Celebrating the Dormition of the Virgin Mary

Celebrating the Dormition of the Virgin Mary


Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church. I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are some of the stories making headlines the week of Friday, August 19, 2016.

Celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

First Up, one of the most revered feast days across the Orthodox World, the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary was celebrated August 15th. Preceded by a fourteen day fast, the Feast commemorates the repose of the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord as well as the assumption into heaven of the body of the Theotokos.

In Orthodox countries throughout the globe, faithful fill churches for services followed by festivities running late into the night, especially those church communities named in honor of the Virgin Mary who welcome guests with processions, celebrations and festivals. Each church, celebrating in their own unique way, depending on their geographical location, culture and history.

Here are some of the most popular examples from Greece.

In the town of Siatista, Kozani located in northern Greece, The Church of the Virgin Mary of Mikrokastro is the center of worship and celebration and is known for the riding horsemen. The custom of pilgrim riders comes from the Ottoman Empire, when it was an opportunity for slaves to show their bravery and desire for freedom. On August 14 and 15, the town of Siatista vibrates to the rhythm of music and excitement. On the eve of the Assumption, the horsemen gather together from the various neighborhoods and towns and On the day of the Assumption, start the morning with worship at the Virgin Mary Monastery and By noon, the impressive riders enter the town square where celebrations continue late into the evening.

On the Greek island of Lesvos in the Aegean- Pilgrims, walk 25 km from the city of Mytilene, to reach the churchyard, where they stay overnight. On the feast day of Our Lady, after the procession of the icon around the church, festivities begin.

The pilgrimage to the Panagia of Tinos is probably the largest religious pilgrimage of Hellenism. The Cycladic island is completely associated with the Virgin Mary, and thousands flock to the island every year to venerate the miraculous image of Mary in the Church of the Blessed Virgin. The image of believers kneeling or climbing the stairs up to the icon is the most characteristic. The procession of the epitaph of the Virgin Mary is similar to the procession of the Epitaph of Christ on Good Friday, with thousands of believers following with lighted candles.

On the island of Kefalonia in the Ionian – Believers gather in the courtyard of the Holy Monastery of Panagia Fidousa in Markopoulo, to see the “Lady of the Snakes.” Every August 15, small snakes appear in the belfry and the church committee collects them in the yard of the Holy Temple. According to the tradition, snakes bring good luck to the island. If they do not appear, it is a bad omen, as happened, for example, in the year of major earthquakes in Kefalonia, some decades ago.

And lastly, the historic Panagia Soumela Monestary, located on the Pontic mountain range in present day Turkey, is the site where St. Luke painted the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. Each year, thousands of believers throughout Greece and abroad flock to partake in the procession of the holy icon of the Virgin Mary and the festive events that follow. The historic monastery held its first liturgy in June of 2010 after 88 years, with permission granted by the Turkish government at the time, and the Ecumenical Patriarch presiding over the liturgy in honour of the Virgin Mary in whose name the monastery was named.” Unfortunately, closed since 2015 for repairs, the Monastery remained silent this year.

Fire at Ascension Monastery in Clinton, Michigan

And next up, another church fire leaves a monastic community in saddened shock, the Romanian Orthodox Monastery of the Ascension of the Lord, in Clinton, Michigan burned down on Friday, August 12th. The cause is yet unknown. His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel together with Rev. Fr. Vicar Dan Hoarste traveled to the monastery immediately following the fire. During this difficult time, we pray to God to give peace and comfort to the monastic community. A fund has been established for the monastery and parishes are encouraged to make a collection or donate directly by visiting www.holy-ascension.org

News from OCN

Be sure to log on to myocn.net to watch the final video of the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry 4 part series: Bringing the Love of Christ. OCPM’s mission is to bring the love of Christ to those who are in prison by providing encouragement, material support, transition and reintegration services, Christian education, spiritual guidance and the sacramental life of the Church.

And remember to download, “Spark” our latest OCN App, an Orthodox Christian News Portal, that can help you access information about events going on in the Orthodox Christian World, making it easy to share with friends and even allows you to make prayer requests for those in need. Visit myocn.net to easily download OCN Spark from itunes.

Now, Much like public radio & TV, we rely on support from our viewers, listeners and myocn.net visitors like you!

Be a part of our growth and make a contribution today where your donation can support us as we highlight the Orthodox Christian Faith through media, breaking down communication barriers while building up avenues connecting Orthodox Christians worldwide through our state of the art website, Facebook, Twitter, or our YouTube “OCNVideochannel”.

That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. Wishing you a Blessed Week, for everyone here in our OCN studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.


The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America, originally commissioned by SCOBA to create a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for Orthodox Christianity and seekers around the world through media ministry.  CLICK HERE to download our brochure.

This 501(c)3 is recognized as a leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty years. OCN shares the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. We have reached 5.7 Million People in One Week. Much like public radio, the Orthodox Christian Network relies on the support of our listeners, readers, and fans. If you are interested in supporting our work, you can send your gift by direct mail, over the phone, or on our website. Your gift will ensure that OCN may continue to offer free, high-quality, Orthodox media.

Do you find it hard to keep focused on Christ when you’re on the go? OCN makes it easy!  Give today to help you and your Orthodox community stay connected no matter the location.

donate now


Spark OCN app is an Orthodox Christian News portal that allows you to take action. Spark provides daily devotions, live Bible study, and you can read and learn about events going on in the Orthodox Christian world, especially those concerning persecuted Christians. In addition to making it easy to share news and articles with friends, Spark allows you make prayer requests for those who are suffering.

Orthodox Prayer Book is the ultimate prayer assistant for Orthodox Christians. Not only does it allow you to carry your prayers around, it was designed from the ground-up for the iPhone to allow you to pray in the least distracting manner possible. Carry all the prayers, information about daily saints and fasting schedules with you throughout your day. Keep a list of people you want to pray for and have them automatically embedded into the prayers.

Click here to download the Spark OCN and Orthodox Prayer Book.

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. OCN is on Social Media! Follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube, Google+,  Pinterest,  LinkedIn  and  Instagram

About author

Emmy Louvaris

Emmy Louvaris is the host of This Week in Orthodoxy, the first weekly news show to cover the international Orthodox Church and community.