gifts God has given us.

Each one of us shares in Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ's divinity just as Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ shares our humanity. Hopefully, we too will ultimately be transfigured to new and perfect life with Holy God in eternity.

Blessing of Flowers at the End of the Divine Liturgy

At the End of the Divine Liturgy, there is the Blessing of Flowers.

Kontakion, Troparion, Exapostilarion, and Vespers Sticheron

Troparion (Tone 1)
"In giving birth you have preserved your virginity and in falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Mother of God. You have passed to life, being the Mother of Life. Through your intercession, save our souls from death."

Kontakion (Tone 2)
"Neither death nor the tomb could hold the Mother of God, our watchful Protectress and our unfailing hope. Since she is the Mother of Life, Christ who dwelt in her ever-virginal womb lifted her up to the eternal life."

Hirmos

(Tone 1)
"All human generations bless you, O Mother of God. The laws of nature were overcome in you, O Pure Virgin: for your birth-giving left you a virgin, and your death became the herald of your life. O you who remained virgin after giving birth, and alive after having died, O Mother of God, deign always to save your inheritance."

Antiphon

Palsm 131
Though the prayers of the Theotokos, O Saviour, save us.
Be shafa'ati Walidat il ilah, ya Mukhalles, Khallisna.
Tes bresvee-yes tees Theotokou, Soter, soson imas.

Holy Bible

The story of the life and the death of The Theotokos is not in the Holy Bible. The story is in other very early Christian writings. Because the Holy Dormition is not recorded in the Holy Bible, the Epistle and Gospel readings for this Feast don't refer directly to The Theotokos. But these readings help us to understand The Theotokos importance in God's Plan of Salvation.

Apostolos

Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Paul's Letter to the Philippians (chapter 2, verses 5-11). The reading talks about the birth as a Human Being (Man) of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, the Savior of All People. He emptied Himself and was born as a Man and became humble and obedient, even to the point of death on the Cross. Therefore, Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ was glorified and exalted by Holy God, so that every knee "in heaven and on earth and under the earth" should bend to honor His Holy Name.

Gospel

Holy Apostle Luke the Evangelist (chapter 10, verses 38-42 and chapter 11, verses 27-28). The reading is the story of Mary and Martha. This story is read because the Mary sits at the feet of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ and listens to Him. Mary gives all her attention to the Word of God, which is what the Theotokos did, and which Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ says is the only thing that is needed.
The Mary in the story is not the Theotokos.
The story is read on almost every feast of the Theotokos.

Ikon

The ikon for The Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos shows The Theotokos lying on her deathbed, surrounded by eleven of the Apostles, and Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ receiving her soul in heaven.

Feast Day

The Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos is a feast day. The reason is that fasting is forbidden on all Great Feast days with the exception of The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Lifegiving Holy Cross.
Feasting begins at the beginning of the Vespers of the Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos (15 August) on 14 August evening. Feasting ends just before the Vespers of the Holy Hieromartyr Eutyches (24 August) on 23 August evening.

The Paraclisis is Said

The Paraclisis is said during the two weeks before the Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos, from August 1 to August 14.

History

The Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos became popular throughout the Byzantine Empire between 588 and 602. Theodore I, Pope from 642 to 649, who was a Byzantine Christian from Jerusalem, introduced this feast to the Church of Rome and the West.

The Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos is is the oldest feast of the Mother of God.

The Western Church calls this feast "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary".

Paper

Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God Saint Ann Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Paterson, NJ

More Information

The Dormition Saint Joseph Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Click on Feasts of Our Lady the Theotokos

Ikon

The Dormition Saint Joseph Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Click on Feasts of Our Lady the Theotokos

Fasting and Feasting Period
ActionNameTime
FastDormition Fast
Theotokos Fast
Our Lady's Fast
Begins just before the Vespers
of the Feast of the Procession of the Holy Cross (1 August)
on 31 July evening evening
Ends just before Vespers
of the Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos (15 August)
on 14 August evening.
FeastGreat Feast of the Dormition of The TheotokosBegins at the beginning of the Vespers
of the Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos (15 August)
on 14 August evening.
Ends just before the Vespers
of the Holy Hieromartyr Eutyches (24 August)
on 23 August evening.

