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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 Act of Veneration

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 17, 2016  No spiritual activity permeates Orthodoxy as much as veneration. For the non-Orthodox, veneration is often mistaken for worship. We kiss icons; sing hymns to saints; cry out “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!” And all of this scandalizes the non-Orthodox who think we have fallen into some backwater of paganized Christianity. It is not unusual to hear Orthodox who more or less apologize for this activity and seek to

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. The Dormition of the Theotokos: Our Promise and Hope

By Lea Povozhaev, August 12, 2017 The Dormition of the Theotokos was not celebrated for the first five centuries of Christianity. There was silence regarding the holy mystery of the Mother of God’s “falling asleep”. In the beginning, God willed that the details of His mother’s death and glorified, or resurrected, state remain veiled from the world. In the centuries to follow, Christians would revere the Theotokos’s (God-bearer’s) transition from this life to the next.

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: August Theophanies

Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, August 10, 2014 The Reading is from the Gospel of St. Matthew. (14:22-34) The month of August is a month of theophanies. A theophany, from the Greek, literally means a “revelation of God”, not “from God”, but “of God.” The Transfiguration of Jesus is a theophany. God reveals himself present in Jesus Christ in this world. He shares his light and energy with us and with all

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 Earth Stood Still

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, August 20, 2014  Orthodox Christians commemorate the death (Dormition) of the Virgin Mary during the month of August (New Calendar, the 15th, Old Calendar, the 28th). For those for whom such feasts are foreign, it is easy to misunderstand what the Orthodox are about – and to assume that this is simply a feast to Mary because we like that sort of thing. Flippant attitudes fail to perceive the depths of the mystery

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! Bright Friday! The Feast of the Life Giving Spring

The Feast of the Life Giving Spring The icon of Life Giving Spring has a wonderful and comforting appearance. Depicted is an enormous stone chalice, standing in a wide reservoir, filled with water. Above the chalice, holding in Her arms the Pre-Eternal Infant and wearing a crown, hovers the Most Holy Virgin. To the reservoir filled with life-giving water have streamed those who thirst. The unfortunate and life-weary drink of the water and become strong

Great and Holy Friday

Introduction On Great and Holy Friday the Orthodox Church commemorates the death of Christ on the Cross. This is the culmination of the observance of His Passion by which our Lord suffered and died for our sins. This commemoration begins on Thursday evening with the Matins of Holy Friday and concludes with a Vespers on Friday afternoon that observes the unnailing of Christ from the Cross and the placement of His body in the tomb.