Orthodox Feast Of The Assumption Of Mary

The Orthodox Feast of the Assumption of Mary is an important cultural and religious event observed by the Orthodox Church every August 28th. The purpose of this day is to commemorate the day when Mary, the Mother of God, was assumed into heaven — both in a spiritual sense and in a real, physical sense.

This is a holiday that is considered joyful by Orthodox Christians and is observed with a number of different customs, liturgical services, processions, and other special events. This holiday is often preceded by a 2-week fast that occurs from August 14th through August 28th. During this fast, certain foods are avoided on the weekdays.

The History of the Orthodox Feast of the Assumption of Mary

Although there is no mention of the Assumption of Mary in the New Testament, various texts are often cited to support the appropriateness of this particular doctrine. The imagery used to support this doctrine is very much related to the Ascension of Jesus into heaven.

Mary’s ascension into heaven is not only a glorification of her entire person but is also a foreshadowing of the state promised to humankind. The development of this holiday is closely related to a feast devoted to Mary that evolved from being a general celebration of her to one that commemorates her dormition, or peacefully falling asleep and dying without suffering.

The feast dedicated to Mary began in the Byzantine Empire and was brought to the West. This is when the term “Assumption” was applied to this holiday instead of its previous designation.

This increased the emphasis on the glorification of Mary’s body as well as her spirit. During the late Middle Ages, the Assumption of Mary became an important theme in Christian art. It has been widely represented in the adornment of churches and is widely represented during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Although the Assumption was declared dogma for Roman Catholics by Pope Pius XII on November 1st, 1950, it is not considered to be a revealed doctrine in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The Eastern Orthodox tradition has always held the belief in the Assumption, and it is considered an important veneration of the Virgin Mary.

Observing the Orthodox Feast of the Assumption of Mary

Two weeks prior to the observance of this holiday, many Orthodox Christians take part in the Dormition Fast. This fast requires participants to abstain from meat, dairy, and other animal products and also practice almsgiving, prayer, and repentance. This holiday is then observed with liturgical services, prayer, and continued almsgiving.

In many Orthodox countries, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary is observed with special foods and customs. A prime example takes place in Greece where Orthodox Christians bake a traditional bread called Panagia Psomi. In Russia, it is often customary to make Kutya, a sweet porridge made out of wheat, honey, and poppy seeds.

Regardless of how this holiday is observed, it is a time of great celebration and joy in the Orthodox Church. It is an opportunity for many Christians to honor the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God and to take the time to deepen their faith and devotion. People can spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #AssumptionOfMary online and through social media.

Where is it celebrated?
Georgia (Public holiday)North Macedonia (Optional holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 28 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
August 28 Thursday
Last year (2023)
August 28 Monday