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Joachim & Anna

The holy and righteous Joachim and Anna are the parents of the Theotokos, the grandparents of Jesus Christ. Their feast day is celebrated on September 9, following the Nativity of the Theotokos; the dormition of St. Anna is commemorated on July 25. St. Joachim was of the tribe of Judah, and a descendant of King David. St. Anna was the daughter of Matthan the priest, of the tribe of Levi as was Aaron the High

The Dormition Fast: The Most Holy Mother of God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 13, 2008  On August 15, the Orthodox Church (new calendar) commemorates the Dormition (falling asleep) of the Most Holy Mother of God. The feast is considered to be one of the 12 Great Feasts of the year and thus an integral part of the proclamation of gospel of Jesus Christ. Many who are not familiar with Orthodoxy, or its manner of understanding saints, easily see feast days and the veneration

The Dormition Fast: Leaving Mary Out

By Stephen Freeman, August 14, 2014 Decades ago, when I was in seminary (Anglican), a professor told me that he did not believe in angels. I was surprised and asked him why. He responded that he “did not think they were necessary…that anything angels did could be done by the Holy Spirit…” While this is obviously true, I noted that angels are found throughout Scripture, and that “necessary” was not a theological category – and

The Dormition Fast: The Mystery of the Mother of God

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 3, 2010 The 15th of August is the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God (her death). Orthodox Christians fast for two weeks prior to this great feast and celebrate it with great solemnity. A question was recently placed by a reader about the “perpetual virginity” of Mary. I am offering this small post to address that question and to look at the place of the Most Holy

The Dormition Fast: Why Mary Has Always Been Honored

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 13, 2018 This Wednesday (August 15) is the Feast of the Dormition, the Falling Asleep of the Virgin Mary. I offer this article as a reflection. The most difficult part of my Orthodox experience to discuss with the non-Orthodox is the place and role of the Mother of God in the Church and in my life. It is, on the one hand, deeply theological and even essential to a right understanding

The Dormition Fast: The Holy Theotokos

By Abbot Tryphon, March 20, 2017  The veneration of the Holy Virgin in the Ancient Church All the early reformers, including Luther and Calvin, believed Mary to be Ever Virgin. The practice at the time of Jesus was to refer to all cousins as siblings, so none of the early Christians believed Mary had born any children other than Jesus. Furthermore, the veneration of the Virgin did not begin with Rome, but began in the

Feast day of St. Mary Magdalene

WHO WAS ST. MARY MAGDALENE? St. Mary Magdalene, called by the Orthodox Church both Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostle, is commemorated on July 22/August 4, as well as with the other Myrrh-bearers on the second Sunday after Easter. Born in the seaport town of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee, she played an important role during Christ’s ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. The Gospels provide the little that we know about St. Mary Magdalene, from whom Christ cast

Great and Holy Saturday

Introduction On Great and Holy Saturday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the burial of Christ and His descent into Hades. It is the day between the Crucifixion of our Lord and His glorious Resurrection. The Matins of Holy Saturday is conducted on Friday evening, and while many elements of the service represent mourning at the death and burial of Christ, the service itself is one of watchful expectation. Commemoration of Holy Saturday On Great and Holy

The Forty Days of Christmas: The Presentation, “Ypapanti,” of our Lord

By Stephen Freeman My title is slightly misleading. There are not “forty days of Christmas” in the Orthodox Church – but there is a major feast that marks the fortieth after Christmas: the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, sometimes called the Feast of the Meeting (February 2). It occurs forty days after Christmas in accordance to the requirements of the Jewish Law. Tradition holds that Joseph and Mary brought the child to Jerusalem before

The Mystery of the Forerunner

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 28, 2015  There is a unanimous witness in the Christian gospels concerning the place of St. John the Baptist. In the Orthodox world he is generally referred to as the Forerunner. All of the gospels agree that he plays a key role in the coming of the Messiah. It is a role that is largely ignored by most of the Christian world. The gospels make reference to two Scriptures when they