Posts Tagged ‘Dormition’

The Dormition of Virgin Mary the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eastern Orthodox Church view and few words on feast origin

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

Dormition-of-Mother-of-God-Koimesis_Greek_Mosaic_at_Chora_Church_Constantinople

Dormition of the Mother of God is a feast highly venerated in both Eastern Orthodox Churches as well as Oriental Orthodox Churches (The Coptic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church which venerated the feast not on a fixed date), whether the rest of Orthodox world do celebrate on 15 of August the Dormition of the Mother of God. The so called old calendar Churches do celebrate the feast on 28 of August as the old church calendar coincides with this date on the public national calendar the countries use nowadays, whether some of the Churches such as our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church as well the Greek orthodox Church do celebarete on 15 of August.

Dormition_de_la_Vierge-stone-icon

 

The feast is one of the major Church feasts also in Western Roman Cathic church world known as the Assumption of Mary. The way the feast is venerated varyies, but it is important to say this feast is "The Summer Easter of the Church". In the ancient times the feast has been preceded in the Church by two fastings one for the Transfiguration of God Lord Jesus Christ that was venerated on 6th of August and one week fast preceding the Dormition or the Sleeping like death called in Church Slavonic Uspenie (falling asleep) that the Mother of God experineced before her righteous Soul passed to the Lord Jesus Christ. The painless death of the Mother of God has occured according to the Byzantine author Hypollitos of Thebes who lived in VIII centuryin 41 A.D., 11 years after Jesus's Crucifix and Glorious Resurrection.

Dormition_of_the_Mother_of_God_Bulgarian-icon-from_year-1893

Bulgarian icon from year 1893

The Dormition term expresses the Church belief that Virgin Mary on her death bed has been in a completely peaceful state of the Soul that and did not suffered the terrible pains of death and division of soul and body that each of us the sinners faces because of her extraordinary righteousness and as a blessing of Christ for the ever Virgin, because of her humility and life lived in service of God, and poor and every of her near sides and for her unceasing prayer for the world that she attained even during her earthly life time. The belief of Dormition is not a Bible found doctrine but a Church tradiiton and due to that protestant do not consider it as of a high value but we orthodox firmly believe this was not mention in the bible, because the Mother of God herself unwillingness for glory because she found unworthy compared to the great miracles life, suffering and salvationory plan Jesus completed. The dormition of Mother of God is found in many of Apocryphal writtings which never become official part of the Church canon.

In the language of the scripture, death is often called a "sleeping" or "falling asleep" (Greek κοίμησις; whence κοιμητήριον > coemetērium > cemetery, "a place of sleeping"). A prominent example of this is the name of this feast; another is the Dormition of Anna, Mary's mother.

The first Christian centuries may be silent, but "The Dormition/Assumption of Mary" appears in a Greek document (attributed to John the Theologian) edited by Tischendorf published in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, dated by Tischendorf as no later than the 4th century. Then there is the apocryphal literature such as the Protoevangelium of James, regarding the end of the Virgin Mary's life, though it is asserted, without surviving documentation, that the feast of the Dormition was being observed in Jerusalem shortly after the Council of Ephesus.

Gracanica_Monastery_Serbia-Dormition-of-The-Mother-of-God-Virgin_Mary

Dormition of the Mother of God, fresco from Gračanica, c. 1321. (See also:Palaiologian Renaissance)

Before the 4th-5th century Dormition was not celebrated among the Christians as a holy day and earlier it was perhaps not celebrated because the Church did not have time to celebrate too much of special feasts, as there was the era of heretics and gnostics from 1st –  2nd centuries which give birth to multiple heresies and the era of persecution that ended just about the 4th century. Only then the Church posessing freedom in the world could review its belief and clearly define the faith as earlier both Bishops (the apostle successors as the layman) was mostly busy with each one keeping their own faith instead of clearly documenting or giving separate feasts, until the 4th century many of the Church feasts of the martyr saints were still not recognized and known in the "Universal" Church around the world, because travelling was not so common as nowadays and each local established church by apostles strives to keep their faith in Christ and not clear up Church dogmas (this gave raise of course to the VII ecumenical councels who followed from 3rd to 8 centuries.).
 

