The Tenderness of the Mother of God Versus Rudeness, the Rule of Contemporary Pseudo-culture

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Today is one of the most important of the Twelve Great Feasts. We glorify the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God.

There was no human honour or glory in the life of the Queen of Heaven. And the only event linked with Her earthly life, surrounded by honour and glory, is Her falling asleep. We know about the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God from the Tradition of the Church, from reliable testimonies of the ancient Church Fathers, starting with St Dionysius the Areopagite and Melito of Sardis as well as St Epiphanius of Cyprus, St Ambrose of Milan and St Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem. The first five centuries of Christian history already commemorate in a great many detailed accounts the earthly life of the Most Holy Mother of God and Her Dormition.

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The Dormition: Icon of Hope

On August 15, the Dormition of the Mother of God is celebrated by most Christians in the world. The Church year begins on September 1, and the first Great Feast of the year is the Nativity of the Theotokos, making the Dormition of the Theotokos the last great feast of the year. It is entirely fitting that these two feasts – celebrating the birth and falling-asleep of Mary respectively – should buttress the entire church calendar. The Church calendar tells us the story of our Salvation in the traditional way, with the climax of the story coming in the middle, which is when Easter is celebrated, before ending in a way which is somewhat symmetrical and complimentary to the beginning. Therefore, the final “scene” in our story of Salvation is the Dormition of Mary, the Mother of God.

The Icon of the feast depicts various strands of the story in one single frame. The story is this:

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The Dormition of Theotokos (3)

Sermon (3) by St. John of Damascus

LOVERS are wont to speak of what they love, and to let their fancy run on it by day and night. Let no one therefore blame me, if I add a third tribute to the Mother of God, on her triumphant departure. I am not profiting her, but myself and you who are here present, putting before you a spiritual seasoning and refreshment in keeping with this holy night. We are suffering, as you see, from scarcity of eatables. Therefore I am extemporising a repast, which, if not very costly nor worthy of the occasion, will certainly be sufficient to still hunger. She does not need our praise. It is we who need her glory. How indeed can glory be glorified, or the source of light be enlightened? We are weaving a crown for ourselves in the doing. «I live,» the Lord says, «and I will glorify those who glorify Me.» [202] Wine is truly pleasant to drink, and bread to eat.

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The Dormition of Theotokos (2)

Sermon (2) by St. John of Damascus

THERE is no one in existence who is able to praise worthily the holy death of God’s Mother, even if he should have a thousand tongues and a thousand mouths. Not if all the most eloquent tongues could be united would their praises be sufficient. She is greater than all praise. Since, however, God is pleased with the efforts of a loving zeal, and the Mother of God with what concerns the service of her Son, suffer me now to revert again to her praises. This is in obedience to your orders, most excellent pastors, so dear to God, and we call upon the Word made flesh of her to come to our assistance. He gives speech to every mouth which is opened for Him. He is her sole pleasure and adornment. We know that in celebrating her praises we pay off our debt, [172] and that in so doing we are again debtors, so that the debt is ever beginning afresh.

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The Dormition of Theotokos (1)

Sermon by St. John of Damascus

THE memory of the just takes place with rejoicing, said Solomon, the wisest of men; for precious in God’s sight is the death of His saints, according to the royal* David. If, then, the memory of all the just is a subject of rejoicing, who will not offer praise to justice in its source, and holiness in its treasure-house? It is not mere praise; it is praising with the intention of gaining eternal glory. God’s dwelling-place does not need our praise, that city of God, concerning which great things were spoken, as holy.† David addresses it in these words: «Glorious things are said of thee, thou city of God.» What sort of city shall we choose for the invisible and uncircumscribed God, who holds all things in His hand, if not [148] that city which alone is above nature, giving shelter without circumscription* to the supersubstantial Word of God? Glorious things have been spoken of that city by God himself. For what is more exalted than being made the recipient of God’s counsel, which is from all eternity?

