The Fast for Dormition

DormitionToday the Holy Orthodox Church begins her fourth and final fast of the liturgical year. Remember that the liturgical year comes to a close August 31 and begins renewed September 1. This fast calls us to remember the death of the Theotokos (Greek for God-bearer). Just as the liturgical year begins with her birth, the year ends with her death.

In Orthodoxy, as in the language of scripture, death is often called a “sleeping.” We believe that the Theotokos, having spent her life after Pentecost supporting and serving the Church, was living in the house of the Apostle John, in Jerusalem, when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to her that her repose would occur three days later. The apostles, scattered throughout the world, are said to have been miraculously transported to be at her side when she died. The sole exception was Thomas, who was characteristically late. He arrived three days after her death, and asked to see her grave so that he could bid her goodbye. Mary had been buried in Gethsemane, according to her request. When they arrived at the grave, her body was gone, leaving a sweet fragrance.

This Saturday we begin the Dormition Fast. Fasting during the two-week Dormition fast is like that during most of Great Lent:
 Monday-Friday: No meat, dairy or wine.
 Saturday and Sunday: Wine and oil permitted.

Let us begin the Fast with joy.

Let us give ourselves to spiritual efforts.

Let us cleanse our souls.

Let us cleanse our flesh.

Let us fast from passions as we fast from foods, taking pleasure in the good works of the Spirit and accomplishing them in love that we all may be made worthy to see the passion of Christ our God and His Holy Pascha, rejoicing with spiritual joy.



Filed under Orthodox Christianity, Sundays, Feast Days, Other Days

3 responses to “The Fast for Dormition

  1. Joan

    Jim and I were just wondering about this fast, you answered our questions. Another question: what do you do when you just don’t want to fast?

    • Demetrios

      My understanding (and it may be flawed) is that we are to take the money and time we would spend on food and give to the less fortunate and also refocus on our spiritual selves with reading and prayer. We spend so much time feeding our physical selves – we need to feed the spiritual side and realize there needs to be balance.

      Back “in the day” one did not just hop in the SUV and go down to the local mart or fast-food drive through. Foraging for and prepping food took a lot of effort. Many focus on the abstaining from food – but that, without prayer, does nothing but leave one hungry.

      As far as when I don’t want to – I sometime don’t. Later, when I realize how I did not “feed” my spirit with nourishment it desires and needs, I make a mental note not to pass up the opportunity to grow spiritually next time.

    • Karen

      Also, try to consider why you do not want to fast. Coming from a nutritionist standpoint, I have noticed that when I just don’t want another bowl of pasta it may be that I need some more protein in my diet. Almonds, edamame, shrimp or a hearty bowl of lentil soup (but not when it is 112F) are good choices for me. If it is more of a spiritual concern or mental fatigue I would try to look at this smaller fast as a deep breath in a very busy life and try to make the best choices you can. Try to keep the spirit of the fast by getting our minds off ourselves and food. If we are spending lots of time or stress trying to figure out what to eat, it seems we are not quite on the right track. I know this is incomplete but I hope a little helpful.

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