Epiphanius of Salamis who become bishop of Salamis toda's Cypros (circa 310/20 – 403), a Jew by birth, born in Phoenicia, converted to Christianity in adulthood and lived as a monk for over 20 years in Palestine from 335–340 to 362, writes in "Panarion" (his book on Herisology) in "Contra antidicomarianitas" about the death of the Virgin Mary the following:

 

"If any think am mistaken, moreover, let them search through the scriptures any neither find Mary's death, nor whether or not she died, nor whether or not she was buried—even though John surely travelled throughout Asia. And yet, nowhere does he say that he took the holy Virgin with him. Scripture simply kept silence because of the overwhelming wonder, not to throw men's minds into consternation. For I dare not say—though I have my suspicions, I keep silent. Perhaps, just as her death is not to be found, so I may have found some traces of the holy and blessed Virgin. …The holy virgin may have died and been buried—her falling asleep was with honour, her death in purity, her crown in virginity. Or she may have been put to death—as the scripture says, 'And a sword shall pierce through her soul'—her fame is among the martyrs and her holy body, by which light rose on the world, [rests] amid blessings. Or she may have remained alive, for God is not incapable of doing whatever he wills. No one knows her end. But we must not honour the saints to excess; we must honour their Master. It is time for the error of those who have gone astray to cease."


Saint Ambrosius of Milan ( Mediolan ) in 4th century says:

"Neither the letter of Scripture nor Tradition does not teach us that Mary had left this life as a consequence of suffering from bodily ulcers." pointing to her sufferless sleep like death.

Holy_Mother-of-God-Arbanasi-Monastery-three-handed-Troeruchica-Miracle-Making-icon-Bulgaria-Great_Tarnovo

The famous icon Holy Mother of God Three-handed (Troeruchica) Arbanasi Monastery of the Dormition of Mother of God near medieval capital of Bulgaria Veliko Tarnovo

Our Orthodox Church specifically holds,teaching that Mary died a natural death, like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrect on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, bodily only, into heaven when the apostles, miraculously transported from the ends of the earth, found her tomb to be empty. The specific belief of us Orthodox is expressed in their liturgical texts used at the feast of the Dormition.

Mount-Olives-Marys-burial-tomb-entrane-to-tombThe rock-cut Tomb of Virgin Mary and its entrance, its front side covered in icons; eastern apse of the crypt


The holy body that was taken in Heaven after the Virgin's resurrection 3 days after her Dormition has been originally placed after the burial procession in 41 A.D. in the Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary, also known as the Tomb of the Virgin Mary (Hebrew: קבר מרים‎; Greek: Τάφος της Παναγίας) it is located (identified) by historians in the Kidron Valley – at the foot of Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem.

The-stone-bench-on-which-Virgin-Marys-most-pure-body-was-laid-out-Jerusalem-mary-sarcophagusThe stone bench on which the most pure body of the Virgin Mary (Theotokos) has been laid out

 

Let by the Holy Prayers of The Virgin Mary Theotokos, we find grace and God grants mercy upon anyone in torture, in fear in bitterness and sorrows, in weakness and sickness, to all broken-hearted, to all the leppers and mind sick and who lay on the death beds be granted with a painless death similar to hers.

Let the Mother of God keep and protect the Holy Land of Bulgaria and All The Orthodox Lands and the rest of lands, villages, cities and all inhabitants on earth !!! AMEN

 

Last day after the great Christian Orthodox feast The Dormition of the Thetokos (sending the feast away the feast)

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Uspenie Bogorodichno, The Dormtion of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary

On 15th of August we celebrated in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, as well as the other Orthodox Churches around the world, the celebration of the Great Feast commemorating the "falling asleep" e.g. physical death of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary)

We believe in the Orthodox Church that on this date the Mother of God Virgin Mary has passed away. The church tradition says that on that date it's our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ himself that come from heaven to gather her soul.
We use to say that Virgin Mary has fall asleep because her physical death happened without any pain or suffering.
God bestowed Our Lady with such a death because of her humility and sinless life she choose to left while being on Earth.