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A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

by St. Gregory Palamas

Both love and duty today fashion my homily for your charity. It is not only that I wish, because of my love for you, and because I am obliged by the sacred canons, to bring to your God-loving ears a saving word and thus to nourish your souls, but if there be any among those things that bind by obligation and love and can be narrated with praise for the Church, it is the great deed of the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. The desire is double, not single, since it induces me, entreats and persuades me, whereas the inexorable duty constrains me, though speech cannot attain to what surpasses it, just as the eye is unable to look fixedly upon the sun. One cannot utter things which surpass speech, yet it is within our power by the love for mankind of those hymned, to compose a song of praise and all at once both to leave untouched intangible things, to satisfy the debt with words and to offer up the first fruits of our love for the Mother of God in hymns composed according to our abilities.

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The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

The Assumption of Theotokos by Murillo

Although probably not unknown in the early Church, the earliest references to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary appear in the 4th (or possibly late 3rd) century in Liber Requiei Mariae(The Book of Mary’s Repose), and in the writings of a Bishop Meliton. […] St. John of Damascus (d. AD 755) relates a tradition where, during the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), the emperor Marcian and his wife wished to find the body of Mary. He tells how all the apostles had seen her death, but her tomb was empty upon inspection.

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The Dormition

Who is she who rises resplendent, all pure, and bright as the sun?

There is no mention of the Dormition or Assumption in the New Testament, only in apocryphal sources, but it is one of the earliest feast observed in the church. The feast of the Dormition dates at least from the 5th C. It was always celebrated in Jerusalem on this date, whilst in some other parts of the Eastern church the date varied. In the 7th C, the Byzantine emperor, Maurice decreed that the Dormition be celebrated everywhere on the 15th. Later the Western Church adopted the same date, but always kept it simply as the Assumption.

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Why a Fast for Dormition?

by Daniel Manzuk

It would be a gross understatement to say that much has been written about the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Yet very little has been written about the fast that precedes it.

Every Orthodox Christian is aware and generally knows the reason behind the fasts for Pascha and Christmas. But while they may know of the Dormition Fast, few follow it, and more than a few question why it is there, neither knowing its purpose. First, given the pervasive misunderstanding of the purpose of fasting itself, a refresher on its purpose is always a good idea.

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A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

by St. Gregory Palamas

Both love and duty today fashion my homily for your charity. It is not only that I wish, because of my love for you, and because I am obliged by the sacred canons, to bring to your God-loving ears a saving word and thus to nourish your souls, but if there be any among those things that bind by obligation and love and can be narrated with praise for the Church, it is the great deed of the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. The desire is double, not single, since it induces me, entreats and persuades me, whereas the inexorable duty constrains me, though speech cannot attain to what surpasses it, just as the eye is unable to look fixedly upon the sun. One cannot utter things which surpass speech, yet it is within our power by the love for mankind of those hymned, to compose a song of praise and all at once both to leave untouched intangible things, to satisfy the debt with words and to offer up the first fruits of our love for the Mother of God in hymns composed according to our abilities.

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The Dormition of the Theotokos

The Feast of the Dormition or Falling Asleep of the Theotokos commemorates the death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ’s mother. To help us in our preparation of the feast, it is preceded by a two week fast. As with the Nativity of the Virgin (September 8/21) and the feast of her Entrance to the Temple (November 21/December 4), the Feast of the Dormition also comes from the Tradition of the Church. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Homélie sur la Dormition de notre Toute Pure, la Théotokos, la toujours Vierge Marie, par Saint Grégoire Palamas

Ensemble, l’amour et le devoir ont suscité mon homélie de ce jour, par amour pour vous. Ce n’est pas seulement que je le souhaite, du fait de mon amour pour vous, et parce que j’y suis contraint par les saints Canons, d’apporter à vos pieuses oreilles une parole salutaire et par là nourrir vos âmes, mais s’il y a bien une chose parmi celles qui lient par obligation et par amour et qui savent être rapportées avec ferveur pour l’Église, c’est la grandeur de la toujours Vierge Mère de Dieu. Le désir est double, pas simple, car il m’incite, me supplie et me persuade, en même temps que me force le devoir auquel on ne peut se soustraire, bien que le discours ne saurait atteindre ce qui le dépasse, de même que l’oeil n’est pas capable de fixer le soleil. Encore… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »