The Dormition of Theotokos is amongst the most important Christian celebrations, Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on August 15 each year. The Feast commemorates the repose (dormition in Greek "Κοίμηση") as She fell-asleep and the event of Her Assumption into heaven by God. The term Dormition expresses the lack of suffering as She fell asleep and transitioned to a state of spiritual peace.
This is a day of joy and celebration for the joy of the Mother reuniting with the Son. As such in many countries it is celebrated a public holiday.
In Patmos, Greece, the island known as the island of the Apocalypse, devotees gather to take place in the procession of the Epitaph, a tradition that has its roots in the Byzantine era.
In Tinos, hundreds gather to pray at the most known church of Greece devoted to Virgin Mary Megalochari. There is a popular tradition that is associated with this day, devotees out of respect for our Holy Mother, ask for her blessing by walking on their knees from the port of the island to the Church.
As She is shown on her deathbed, she is surrounded by the Apostoles and Jesus Christ himself attending to his Mother. As shown, he is holding a small child clothed in white garments representing the very soul of Virgin Mary. Our Lord is presented in His divine glory, in gold garments, Angels above His head and the Mandorla surrounding Him. The leaning posture of the Apostles and several bishops and women as if they are bowing to Her shows their deep respect and direct attention to Her.
The meaning of this Great Feast of our Church is the celebration and a fundamental teaching of our faith - the Resurrection of the body. In the case of Theotokos, this was accomplished by God's will, thus, this is a feast of hope, hope in Resurrection and eternal life. As many gathered around Virgin Mary's body, we gather around our departed loved ones and commend their souls into the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we remember those who have reposed in the faith before us and have passed on into the communion of the Saints, we prepare ourselves to one day be received into the new life of the age to come.
Through Christ she has become the mother of all of the children of God, embracing us with divine love. We also affirm through this Feast as we journey toward our heavenly abode that the Mother of God intercedes for us.
The Feast of the Dormition is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is conducted on the morning of the Feast and preceded by a Matins (Orthros) service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast. Scripture readings for the Feast of the Dormition are the following: At Vespers: Genesis 28:10-17; Ezekiel 43:27-44:4; Proverbs 9:1-11. At the Matins: Luke 1:39-49, 56. At the Divine Liturgy: Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28.