My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True Lord, God, and Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE FIFTEEN-DAY AUGUST FAST COMMEMORATING
THE HOLY KOIMISIS (DORMITION and METASTASIS (TRANSLATION)
OF THE THEOTOKOS.
The Holy Feast of the Koimisis (Dormition) or Metastasis (Translation) is preceded by a two-week fast, referred to as the Dormition Fast. From August 1st to August 14th (inclusive). Orthodox Christians fast from red meat, poultry, meat products, dairy products, (eggs and milk products), fish, olive oil and wine. In Churches that follow the Old Calendar tradition the Fast is from August 14th to August 28th.
The purpose of fasting is to gain mastery over oneself and to conquer the PASSIONS of the flesh. It is to free people from worldly things and vices and to concentrate on a godly life, a life of faith and virtue. It is to empower the soul so that the soul will be able to avoid the snares of the evil one and his temptations. Saint Seraphim says, fastin is an “indispensable means” of gaining the fruit of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. The Christian is taught by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to fight evil “by prayer and fasting.” Also, “fasting in the body, O brethren, let us also fast from sin.” A person sins in thought, word, or deed.
This holy season offers the opportunity to repent and by the grace of God to receive forgiveness through the Mystery of Confession. It is also necessary that the believer reach out and offer alms or charity to those in need. In order for the fasting to be a true spiritual ascesis one must include prayer, fasting, repentance, confession, alms giving, forgiving one’s enemies, living a more virtuous life, avoiding passions, be vigilant, controlling and dismissing evil thoughts (logismoi), staying humble and read the Holy Bible and the sacred writings of our Church Holy Fathers and the Lives of the Saints.
The Holy Dormition Fast is a stricter fast than either the Nativity Fast or the Apostles’ Fast, with only wine and oil (but no fish) allowed on weekends. As with the other Fasts of the Church year, there is a Great Feast that falls during the Fast in this case the Holy Transfiguration of Christ (August 6th), on which fish, wine and olive oil are allowed.
During the Holy Dormition Fast, in the Greek Tradition, either the Great Paraklesis (Supplicatory Canon) divine service is conducted every evening or the Small Paraklesis. except Saturday evening and the Eves of the Holy Transfiguration and the Dormition.
The faithful bring the Orthodox Baptismal names of their family members, their relatives and friends, to be prayed for, by their parish priest, for their health and protection.
A SUMMARY OF THE HOLY DORMITION OF
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. First Tone
In birth you preserved your virginity, in death,
you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos.
As mother of Life, you departed to the Source
of Life, delivering our souls from death by your
Kontakion Hymn. Second Tone
Neither the grave nor death could contain
the Theotokos, the unshakable hope, ever
vigilant in intercession and protection. As
Mother of Life, He Who dwelt in the Ever-
virginal womb translated her to Life.
To the last day of Her earthly life She took care to prove worthy of the Kingdom of Her Son, and before death She prayed that He might deliver Her soul from the malicious spirits that meet human souls on the way to heaven and strive to seize them so as to take them away with them to hades. The Lord fulfilled the prayer of His Mother and in the hour of Her death Himself came from heaven with a multitude of Angels to receive Her soul.
The Holy Apostles gave Her most pure body over to burial with sacred hymns, and on the third day they opened the tomb so as once more to venerate the remains of hte Mother of God together with the Apostle Thomas, who had arrived then in Jerusalem. But they did not find the body in the tomb and in perplexity they returned to their own place; and then, during their meal, the Mother of God Herself appeared to them in the air, shining with heavenly Light, and informed them that Her Son had glorified Her body also, and She, resurrected, stood before His Throne. At the same time, She promised to always be with them.
The Holy Apostles greeted the Mother of God with great joy and began to venerate Her not only as the Mother of their beloved Teacher and Lord, but also as their heavenly helper, as a protector of Christians and intercessor for the whole human race before the Righteous Judge. And everywhere the Gospel of Christ was preached, His Most Pure Mother also began to be glorified. (Source: The Orthodox Veneration of the Birthgiver of God by Saint John Maximovitch)
“Glory Be To GOD
-Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God