“Blessed is the womb that bore You, and blessed are the breasts that nursed You. But He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” - Luke 11:27-28
This month we will celebrate the Feast of the Dormition, “Kimisis” or the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos, which takes place every year on the 15th day of August. The Feast commemorates the death, the “metastasis” or translation and glorification of Christ’s mother. The Orthodox world highly honors the Theotokos, and with good cause. Saint John of Damascus writes about the Virgin Mary saying that she is “the fountain of true light, the inexhaustible treasury of life itself, the most fruitful source of blessing, who has won for us and brought us all good things.”
However, while all of creation magnifies the Theotokos, the upcoming feast of her Dormition is not only a celebration of her life, but all humanity. The 15th of August is proof that all people may participate in the blessedness of Christ, so long as we embody all that Panagia did in her life. Like Christ said to the woman in the passage above, Mary obtained a sanctity in her life through obedience. That is something that all people can try and replicate. Therefore this feast is a celebration of the life of the Virgin Mary and ALL OF THOSE who "magnify the Lord" as Mary did, and who totally dedicate themselves to hearing and keeping the word of God.
What happens to Mary can happen to all of us. If we imitate her life of humility, obedience and love then we can live a “blessed" life with more "honor than the cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim.”
This month is the best time to start our path following Mary’s footsteps. Join us at Saint Nicholas for the additional services during the special season dedicated to the Theotokos. In particular, make a point to attend or livestream AT LEAST ONE Paraklesis (“Supplication”) service in the next two weeks. These beautiful services are chanted to the Virgin Mary directly asking her to make intercessions to her Son on our behalf. Feel free to submit any names on our website at the link below, so we can make sure to pray for them during the services.
May our Panagia continue to inspire us to “hear the word of God and keep it.”