Beloved Faithful,

By the time this letter reaches you the Dormition Fast will be upon us.  The Church sets aside the first two weeks of August leading up to the 15th of the month to prepare for the falling asleep and bodily translation of the Mother of God.

As we prepare ourselves to celebrate the Ever-Virgin Mary’s passing from this life into eternal life, the Church directs us to fast, attend additional services, participate in acts of charity, and recount our personal deeds.  As always, dietary fasting aids us in being closer in-line with God’s will for our lives.  But this fasting period also reminds us of the important role of the Theotokos in our daily existence.

As Christians, we have Jesus Christ as the ultimate mediator between God and man.  The Lord knows our struggles, as He was tempted in every way, just as we are tempted (Hebrews 4:15).  In a likewise manner, we have His Mother, the Panagia, as our Mediatress between us and Him.  She stands before Her Son and our God with the authority of a mother addressing her child, while also being the gateway through which the Savior entered into this world.

The effectiveness of Her requests to Jesus were illustrated at the Marriage at Cana.  A guest at the wedding, the Lord had not yet reached the appointed time for His public miracles to begin.  Nevertheless, His mother asked Him to turn the water into wine so that the celebration would not come to an untimely end.  He replied, "Woman, what has this to do with Me? My hour is not yet come" (John 2:3-4).  In other words, Jesus hadn’t planned to do this.  Nevertheless, because of Her motherly intercession the Lord performed His first public miracle by changing the water into wine.

The power of the Panagia’s prayers on our behalf are limitless.  For the first two weeks of August we spend each weeknight seeking Her intercessions for ourselves, our loved ones, and the entire world.  We do this through the chanting of the Paraklesis Service.  For approximately 45 minutes we venerate the Lord’s Mother and reflect on Her incomparable existence, which serves as a model for all Christians.

The Church invites us to set aside the first half of August to venerate the Lord’s Mother and recall Her passing into Eternal Life.  Join us as we entreat Her holy and powerful prayers, which will be heard by our Lord as a loving son hears his mother.  May our Most Holy, Pure, Blessed, and Glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary intercede for all of us!

With love in Christ,

 

Fr. Constantine Kokanos