August 28th, the Russian Orthodox Church marks the great feast of the Dormition of the Holy Lady.
The Foreign Church Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate reported that on that day Patriarch Alexyi II of Moscow and all Russia will serve holy liturgy in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.
The feast of the Dormition of Our Lady marks the end of the many-day-long Dormition feast, which believers can break after today's morning service.
According to the Gospel, at the end of the Holy Virgin's earthly life Archangel Gabriel appeared to Her and announced her coming demise. Before her death Holy Mary wanted to bid farewell to Jesus's disciples who were at that time preaching Christianity all over the world. At the Holy Virign's prayer the apostles were in a miraculous way assembled near her deathbed. When the time of the Holy Lady's demise came, Jesus Christ himself appeared near her deathbed and accepted her soul into his hands.
This church tradition has become one of the favourite subjects in Russian icon painting. The icons and frescos depict the Holy Lady lying on her deathbed surrounded by the apostles and Jesus Christ holding the Holy Virgin's soul in the form of a little female figure.
According to the Bible, after the Holy Lady's death, the apostles buried her body in the Gethsemane cave. However, on the third day after her demise Christ's disciples who wanted to console Apostle Thomas who came late for the burial, opened the grave of the Holy Lady and saw only the burial shrouds in it. Thus, they saw that the Holy Virgin was assumed directly into heaven in bodily form.
The name of the feast - Dormition - points to the fact that the holy Virgin was taken up into heaven body and soul.
The Russian Orthodox believe that, having left the earth in her body, the Holy Lady did not cease to intercede with her Son for the world and for Christ's Church and consider the feast of the Dormition as an evidence thereof.