The Church tradition also teaches that her bodily resurrection occured in a close similarity to Christs by Christ himself and she resurrected in the body was taken up to heaven after her death. The two weeks before dormition of the Theotokos occurs are being preceded by a two weeks fasting period. The dormition fast is one of the strictest fasts in the Church life, it's one of the 4 major fasts periods that occur within the Church life every the year. It's an interesting fast that a little while before Virgin's Mary "fall asleep", she has prayed to her son and our God Jesus Christ to let her see the Holy Apostles once again.
The Lord heard her prayer as she is the most venerable among the ones who lived in this earth and in a miraculous way transported the St. Apostles in the house of St. apostol John where the Theotokos was living. All the apostles were transported to see Virgin Mary except st. Apostol Thomas whose transport has been delayed a bit. He is been said to have arrived three days after her death, when he asked the other apostoles to see her grave so that he could bid her good bye, when all the 12 apostles went to Mother of God's grave they found no body and a sweet fragrance was filling the tomb air. As I said earlier Christ has taken her body to reunite it with the soul he had accepted 3 days earlier. Therefore theology teaches that Virgin Mary has undergone the second resurrection already, a resurrection that is about to come for all who currently abide at this earth with the Second Coming of Christ

An spiritual elder and a brother and Christ has mentioned to me that it is the sending away of the feast which apparently which's commemoration lasts for 8 days, quite an interesting fact I decided to share herein

A good account about the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos is found here and I suggest you read it up if you have some time.

There is another reason that the feast is so venerated it's being said by many people that Virgin Mary the mother of God blesses abundantly and protects everybody who keeps the fast before the feast of her Dormition.

Another practice within the Church is that flowers are being blessed on the date of the Dormition of Virgin Mary. In some Churches even there is a special shroud depicting the Theotokos's sleeping body after her death.
I've been to an interesting Liturgy where the Shroud or (Plashtenica) as better known in the Slavonic Eastern Orthodox world is being placed and is exhibited for a veneration of the layman and Church clergy. On the third day similarly to the resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ this Plashtenica is being put away by the priest in order to show off that the body of the Mother of God was taken to heaven and has miraculously been resurrected and taken to heaven by God.

In Bulgaria the feast is known under the name Uspenie Bogorodichno – "The Dormition of the Theotokos". Uspenie derives from old slavonic and literally translated means "falling asleep".

Let the Holy Mother of God pray her son and our God Jesus Christ to have mercy on us the sinners.

Evening service and Holy Liturgy in Russian Church st. Nicolas and marriage preparations

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

St-nicolas-russian-church-sofia-bulgaria

Last Saturday evening I and my future wife Svetlana went to get train tickets (Sofia Dobrich), cause next week me and Svetlana will be travelling to Dobrich. Afterwards we went to Russian Church in center of Sofia – St. Nicolas for the evening service and confessed. The evening service was led by Archimandrite Philip who is currently Russian Church's prior.

archimandrite-Philip-russian-church-in-Bulgaria-prior

At the end of Church service there was an oilment, as always being on a Russian Holy Liturgy is astonishing experience. On Sunday morning 2nd February we were in Russian Church again for the Russian Liturgy and we took the holy sacraments as it is proper (according to Orthodox Church tradition the marrying couple should confess and receive the sacraments before marrying in Church). After Church service we went to Church crypt to venerate holy relics of Archimandrate Seraphim Sobolev. A big thing is happening in my life nowdays as I will have marriage this week  on Friday 7-th of February:)

We prepared so far almost everything for marriage. My parents helped with finding a marriage resturant and finding musicians for post marriage restaurant celebration. We also travelled to Asenovgrad to look for Svetlana's  wedding dress and we got one  I bough a marriage suit 2 weeks back and we ordered a marriage rings. There is already agreement with a priest father Vasilij – who will merry us in Church St. Trinity this Friday. Father Vasilij serves in Church "Dormition of Virgin Mary" in Kavarna . We choose father Vasilij to make the Marriage vows for the reason he is nativily Russian speaking (like Svetlana) plus the father is a good example of a true Christian priest. Today the parents of Svetlana (mama Vera and papa Alexander) arrived in the airport in Varna for the marriage (thanks God they had safe flight). Sunday night I send Svetlana to Train Station here in Sofia to make latest preparations for marriage. I will be travelling to Dobrich on Wednesday night 1 day before marriage. The rest of things happening around are not so interesting. In y job in HP work is complicated as usual. On my job I'm learning HPSM (HP Service Manager) and how to open new Changes in system and that's mostly my life these days. When I have time I'm playing OpenTyrian and a couple of nice arcade games on my ZTE Android mobile phone and reading some saint livings on mobile.
 

