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My First Dormition Feast

August 13, 2010

By the title of my last post, you would think this was my second time celebrating (I should put that in quotes) the Dormition Feast. The Sunday following the Dormition was my first time attending Liturgy at St Peter the Apostle Antiochian Orthodox Church, my current parish where I am a catechumen. So I guess this weekend will mark an anniversary of sort for me as well.

I remember the Liturgy mostly for three reasons. One, my daughters were with me, and they made immediate friends their first day. Second was the fact that there were no pews or rows of chairs, only chairs lining the walls, and an open middle. Third was the meal after service. They congregation was thoroughly enjoying having meat and dairy back in their diet.

I was still trying to take all the things I had learned about the Orthodox Church to that point, and whether I could believe it or not. So the meaning of this season was completely lost to me. But this year I have an opportunity to soak it all in. One problem… I have to work. Being a fireman, I work 72 hours straight, and my days are on the weekends, from Saturday through Monday. Thank God my parish has a 6am Liturgy midweek, or I’d be in a hurt-box.

So how am I going to soak in this season? http://www.antiochian.org/sites/antiochian.org/files/aug_15-10_-_complete_dormition_of_the_theotokosu.pdf

The Antiochian Archdiocese website has a wealth of Liturgical Texts in pdf format. My hope is to read these prayers, hymns, kontakion, etc when I have down-time and soak in as much of the Tradition of the Church as I can. I have already heard a great podcast teaching by Fr Thomas Hopko on the Dormition, on Ancient Faith Radio. I pray that I can bask in the wonder of what the Dormition means for the Church and let it continue to transform me. I have been praying that Christ would reveal His Mother to me. She, and all the saints, have been out of my realm of thought as a Protestant most of my life. I now pray to live in the truth of what the fullness of our life in Christ has, in and through the Traditions of the Church, by the Holy Spirit.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Darlene permalink
    August 14, 2010 10:06 am

    Jeremiah,

    First, please forgive me for my earlier comment on your blog. It was my fault for jumping to conclusions.

    I looked on your church’s website and it looks like you are attending a vibrant Orthodox parish. Not all are like that. The one I attend is very nominal, as even the priest will attest to. šŸ˜¦ Thus, I, like you, am learning how to live the Orthodox life and understand the Church’s teachings from on-line sources. However, I live near Holy Protection Monastery and I may just attend there more often. I went on pilgrimage there last Saturday and was over-joyed to meet Orthodox Christians who take their faith seriously.

    BTW, I was directed to listen to the same podcast on the Dormition by Fr. Thomas Hopko on another blog. Actually, the author of this other blog is also on a journey into the Orthodox Church as you are, and similarly, from a Protestant Evangelical background. šŸ™‚ If you are interested, you can go over and greet him at: pathoftheweis.blogspot.com/

    May Christ our God continue to illumine your path as you journey toward His Church.

    In His Immeasurable Love,
    Darlene Nonna

    • August 14, 2010 3:52 pm

      Thanks for the reference. I checked out his blog. It is very cool looking. I don’t know how to do that cool-guy stuff on the computer.
      Very cool to see his journey.
      Thanks again for your comments. I like hearing from people. It is nice to encourage and be encouraged. I will pray for your growth at your home parish, and for the awakening of your brothers and sisters. Thankfully you have that monastery close by.
      And by the way, was never any offense taken by your comment to the last post.
      Thanks again.

  2. J. Andrew Deane permalink
    August 15, 2010 7:28 am

    Hi Jeremiah,
    I have been thinking a lot about today’s feast, and am fascinated by how yesterday (August 14th) one of the commemorations on the calendar was the translation of the Relics of Theodosius of Kiev ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodosius_of_Kiev )

    Can you imagine if there was a parish that said that they had the relics of the body of the Mother of God? Do you know how many people would flock to see that?

    It’s tragic that sometimes two (or more) Churches of the Apostolic Faith have both claimed to have the remains of a certain saint. This can be true as only small parts of a bone, etc. could be kept. But when we hear of some towns saying, “No, St. So-and-so died HERE!” we see that obviously one is not accurate about where the saint fell asleep in the Lord.

    But my whole point in this is the amazing silence about claims to having the relics of the Mother of God. And of course it makes sense for in our hymnography of her Dormition we hear that her body was assumed into heaven.

    On the Roman Catholic side of things this was only proclaimed to be true back in 1950. And I remember that when I was a Protestant I would have seen that “lateness” as reason to doubt the Mariology of Orthodox and Catholics. But the more that I meditate on the silence about her bodily relics in contrast to the other saints, and in contrast to the songs that we sing at Vespers and Matins surrounding today’s feast, the more it is overwhelmingly true that must I hold to the faith of our fathers like St. John Damascene.

    As we celebrate this grand truth, may the fact that there is silence about the relics of the Mother of God speak volumes to us.

    O Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

    • August 15, 2010 8:39 am

      That is a great reflection, JD. Like I mentioned before, I am reading through the liturgical texts of the Dormition, and am learning a great deal about the theology of the Church regarding the Theotokos.
      One would hope that the laity would remember the hymns and teaching of the Church, and call someone’s bluff who would dare to claim to have the relics of our Blessed Mother. I don’t know what the Church has said about some of these so-called experts who say they have found the tomb of the Holy Family, including our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and His Mother. BUNK!
      But that being said, I will let that silence speak. Thanks for sharing that.

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