Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We commemorate today, on this blessed Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary, the holy repose of the Mother of our Lord and seek her intercessions for deliverance, refuge, and salvation in Christ. From her resting place among the Saints she continues to radiate the grace of God offering solace and strength to those in need. Through her repose and her constant ministry on our behalf, the Theotokos shows the power of faith and the promise of life beyond death.
For this reason this is a Feast of celebration and joy. It is also a Feast of hope and assurance. In the Kontakion of this day we sing, “Neither the tomb nor death had power over the Theotokos, who is ever watchful in her prayers and in whose intercession lies unfailing hope.” First, we are filled with hope on this day as we look to the beautiful example of a life dedicated to the will and love of God. She has shown us the path to communion with Him. Through her witness of complete faith and unwavering obedience the Virgin Mary guides us in trusting in the divine will and committing all of our ways unto the Lord.
Second, through her life and repose we see the miraculous power of God and the blessings of a life long relationship with Him. This power made her the dwelling of the Son of God. It is the divine power that sustained her throughout the life and ministry of our Lord and made her a paragon of virtue and a pillar of strength. The power of God transformed her repose into a witness of holiness and a feast of joy for a life that draws all humanity to the Savior.
Our services for this Feast are a prayerful and much needed reminder of the hope that we find in the Theotokos. In times of distress and need we find comfort and strength in the intercessions of one who knows our struggles and embodies the compassion of our Lord. We also seek the intercessions, deliverance, and comfort of the Theotokos for all who are in need and struggling through tragedy, want, and despair. For many of our brothers and sisters in Greece, this has and continues to be a time of hardship and uncertainty. Too many are lacking basic necessities or face the possibility of great need in the months and years ahead. On this day, a very special Feast for Orthodox Christians, we seek the intercessions of our Most Holy Lady. In this time her comfort is needed. Her aid is sought so that hope may be nurtured in the hearts of those seeking deliverance.
On this day as we commemorate her repose, may we ask for the intercessions of the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary for those in great need, especially the people of Greece. May we follow her example of service to God and humankind. And may our worship be a faithful witness of the power and life that she has shown through her life.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America