 

Preparation
DayCommemorateDateApostolosGospel
Dormition
Fast

Begins
Our Lady's
Fast
Fast
Begins
just before
Vespers
31 July
  
 Procession
of
Holy Cross


Seven
Holy
Macchabees,
their
mother
Salome
and
their
instructor,
Elder
Eleazar
1Heb.
11:33-12:2a
Mt.
10:16-22
Transfig-
uration
of
Our Lord,
God
Savior,
Jesus
Christ
Jesus
Christ's

transfig-
uration
62
Pet.
1:10-19
Mt.
17:1-9
Vigil
of
Dormition
Theotokos
Holy Prophet
Micheas
14  
Dormition
Fast

Ends
Our Lady's
Fast
Ends
just before
Vespers
14
  

 

Celebration
DayCommemorateDateApostolosGospel
Dormition
of
Theotokos
Theotokos'
going
to heaven.
15Phil.
2:5-11
Lk.
10:38-42,
11:27-28
Second Day
Celebration
Transfer
of icon
of Holy Veil
of our Lord,
God and
Savior,
Jessus Christ,

Holy Martyr
Diomedes
162 Cor.
11:5-21a
1 Tim
3:13-4:5
Mk.
4:1-9
Lk.
9-51-56
10-22-24
13:22
Third Day
Celebration
Holy Martyr
Myron
17  
Fourth Day
Celebration
Holy Martyrs
Florus
and Laurus
18  
Fifth Day
Celebration
Holy Martyrs
Andrew the
Centurion
and his two
thousand
five hundred
and
niety-three
companions
19  
Sixth Day
Celebration
Holy Prophet
Samuel
20  
Seventh Day
Celebration
Holy Apostle
Thaddeus

Holy Woman
Martyr Bassa
and her
children
21  
Eight day
Dormition
of
Theotokos
Holy Martyr
Agathonicos
and his
companions
22  
Leave
taking
Dormition
of
Theotokos
Holy Martyr
Luppus

Holy HieroMartyr
Irenaeus
Bishop of Lyons
23  

 

All The Theotokos's Great Feasts are Class 2.

The Theotokos's Great Feasts
FeastEvent
Commem-
orated
Action
of Event
Significance
of Event
CelebrateApostolosGospelDateClass
Nativity
of
Theotokos
Future
Theotokos'
birth
Future
Theotokos
being
born.
Beginning
of work
of
salvation,
because
she was
to be
Theotokos.
Theotokos
birthday.
Phil.
2:5-11
Lk.
10:38-42,
11:27-28
8
Sept.
Great
Feast
Class
2
Entrance
of
Theotokos
into
Temple
Future
Theotokos'
entrance
into
Temple.
Future
Theotokos
entering
unaided
into
Temple's
Holy
of Holies.
Future
Temple
of Holy God
enters
into
His Temple's
Holy
of Holies
Future
Theotokos's
union
with Holy God.
Heb.
9:1-7
Lk.
10:38-42,
11:27-28
21
Nov.
Great
Feast
Class
2
ºHoly
Hypapanty
of Our Lord,
God
Savior,
Jesus
Christ

ºPurifi-
cation
of
Theotokos
ºJesus
Christ's

presen-
tation
at Temple.


ºTheotokos'
purification.
Theotokos
bringing
Jesus
Christ
to Temple
at prescribed
time
for prescribed
rituals.
Messiah's
first
meeting
with
His
people.
A step
in process
of our
redemption.
Heb.
7:7-17
Lk.
2:22-40
2
Feb.
Great
Feast
Class
2
Annun-
ciation
of
Theotokos
Ever
Virgin Mary
Jesus
Christ's

conception
in
human
form
Incar-
nation.
Future
Theotokos'
accepting
Holy God's will
saying yes
to Holy God.
Holy God
becomes
human
Incar-
nation.
Beginning
of process
of our
redemption.
Heb.
2:11-18
Lk.
1:24-38
25
March
Great
Feast
Class
2
Dormition
of
Theotokos
Theotokos'
going
to heaven.
Holy God's
taking
Theotokos'
body
and soul
into heaven.
Preview
of
transfig-
uration
that
awaits
all of us
in the
Kingdom
to come.
Possi-
bility
of our
"eternal
life".
Phil.
2:5-11
Lk.
10:38-42,
11:27-28
15
Aug.
Great
Feast
Class
2

Liturgical Cycle

Liturgical Cycle
Calendar 2001 / 2002 Liturgical Cycle

Great Feast Days

Great Feast Days

Feasts Days - Specific

Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ
The Theotokos
The Holy Prophet and Glorious Forerunner John the Baptist


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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center
Martha Liles
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O God of all spirits and of all flesh, who have destroyed death, overcome the devil, and given life to the world: grant, O Lord, to the souls of your servants Bucky and Shirley, who has departed from this life, that it may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him/her every sin he/she has committed by thought, or word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin : You alone are without sin, your righteousness is everlasting, and your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life, and the repose of your departed servants Bucky and Shirley. O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You, together with your eternal Father and your all-holy, good and life-givng Spirit, now and always and for ages upon ages. Amen.

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