August is a month for holidays! If you have ever travelled in areas where the Christian Orthodox Church is more visible during the month of August, you will have noticed that on the 15th of August the Orthodox church celebrates the great festival of the ‘Dormition’, that is the ‘falling asleep’ of the Virgin Mary.
In France, it still is a national holiday but otherwise in the western church, including the Anglican Church, this festival has gone rather out of fashion because it was called the ‘Assumption of our Lady’, implying that Mary, instead of dying naturally, had just been ‘assumed’ into heaven. Mary is in all things like us and we can be like her. In particular she brought Christ into the world and so we are called to constantly present Christ to the world anew.
In her death, she showed us that we don’t have to fear anything. She showed us the way a Christian will die: it is a falling asleep, it is being welcomed by all the saints and it is the moment when Christ will strive to receive our soul. All this is depicted in the traditional icon of the dormition.
13 August 2017