Sermon on the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

“Magnify O my soul, the honourable Translation of the Mother of God from earth to heaven.” (Refrain for the 9th Ode of the Canon)

Let us be happy, beloved brothers and sisters that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church, worthily and rightly glorifying the Most Holy Sovereign Theotokos on this eminent day out of all the days of the year with special solemnity. There exists on earth many societies and entire governments that do not consider the need nor the obligation to call upon and glorify the Queen of heaven and earth, the Mother of Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ, and other saints and angels; to submissively serve Her lovingly, as the true Mother of God. Sadly in Russia nowadays we have heretics (among us) who actively dishonor the Mother of God, the saints, their icons, their relics and their festivals. O, if only they also unanimously with us glorified the worthy Queen of heaven and earth!

St. Eustathius II, archbishop of Serbia (1309)

Jevstatije II (Јевстатије II) was the Archbishop of Serbs from 1292 to 1309. He is venerated as a saint, Saint Jevstatije II. In the times of his two predecessors, Serbia expanded significantly in territory. In 1282, Skoplje (future capital), Polog, Ovče Polje, Zletovo, Pijenac, Kičevo and Debar were conquered.

In the north Braničevo and Vidin were taken by 1290. New eparchies were established: Gračanička, Končanska, Limska, Mačvanska, Braničevska, Beogradska and Skopska. The Serbian Orthodox Church venerates him on August 16 (August 29, Gregorian calendar).

The Icon of the Savior "Not Made by Hands"

The Icon of the Savior, Image Not-Made-By-Hands, also Acheiropoieta (Byzantine Greek: αχειροποίητα, "made without hand") is one of the earliest icons witnessed to by the Church. The Feast of this icon is celebrated on August 16, during the afterfeast period of the feast of the Dormition, and is called the Third Feast-of-the-Savior in August.

According to Tradition

During the time of the earthly ministry of the Savior, Abgar, ruler in the Syrian city of Edessa, was afflicted with leprosy. Reports of the great miracles performed by the Lord extended throughout Syria (Matt. 4:24) and as far as Arabia at this time. Although not having seen the Lord, Abgar believed in him and wrote a letter requesting Christ to come and heal him. Abgar sent his court painter, Ananias, with this letter to Palestine telling him to paint an image of the Divine Teacher. Ananias was not able go to near Christ because of the great many people listening to his preaching. He attempted to produce an image of the Lord Jesus Christ from afar, but could not. The Lord called Ananias and promised to send his disciple in order to heal Abgar from the leprosy and instruct him in salvation. Then the Lord called for water and a towel. He wiped His face with the towel, and on it was His Divine Image.

Dormition of the Theotokos

The feast of the Dormition or Falling-asleep of the Theotokos is celebrated on the fifteenth of August, preceded by a two-week fast. This feast, which is also sometimes called the Assumption, commemorates the death, resurrection and glorification of Christ’s mother. It proclaims that Mary has been “assumed” by God into the heavenly kingdom of Christ in the fullness of her spiritual and bodily existence.

As with the nativity of the Virgin and the feast of her entrance to the temple, there are no biblical or historical sources for this feast. The Tradition of the Church is that Mary died as all people die, not “voluntarily” as her Son, but by the necessity of her mortal human nature which is indivisibly bound up with the corruption of this world.

7 Holy Maccabee Martyrs

The seven holy Maccabee martyrs Abim, Antonius, Gurias, Eleazar, Eusebonus, Alimus and Marcellus, their mother Solomonia and their teacher Eleazar suffered in the year 166 before Christ under the impious Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This foolish ruler loved pagan and Hellenistic customs, and held Jewish customs in contempt. He did everything possible to turn people from the Law of Moses and from their covenant with God. He desecrated the Temple of the Lord, placed a statue of the pagan god Zeus there, and forced the Jews to worship it. Many people abandoned the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but there were also those who continued to believe that the Savior would come.

A ninety-year-old elder, the scribe and teacher Eleazar, was brought to trial for his faithfulness to the Mosaic Law. He suffered tortures and died at Jerusalem.