 

Saint Abraham the Bulgarian co-memoration in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

saint Abraham the Bulgarian, sv. Avramii Bolgarski

Saint Abraham the Bulgarian is an Orthodox Christian saint venerated across most Slavonic Christian dome. His co-memoration in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (BPC) is on 1st of April.

What is unique about this saint is that he used to be born and grown in the tradition of the Muslim (Islam) faith and by the great providence of God he converted to the true faith of Christianity.

St. Abraham of (Bulgaria), was born in Volga Bulgaria in a community of Muslim Volga Bulgars (old Bulgarians). Nowdays Volga Bulgaria is located in Tararstan Russia. The saint used to be an islamic merchant and His martyrdom for Christ happened in March 6 (according to old Church Calendar) in year 1229.

He used to live in a very complex situation, when the islamic influence of Arabs in his motherland was quite severe. St. Abraham of Bulgaria used to be a rich man for his time, he was a merchant.
Because of the trade he travelled a lot to the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Christian principalities. This give him an opportunity to get to know Christian faith little by little.

He was accustomed to a wordly life but still always accepted strangers and similar to the Old Testamental father of nations st. Abraham he's been very hospitable to poor people.
By Gods grace he become convinced Muslim faith does not teach a true faith to the one God,  being pointed by God himself towards the right salvation way, he accepted Jesus Christ as a Lord and Saviour being baptized and hence converting to the truthful Christian faith.

His Christian baptizmal was accepted from Russian traders, who lived nearby the place of Great Bulgar.
Being baptized in the Christian faith Saint Abraham of Bulgaria not only confessed Christian faith across his fellow people, but he also led very harsh (ascetic like) life, wearing secretly below his clothes a heavy chains during his worldly travels. The profit he made from trade often he shared with the poor.Once he went for a trade to the city of Great (Bulgar) Bulgar. There he was arrested because there was a rumor, he cursed (islamic faith believed prophect) Mohammed and the muslim faith.


Saint Abraham Avramii Bylgarski Bulgarian Martyr saint old drawing

Muslims catched him and started convincing him to reject Christ, accusing him at a blasphemy. Abraham was not scared of muslim threats of expel and even putting to death. As Muslims failed to force him "by words" to convert back to Islam, they took him and put him in jail because of his denial of (their) Islamic faith.

In jail he was tortured but, they failed to convince him to deny Christ, seeing they have no way to convince him to accept Muslim faith once again, saint tormentors first cut his hands, then the legs and finally disgraced by his boldness and continues confession of Christ they beheaded him.

Soon afterwards the city of Bulgar was captured and burned down by the Mongols, many people in that time saw this is Gods punishment for the innocent shed blood of Abraham the Bulgar.
The local Christians took his body and buried him in the Christian cemetery of the ancient city of (Bolgar) / Bulgar.
On the place, where the saint was buried, a healing water spring emerged. The first man who received healing from this spring by Christ's grace was a muslim.

Miracle Making Spring Well Saint Abraham the Bulgarian

Great healing miracles happened on the saint grave. Local Christians took their relatives and bring them to the saints grave for a miracle healing and a prayer intercession of the saint. A rumour about the saints great graceous grave quickly spread and some people told about the miracle healing grave f st. Abraham to prince Georgi / (George) Vsevolodich.One year later again on 6th March 1230, the body of the saint was carried in the city of Vladimir, where the prince and his family, the Vladimirsk Bishop, the clergy and the local people received the holy relics of st. Abraham (of Bulgaria). The holy relics was kept in the local church "Dormition of Mother Mary" on 6th of March in the year of 1230.

The co-memoration of st. Abraham the Bulgarian is being observed in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, since very ancient times.
Nowdays both Christians and Muslim celebrate the saints feast.

Icon of Orthodox Christian Saint Abraham of Bulgaria and his Holy Relics

Interesgingly, nowdays St. Abraham the Bulgarian is venerated as a saint by both Orthodox Christians and by Muslims. Many Muslims from Turkey and other muslim countries come each year for the saints feast day to pray and ask for healing or prayer intercession to God.

Even to this very day people receive by Jesus's grace through saint Abraham the Bulgarian's prayers – a various incurable disease healings. The healings occur on the same holy spring where the saint was buried. Many people are also healed from incurrable diseases through the veneration of the incorruptable saint holy relics kept in the Church Dormition of Mother Mary.