The story of the feast

The Orthodox Feast The Dormition of the Holy LadyThe Day of the Dormition of the Holy Lady is one of twelve main Christian feasts, which was set up in honor of the event, when God's Mother finished her Earth life and her body and soul was taken by Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Heavens.

The Gospel of John tells that Jesus knew about all cross sufferings, so He asked His favorite disciple John to take care about His Mother:

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (Ин. 19, 26-27).

Holy Lady stayed in the house of John the Apostle near the Olive Mount. Like Apostles, she asserted young Christian Church with her presence, word and prayers. She came to believe in Jesus as the Savior; people came to the Jerusalem from far-off outskirts to see and listen to Holy Lady. She was an example of loyalty to Jesus as the Savior for Apostles and all believers.

Сhurch of the Dormition on top of Mount Zion, established on the site of house of St John the Revelator, where the Dormition occured

Сhurch of the Dormition on top of Mount Zion, established on the site of house of St John the Revelator, where the Dormition occured

She told them about all fantastic events of the Annunciation, conception from the Holy Spirit, the Birth of little Jesus, His childhood and His Earth life.

A lot of people who did not believe in the teachings of Jesus as the Savior of the humanity tried to kill the God's Mother, but the God's power stopped them. Mary often came to the Holy Grave in Golgotha and prayed there. During one of such visits, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Her and told about Her soon transmigration from this world to the Heaven world and he gave Her palm branch as the confirmation of his words. Mary told Apostle John about it; it was the good news, because she would see Her Son soon.

Due to the prayer of Holy Lady it happened so, that Apostles started to return from different far-off countries. Saint John of Damascus said that they came like clouds or eagles to serve the God's Mother. She told them that she would leave them soon. During Her talk with Apostles, Apostle Paul with his disciples appeared in front of them. The time of the Dormition of the Holy Lady came. Apostles encircled the bed where Holy Lady was lying.

The Orthodox Feast The Dormition tof the Holy LadyThe sudden light covered the flame of candles and Jesus Christ came surrounded by Angels and Archangels. The present people felt the sacred tremble. God's Mother said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant." And the soul of Holy Lady left this world and went in the eternal life.

Saint Apostles Pater, Paul, Jacob and others took the deathbed, where the body of Holy Lady was lying and carried it across all Jerusalem in the Gethsemane. The cloud of light appeared above the funeral procession and the heaven singing was heard. The chief priests were told about the funeral procession. They put the guards to disperse procession, but the cloud got down to the Earth and shielded them from the assailants. The steps and singing were heard but they did not see people. The chief priest Aphthoniah despite the cloud and tried to overturn the coffin, but his hands were cut by invisible power. Aphthoniah terrified and confessed; he comprehended that he acted against God, so he got heeling for it and he fervently started to profess the knowledge of Jesus. Apostles put the body of Holy Lady in the coffin and closed the entrance into the cave with big stone.

Because of the God's will, Apostle Thomas was not present on the funeral of Holy Lady. He came to the Jerusalem two days later and he started to cry near the family feretory. Apostles had a pity for him, so they moved the stone from the entrance to give Thomas opportunity to say goodbye. But Her body disappeared and there were only skirts in the cave. Holy Lady was taken to the heavens with body. In the evening of that day during the dinner God's Mother appeared to them and she said: "Be glad! I will be with you ever." Apostles were breaking bread and answered: "Oh Holy Lady, help us."

The traditions of the feast

The feast of the Dormition of the Holy Lady was set up by the Church since ancient times. It is mentioned in the works of Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine of Hippo and Saint Gregory of Tours. In the IV century the feast was celebrated in the Byzantine Empire. From 595 by order of Byzantine Emperor Maurice, who gained the victory over the Persians on 15 August, the Day of the Dormition of the Holy Lady became common church holiday. At first the feast was celebrated in different months: in one area in January, in other area in August. So, in VII century in the west, in the Roman Church on 18 January was celebrated "the Dormition of the Holy Lady" and on 14 August "Taking to Havens". The general celebration of the Dormition of the Holy Lady was determined on 15 August in the most Eastern and Western Churches only in VIII-IX centuries. According to the modern Gregorian calendar the Dormition of the Holy Lady is celebrated on August 28.

