We have begun the Dormition Fast in honor of the Theotokos (Mother of God) and in preparation for the feast of Her Falling Asleep, or Dormition on the August 28th.
An ancient account, preserved in Christian history, recounts some of the words which the Mother of our Lord said before she herself was about to depart this life. Having gathered the Apostles to herself, brought from the ends of the earth where they had been preaching and evangelizing, she said to them:
“Do not sorrow, my children, for you make me sad when I see you cry so. Although I shall be going to my Son, O friends of my Son, yet I will not be apart from you… Do not darken my joy by your sorrow and mourning. Much rather, rejoice with me, for I am going to my Son and God. My body, which I have myself prepared for burial, commit to the earth in Gethsemane. Afterward, return again to the preaching of the Gospel appointed to you. If the Lord should will it, you shall see me after my departure” (The Great Synaxaristes, August 15).
Just as Christ rose from the dead, His Mother also was raised as the first human to experience what will happen to all of us.
The fact of Christ’s resurrection and that of His Mother proves to us that in fact the apparent division between our life here and beyond this world is a mere veil and just temporary. It also encourages us to live for this greater sense of life conjoined with the life of Christ.
During the time preceding the celebration of Her “Falling Asleep” we take special pleasure in calling on our Mother for all our needs and those of others. On Monday’s and Thursdays during this fast we will chant the Paraklesis, or Moleban, to the Mother of God at the Church at 5:30pm. Please join us at church or at home each day that you can.
The Paraklesis service can be found at https://www.goarch.org/-/the-service-of-the-small-paraklesis-intercessory-prayer-to-the-most-holy-theotokos. It consists of primarily the Canon of Supplication to the Most Holy Mother of God which can be found in the Jordanville Prayer Book (online version at http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm). How much the Mother of God responds to our heartfelt cries and supplications!