Dormition Fast

As we embark on the Dormition fast, such a short period, really, here is something to get you started. We start having Paraclesis services tonight at our parish and I’m looking forward to the always soothing words of the hymns. No matter how much I rant and rave and throw myself on the floor and kick, Panagia never changes. One can still run back to her and bury one’s head in her lap as does a small child after a tantrum. It was when I was in Pennysylvania after Pascha and was able to venerate the myrrh-streaming icons that I realized (to the extent I’m able) just how much she loves us all.

These two weeks culminate in our celebrating her death! How odd. You know that the apostles and many, many more people who knew and loved her in her earthly life were heartbroken when she died. We have the benefit of hindsight because we know that she like Christ did not see corruption in the grave. Her Son took her pure and sinless body to rejoin her soul in Heaven. We honor saints on the day they died not the day they were born (John the baptist and Panagia being the only two exceptions outside of Christ himself) because that is the true day of rejoicing. We are in this earthly life oh so briefly. No matter whether someone lives one day or 100 years, when you stack it next to eternity it almost disappears. [This is not going to get into a discussion of how important it is what you do during that very brief time.] This is something like walking through a narthex. Some people take one step and cross over from the door to the nave (live one day) and some people wander around in it for 100 years. At the end of it, the important thing is that one enter the nave of the church and into the Heavenly Kingdom. Once you’re inside, it doesn’t matter how long you were in the narthex. The day of rejoicing is the day one enters the church. Anyway, a long-winded and circuitous explanation of why we are happy when Panagia departs this life. (Note: “Dormition”, for the non-Orthodox, means “falling asleep”.)

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

(O Virgin Pure)
(Note from the poster: Note – The English is the English version of the song, not a direct translation of the Greek on the page. To make the song flow, some English lyrics are adjusted and do not line up with the Greek on the page, although they DO follow the melody.)

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