We would like to invite you to a beautiful vigil service in celebration of the Dormition (Assumption) of the Mother of God. This is a type of service called the "all-night vigil" because it includes the services of vespers (evening prayer) as well as matins (morning prayer) for the following day. In some monasteries and parishes, the "all-night vigil" is celebrated every Saturday evening and/or on the evenings of major feasts. The "all-night vigil" for the Feast of the Dormition is extra special because, in many ways, it parallels the Holy Week services commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ. It even includes a burial procession during which the priest carries the shroud of the Mother of God over his head, just like he carries the shroud of Christ on Great and Holy Friday and Saturday. During this procession, the faithful follow with lighted candles and chant passages from the Song of Songs! (We at Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, of course, love this aspect of the vigil!) The shroud is then placed in the tomb which is surrounded by flowers, and all come up on their knees to venerate the Mother of God. The vigil service will be held Thursday, August 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch, 17486 Mumford Rd. Burton, Ohio (across the street from our monastery). How long will this service be, you may ask? Our answer is "timeless," but if you do need to know in earthly terms, it will probably last between 2.5 and 3 hours. :)
Flowers are blessed on the Feast of the Dormition in remembrance of the story that has come down to us today regarding the occurrence of the falling asleep of the Mother of God and her being taken up bodily into heaven. Tradition tells us that the apostles were all gathered together at the death of Mary...all except Thomas. When Thomas arrived, he wanted to venerate her body, so the tomb was opened. However, her body had been taken up into heaven, and the tomb was instead filled with flowers! Flowers will be blessed at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Friday, August 15. All are welcome to join us for Liturgy at 10:00 a.m., also at the shrine. You are also welcome to bring flowers for the blessing!
The vigil and the Liturgy on the feast are part of the pre-pilgrimage activities for the annual pilgrimage at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch. Visit this page for the full schedule, and if you are able, please consider joining us for at least part of the pilgrimage!
This is the feast, "...not only of Mary, but of all human nature. For, in Mary, human nature reached its goal. One week after the start of the liturgical year, we celebrate the birth of the most Holy Virgin. Two weeks before the end of the liturgical year, we celebrate the death and glorification of Mary. Thus, associated with and subordinate to the cycle of Jesus's life, the cycle of Mary's life manifests the destiny and development of a human nature which is entirely faithful to God" (The Year of Grace of the Lord).