Dormition of the Virgin Mary Celebrated in Bronx

A snapshot of the Divine Liturgy with Artoklasia at the Church of Saint Peter of the Apostle in the Bronx. (Photo by TNH/ Despina Afentouli)

BRONX, NY – In a devout atmosphere, the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (Kimisis tis Theotokou) was celebrated on August 15 at St. Peter the Apostle Greek Orthodox Church in the Bronx. The Divine Liturgy was performed by the presiding priest of the community, Archimandrite Fr. Maximos Politis, who, after wishing the best to all and especially those who celebrated their nameday, spoke about the issues of pain and death.

Since the beginning of August, the Intercessory Prayers (Paraclesis) to the Virgin Mary had been made as a period of “preparation” for the feast of Her sacred memory, he said, noting that not only do we ask for consul and mediation for believers, but also for salvation, quoting the verse Most Holy Theotokos save us. As he explained, a similar honor and adoration was attributed to God.

“Panagia gathers all the faithful to honor Her, but also to be spiritually glad,” he said, wondering what would be the reason for this spiritual joy, despite the fact of her Dormition, of her death, just as the memory of most of the Saints of the Church is honored?

“This joy, the Panagia also conveys to her loved ones when they gather to honor both her own Dormition and that of a faithful child, as are all Christians,” he said, pointing out that if you accept “this truth, then the mystery of death takes on another dimension and then the sad public debt, death in other words, is transformed into a joyous favor.”

A large crowd attended the Holy Church of St. Peter the Apostle to commemorate the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. (Photo by TNH/ Despina Afentouli)

The sadness of separation from a loved one he said is a feeling that every Christian experienced or can experience, but, as he stated, “the burden and grief are now giving way to relief and good humor.”

“[Every Christian] regrets why he is temporarily and violently separated from a loved one, but he or she is happy because he has the firm conviction that his man is already in the hands of God,” he emphasized, saying that the Church appointed some important events from the life of the Panagia to be celebrated, so that we can think what would the Lord say if he heard us say this stereotypical wish, “first of all health.”

Comparing grief, pain, and the fact of death of the people concerned as a personal death and grave, he said that the Panagia recognized what pain means after her soul experienced the death of Christ: “That’s why we ask Her to help us on the subject of pain and death, to experience them correctly.”

“Then the apostolic saying that ‘she always works for the good’ will come true, everything is done for the sake of our soul, and that personal pain and grief that resemble a grave will be transformed into a staircase to Heaven, which is the cause of our salvation,” he concluded.

Archim. Fr. Maximos Politis spoke about the meaning of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary feast. (Photo by TNH/ Despina Afentouli)