Catholicate News – Indian Orthodox Malankara Church – August 2016
AHMEDABAD: Orthodox Diocese of Ahmedabad Metropolitan HG Pulikottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios has called upon the faithful to invoke Soonoyo fast with all seriousness.
In an elaborative message to the faithful of the Diocese, the Metropolitan says that by partaking in the Feast of Dormition of Holy Theotokos, ‘we learn with her blessings to calm the storms of death that may devastate our soul.’
Sharing his thoughts on the auspicious occasion on ‘Btsulto Mariam – Virgin Mary’, he says the feast has got significant and mystic reflections. Stating that each year, month of August invokes us the Dormition Feast of Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with fasting and special prayers.
His Grace explains that Mary has been given many attributes, but, poetically none of them complete the portrait of such a holy figure! But with a more wider theological perspective, the attribute ‘Theotokos’ draws a near perfect sketch of Virgin Mary; the Holy Triune God being the only perfect.
The canonical-liturgical year calendar proscribes a 14-day fast from August 1 with celebration of the feast on August 15.
Pointing out that the 15 day fasting is duly observed among all Oriental group of Orthodox Churches and few other sister churches, the feast has obtained a significant and mystic reflections with the Dormition (or falling asleep) or departure of the Theotokos being a broader concept of study in
Fasting before this important feast on August 15 helps the individual to revalidate his or her devotion and loyalty towards the Lord, His Grace points out.
Reminding the faithful who are burdened and fail to quench divine possessions, Mar Yulios calls upon to pause and observe the fast, by meditating and honouring the ‘Holy Theotokos’. This will enable our lives to get prepared with a repenting heart, which according to the psalmist is the apt sacrifice in God’s sight.
“In this swing of materialism, when we pause to observe the fast, by meditating and honoring the ‘Holy Theotokos’, our lives get prepared with a repenting heart, which according to the psalmist is the apt sacrifice in God’s sight.”
Mar Yulios points that the falling asleep of Theotokos is a mystical episode. “The Dormition reflects that the Mother of life cannot taste death! The one who was chosen to yield the ‘Life Giver’ to this world stays calm at her final hour!
His Grace further mentions that the life of St Mary from childhood till falling asleep or Dormition sets a divine paradigm for contemplation. His message also quotes from St Ephraim the Syrian and Pope Saint Pius X to illustrate the Virgin Most Powerful ‘who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent’.
Finally by taking the Feast of Dormition of Holy Theotokos, “we can learn with her blessings to calm the storms of death that may devastate our soul. Death may not be the one referring to return to the soil but also the moment which kills the drive within to do God’s wishes.”
Metropolitan Mar Yulios mentions that the role of Holy Theotokos in bringing forth the salvation is knowledgeably made aware to us through the divine studies and writings of the holy Church Fathers or teachers. The Old and New Testament makes various metaphoric mention of Mary namely like the burning bush, fleece of wool and as the thicket bringing Her into the light.
Mar Yulios calls upon all and enjoins with God to observe the fast and feast of Dormition of Holy Theotokos with due preparations and faith. “Pray for us and for the betterment of the church and remembering all in our humble prayers. May the prayers and blessings of the Holy Theotokos be a strong refuge for all,” His Grace concludes.