Next Wednesday, 28th August new style and 15th August old style, our Church will celebrate the great feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, it is also our Patronal Feast. HE Archbishop Mark will be coming to serve the Vigil service on Tuesday night and the Liturgy on Wednesday.
The Dormition feast is always preceded by a short 14 day fast. Apart the usual dietary fasting constraints, and avoiding unnecessary social events, including attending parties, cinema, and theatres etc., a pious custom is to read the Supplicatory Canon to the Mother of God either at alone at home or with the family or in Church in the evening. This feast is the last of great feasts of the Church’s liturgical year, and the day itself isn’t a time for mourning, but for rejoicing the our Holy Mother has moved from the temporal life here, and entered into the wonderful life of the world to come, and there she prays for us before the throne of everlasting Grace.
St. Symeon of Thessalonica wrote “The Dormition fast was established in honour of the Mother of God the Word; Who, foreknowing Her repose, ascetically laboured and fasted for us as always, although She was holy and immaculate, and had no need for fasting. Thus, She especially prayed for us in preparation for being transported from this life to the future life, when Her blessed soul would be united through the Divine spirit with Her Son. Therefore, we also should fast and praise Her, emulating Her life, urging Her thereby to pray for us. Some, by the way, say that this fast was instituted on the occasion of two feasts—the Transfiguration and the Dormition. I also consider it necessary to remember these two feasts—one which gives us light, and the other which is merciful to us and intercedes for us.”