Saint John of Kronstadt’s Sermon on the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

“Magnify O my soul, the honourable Translation of the Mother of God from earth to heaven.” (Refrain for the 9th Ode of the Canon) Let us be happy, beloved brothers and sisters that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church, worthily and rightly glorifying the Most Holy Sovereign Theotokos on this eminent day out of all the days of the year with special solemnity. There exists on earth many societies and entire governments that do

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


1. Every generation offers hymns, O Virgin, to honor your entombment 2. Come with all creation to sing the hymns of parting as you are raised, O Virgin. 3. Disciples of my Lord Christ, arrive to tend the body of my God’s purest Mother. 4. Invisibly attending, the archangels and angels in ranks sing hymns to praise you. 5. The women high in honor along with the apostles are crying out and weeping. 6. O


1. Truly it is right that we magnify you who bestow life, just as your pure Mother you magnify for her life-creating falling into sleep. 2. Truly it is right that we magnify you, Theotokos, you took your divine and all-blameless soul and entrusted it into the Hands of God. 3. Wonder strange and new! For the Door now passes through the Doorway, Heaven enters Heaven! We stand in awe as the Throne of God


1. In a grave they laid you yet, O Christ, you are life and they now have laid the Mother of Life as well: both to angels and to men a sight most strange! 2. We exalt you greatly, Theotokos most pure, and we glorify your holy Dormition now, as we bow before your honored precious tomb. 3. In your womb you held him who cannot be contained; you are life to all the faithful:

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, Omy 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 an

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