The main purpose of the feast was the glorification of the Holy Lady and Her Dormition. To this main purpose was added the other one - detection the mistakes of the heretics, who encroached on the dignity of Holy Lady; in particular the illusions of the heretics of the IV century, who denied the human nature of Holy Lady (consequently, they denied Her physical death).

The Orthodox Feast The Dormition tof the Holy LadyOn the feast of the Dormition of the Holy Lady, when everything grows ripe, people bring seeds and wheat of different crops for consecration. Such tradition was not only in the Kyiv Rus. For example in Greece people brought different fruits.

The popular tradition says: "The Dormition goes away, the autumn comes." The gathering of forest gifts: mushrooms and nuts starts after the Dormition feast. Good housewives start to prepare all vegetables for winter.

The feast comes running together with the end of the harvest time; people said goodbye to the summer at this day. It was considered that after the Dormition "the sun falls asleep", it means that it rise late, the swallows fly away.

In Ukraine from the time of First feast of the Holy Lady people start to sow winter crops and they finish it till the Second feast of the Holy Lady (The Birth of the Holy Lady) on September 21. The proverb says: "The First feast sows the wheat, the Second one helps to do it."

From the day of the Dormition of the Holy Lady the autumn evening parties were started; girls looked for bridegrooms. The first matchmakers were sent not earlier than two weeks after the Dormition and the "first matchmaker will show the way for other". From the day of the Protection of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary the period of weddings was started.

The Divine nature of the feast

The Orthodox Feast The Dormition tof the Holy LadyIn the Day of the Dormition of the Holy Lady the Church serves a mass for the death of the Lady, whose Son gained the victory over the death and raised from the dead and gave the Resurrection and eternal life to those who believe in Him. The death of God's Mother called Dormition as a sign of the fact that she fell asleep for some moment and then took the eternal life and the God's glory. Holy Lady gave her soul in the hands of Her Son Our Lord Jesus Christ and He received her.

The Virgin Mary was the first among people who saw the miracles of the Savior. Let's remind the famous Gospel episode - the first miracle made by God in the Cana in Galilee; the Lord turned the water into the wine on the weeding after His mother asked Him. She knew that Her Son could make the miracle and it was not by accident that she asked to do it; she also ordered to bring stone water carriers and to do everything He would need. The God's Power was showed to her for the first time and She was silent till some time. And only the feeling for the poor people called this pleading. And Jesus listened to His Mother showed people His mercy. Praying to the Holy Lady we get protection and prayer of the Virgin to Her Son to help poor souls. So this proves the words of the Holy Lady, said before Her Dormition to the Apostles: "Children of God and My Son! Don't cry for me. I will always be your protector before God"

The peculiarities of its celebration in the Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Feast The Dormition tof the Holy LadyAmong all the feasts, set up by the Church in honor of the Holy Lady, the greatest one is the feast of the Dormition. The Christians prepare to celebrate the Dormition of the Holy Lady and spend two week in the prayer and fast, which lasts from August 14 till August 27. It is determined like an example of the imitation of the Earth life of the God's Mother, who spent all Her life in the prayer and fast, especially before the Dormition.

There is tradition to bring to the Temple some fruits for the consecration, but first of all the person should think what spiritual fruits he/she can bring to God. It can be sincere confession, happiness, desire to forgive, opportunity to do good doings - these are the gifts to God, which testify that the person tries to perfect himself, to enter the Heavenly Kingdom.

The death for the Holy Lady was the happy meeting with Her Son and Our God Jesus Christ. And for the Christians the Day of the Dormition of the Holy Lady means the end of the Earth way and transition to the eternal, true life. If the death is horror and the grief of the separation, dipping in the loneliness for majority of people, so there was nothing of that in the death of the Virgin. Her death, like the whole life, is the meeting, love, approaching to the unfading warm light of the eternity and transferring in it. And it is the beginning of the general resurrection, like one more ray of hope for the Christians, one more confirmation for those, who follows the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Virgin is an example of meekness and deep faith for the Christians. Her life inspires us to comprehend the sense of our stay on the Earth, the end goal, to which the whole humanity should move.