It’s a huge blessing for the Christians to have the Most Holy Theotokos as their powerful intercessor before God! And not just an intercessor – we have Her as our Mother! Because the Immaculate Virgin is a Mother in two aspects: She is the Mother of God and the Mother of Christians. A Mother of God – because She carried God in her immaculate womb, gave birth to Christ the Saviour, thus giving a human body to the second Person of the Threesome God. A Mother of Christians – by adoption: if we the Christians are called brothers of Jesus Christ by the grace of adoption by God, then, consequently, we are sons of the Most Holy Theotokos. As a Divine Mother, according to Her maternal dignity, She has infinite grace in Her Son, on the other hand, as the Mother of Christians, through Her immense maternal love, She treats her children with endless mercy. Therefore, it is our duty to at least, respond with love to Her maternal care for us. The best and the most dignified way to show Her our gratitude is through prayer, fasting and good deeds. That is why the Holy Church gives us these graceful days of the blessed Fast of the Theotokos, days when we should pray more intensively to our Heavenly Mother, and show Her gratitude. Actually this holy fast is a physical and spiritual preparation for the Dormition of the Mother of God, the so called Pascha of Theotokos, when we celebrate her repose and her rising from the dead. From the very beginning of the fast, the Church prepares us for this great mystery with the presentation of the Holy and Life-giving Cross. This is because the Dormition of Theotokos is a revelation of the triumph of Christ’s Cross, which is inseparable from His resurrection. Where the Cross of Christ is, there follows His resurrection also, and the beauty of all the virtues. This is the mystical place where the soul and body of men prosper. It gives joy to the soul, not the joy of this world, but rather the joy that comes from God; it gives purity to our bodies, equal by nature to the body of Christ and the Mother of God, because we know that the body a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6,19).
So, at the very threshold of the Dormition Fast, the brothers of Bigorski and the present faithful were given a chance, through the grace of the Divine Liturgy served by our Elder Archimandrite Parthenius, to perceive the mystery of the Theotokos Pascha and the mystery of life and death of everyone who loves Christ and strives to fulfill His Commandments. The light of this contemplative perception came from the poles of Christ’s Cross, which our Elder, according to the wonderful tradition of the service for this day, presented for veneration before the beginning of the Liturgy. And just like the small drop reflects the entire sun, so did the drops of holy water on their faces reflect their souls with this calming divine light.
Indeed, according to the words of our dearest Elder, “We have entered the days when though very sinful, we have the chance to stand very close to the Mother of God and find peace for our souls under Her maternal protection. Also, we are given the opportunity to humble ourselves with prayer, restraint, purity and merciful deeds and thus made worthy to become participants of the Kingdom which She entered on the day of Her blessed Dormition”. Amen
May we have a blessed beginning of this Holy Fast of Theotokos by the prayers of our glorious Empress, the Immaculates Virgin Mary and may we all be found worthy to venerate Her honorable Dormition with purity and joy!