BOSTON – With devotion the faithful of all ages gathered at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, in Dracut, to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Kimisis tis Theotokou), chanting the hymns and praises during the Great Vespers service in front of the Panagia’s epitafio on August 14.
Members of the Greek community from Dracut and Lowell, MA, as well as Nashua and Wyndham in New Hampshire, braved the heavy rainfall to attend the services in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos, Mother of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Due to the inclement weather, the procession of the epitafio in the courtyard of the church which usually takes place every year was cancelled.
Presiding priest of the community for three years, Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos, Honorary Professor of the New Testament at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Boston, is one of the most respected clerics of the Archdiocese of America.
Fr. Stylianopoulos in his speech at the end of the service noted that “Panagia is the protector of Christians, the sweetness of the Angels.”
He added that “Panagia did her work by helping us to save us through the incarnation of Christ,” and wondered, “Do we do our own work in our community to spread our Gospel and our Orthodox Faith?”
He reminded the congregation that “Panagia is the spiritual mother of us all” adding that “we as students of Christ are also His brothers.” He also said that “Panagia has maternal feelings of consolation and caring and of that we are sure.”
Fr. Stylianopoulos referred to three elements that characterized the Panagia. He said she “had faith in her soul, a faith like a flame, a living faith” and added “we need it, living faith.”
He also said that the Panagia has “compassion” and “holiness” and noted that “only the grace of God can make us saints.”
Federation of Hellenic American Societies of New England President Vasilis Kafkas also attended the services.
A reception with coffee, pastries, and sweets followed. The community holds its annual three-day Greek Festival from Friday, Aug. 17-Sunday, Aug. 19.