The first day of August also marks the first day of the Dormition Fast, as this month is dedicated to Panagia (Virgin Mary) Holy Mother of God.
It’s been said that the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos is the “Pascha of the Summer” or “Summer Pascha”.
Pascha means “to pass over”, which is a feast giving an opportunity to renew spiritual powers and like Easter lent, as of today, many will begin fasting for 15 days, until the 15th of August, Dekapentavgousto.
The culmination of the period which commences today is August 15th.
It is at that time when there will be chants of Lamentations like there is on Good Friday. It is the funeral lamentation of the Theotokos, made by Her children.
It is to commemorate when the Lord received Her soul and Her body into heaven – according to Church teaching and writings, however, we are reminded Panagia is alive and intercedes for us all.
In addition, the feast has an apodosis (leave-taking) – though it ends only after nine days. It is a day which is equal to the primary feast day, just as it occurs for the Resurrection of the Lord after 39 days.
There is also a contrast between the two feasts, the Pascha of the Spring and the Pascha of the Summer. In the first case there is a Marian feast which puts a break on the solemn period, the Annunciation to the Theotokos, while in the Pascha of the coming days there is the Despotic feast of the Transfiguration of the Savior, as a break for commemoration to show that the ultimate goal and purpose of life is the transfiguration of all, from the good to the better, and finally to the excellent, which is His Kingdom.
She is not our saviour, for only Jesus saves. However, Panagia is the one who intercedes with prayers for our salvation. In the rich hymns of these days, She has an important place, which is proved by Her miracles which are another proof that She lives.
Panagia is known to help us pass over to our desired salvation. She influences us with Her prayers to our Lord, in order for us to be forgiven and redeemed.
With Her Dormition, She reminds us that when it appears an end awaits us, essentially we are experiencing a beginning, joyful and eternal.
Wishing everyone a blessed August!