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The feast day of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary is one of the most significant celebrations for Christendom. The Orthodox people call August 15 as the Easter of Summer or Easter after Easter. The faithful honor and celebrate this holy day, because there is very special connection with the Mother of God. The Virgin Mary has performed so many miracles, that over one thousand names or eponyms have been attributed to her. The hymnology of the Church calls her the Unwedded Bride, the bridge of Heaven and earth, the throne of the King of Glory, the vessel of divine Grace, the fountain of Life, the more honorable than the Cheroubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Serafim (the orders of the Angels). In every service there is a request to the Virgin Mary to intercede for our salvation. Even when we are in danger, we exclaim “holy Mother of God!,” asking for protection and for her benevolent grace.

On August 15, we are gathered in commemoration of her Dormition, like the holy Apostles gathered for her burial. We request her blessing, just like the twelve disciples, who miraculously came from around the world to request her blessing. The Mother of God, before she departed from this world, prayed for peace and salvation. Her prayers are of exceeding value today. Nowadays, we are surrounded by the wolves of war, terrorism and crime that afflict the flock of God. The Virgin Mary is the protector of the Youth, as we chanted in the Vespers of the Dormition. Being a Mother, she overlooks for the spiritual benefit of children. She embraces all young people who thirst for the living water of the faith, in an age of spiritual drought.

In front of the tomb of Panaghia we ask that the world is illumined by the beacon of peace. We pray that the Youth is guided by the rudder of virtue. We voice the petition that the flock of Christ is protected by the shield of her grace and her miracles. Maria brought the incarnate Son and Word of God, through the Holy Spirit and following the divine plan of salvation. She obeyed the will of God, and thus became the fountain of redemption. She gave us Christ, the only Redeemer and Savior, the One Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. In front of her icon we pray everyday. Especially today, like the Apostles, all of us feel the need and the joy to exclaim: “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!”

Economos Nikiforos Fakinos