The past two weeks we offered the denial of ourselves as a means for repentance and preparation for the upcoming Feast of the Dormition (the commemoration of the death) of the Theotokos (on August 15).
It is important to commemorate this event because it is a reaffirmation of the real humanity of Mary, and thus the real humanity of the One who was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit and was truly Theanthropos, God-man.
The commemoration of this feast begins this evening as we offer the Vigil at the beginning of the liturgical day. This service will begin at 7:00pm, will allow time for confession following, and will find fulfillment in the offering of the Divine Liturgy Wednesday morning at 7:00am. While it is a feast day, it falls on a Wednesday this year and is usually a subdued resolution of the fast. Make Thursday the day to return to an unrestrained diet.
While the veneration of Mary is a very real and also a very important part of Holy Tradition, it is helpful for us to remember that very little is said about Mary in the Holy Scriptures. We have to rely on other components of Holy Tradition to say what it said about her. The only dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church regarding Mary, what is necessary for our salvation, is the upholding of the truth that she is Theotokos and not simply Christotokos - that she truly bore the God-man and not just a man that was "special." Also, the dogmatic teaching of the Church is that she remains ever-virgin. These are both upheld by the 3rd Ecumenical Council (Ephesus, 431 A.D.). Listening carefully to the hymnology for this feast we will discern the significance of her veneration by the Orthodox Christians. Do not be confused by the metaphor and exalted language that is used. Hear and come to see that it is exalted language for the one who was exalted by the angelic host at the wonder of her childbearing and the extreme wonder - holy mystery - of the Divine Love that was manifest by the One whom she bore.
Make an effort to come and participate in some part of this Great Feast.
You will be glad that you did.
The Post Office Box is not going to be used anymore for receiving mail.
The street address is now our mailing address:
2570 Huguenot Springs Rd.
Midlothian, VA 23113
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