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The Personality of Saint Mary Magdalene Equal to the Apostles

Saint Mary Magdalene is the most outstanding person in the circle of Christ’s women disciples, and, indeed, the most significant female figure in the Christian Church, after the Mother of God. Her importance for the Church is expressed in the lengthy references to her in the Lives of the Saints. We have very little information concerning her life. She was born in Magdala, a town to the west of the Lake of Gennesaret and south

The Third Wednesday of Great Lent. The Great and Holy Lenten Fast.

From Old Testament times, the people of God prepared for holy occasions with fasting and prayer, and the New Testament continued with this holy tradition. The Lord Himself fasted for forty days before beginning His earthly ministry, demonstrating the importance of fasting before starting any spiritual task. Christ even went so far as saying “When you fast” (Matt. 6:16), rather than If you fast. Our Lord told his disciples that “when the bridegroom shall be

The Dormition (Koimesis) of the Theotokos

On August 15, Orthodox Christians celebrate the greatest of all the religious festivals which the Church established in honor of the All-Holy Virgin Mary (Panagia), the feast of the Dormition (Koimêsis) of the Theotokos. The feasts of the Virgin Mary (theomêtorikai eortai) are second in importance after those of our Lord Jesus Christ in the annual cycle of festivals observed by the Orthodox Church because, after our Lord Himself, the All-Holy Virgin is the most

The Feast of the Dormition, Tradition and Icon

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) and the feast of her Entrance to the Temple (November 21), the Feast of the Dormition also comes from the Tradition of the Church. There we learn that Mary died as all people die because she had

A HOMILY ON THE DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

We have peace when we are with the Lord and His Most Holy Mother; she is always here to help whenever we call upon her. In her we have unshakable support, which remains the same for all ages and which will not change. We cannot find this support anywhere else on earth, not even among our family members, let alone in things like riches, earthly power, and honor. We can be left without all these

Dormition or Assumption?

In our Orthodox tradition we are usually very careful to distinguish between the “Dormition” of the Mother of God and her “Assumption” into heaven. The former, we feel, is properly Orthodox, while the latter strikes us as a purely Western designation, derived from a Roman Catholic “misunderstanding” of the meaning of this feast, celebrated universally on August 15. It is true that some very genuine yet misguided interpretations of Mary’s death and exaltation can be

Praying with the Entire Church

“O you apostles, assembled here from the ends of the earth, bury my body: And You, O my Son and my God, receive my spirit” (Exapostilarion of Dormition of the Theotokos) To be a genuine Orthodox Christian is to share in the joy of fellowship gathered around the holy Mother of God, Mary the ever-virgin one. Yet in America a hesitancy arises even with the Church among the faithful. What is so normal and self-evident

Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us!

Orthodox Christians begin and end the liturgical year with celebrations dedicated to the Virgin Mary, whom we venerate as the Theotokos or “bearer of God.” On September 8, the end of the first week of the new year, we commemorate her Nativity or birth; on August 15, we close the year with the feast of her Dormition, her “falling asleep” and translation to heaven. As the hymns of these and other Marian feasts make clear,

The Dormition Fast: Ending another Year of Grace in Our Lord

The Byzantine Church since at least the 5th century has practiced a period of fasting prior to the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. This ancient custom has much to offer contemporary Christians. Christians of the East have always recognized the mystery of Our Lady’s Dormition, her ‘falling asleep’ at the end of her natural life. The passage of Mary the Virgin Mother of God from this life to life eternal is a cause

The Great and Small Supplication (Paraklesis) Services to the Theotokos

There are two forms of the Paraklesis Canon to the Theotokos: the Small Paraklesis which was composed by Theosteriktos the Monk in the 9th century (or some say Theophanes), and the Great Paraklesis. During the majority of the year, only the Small Paraklesis to the Theotokos is chanted. However, during the Dormition Fast (August 1—14), the Typikon prescribes that the Small and Great Paraklesis be chanted on alternate evenings, according to the following regulations: –