Prayer and the Dormition Fast

dormitionIn birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As mother of life, you departed to the source of life, delivering our souls from death by your intercessions. Troparion of the Feast

On August 1st, and for the next 15 days, Orthodox Christians around the world will be in a time of fasting and repentance leading up to the Great Feast of the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Most Holy Theotokos.  This time, set apart by the Church, is used to call us back and to refocus our attention, not on the things of this world, but on the things of the world to come.  This is also a time of prayer, prayer for those in need and yes, a time of prayer for ourselves.

Yesterday, I sent a letter to my parishioners asking them to spend time in prayer and fasting these fifteen days for those suffering around the world from war and strife especially those in the Middle East.  It is not for us to chose sides in these conflicts but to pray for those who are in harm’s way, the innocents, and also to pray for those waging war that they do so with compassion.  War, by its very nature, is sinful but sometimes necessary and should be waged with the greatest of care for those who are innocent in the struggle.

My parishioners and I will be gathering on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to pray the Service of Paraklesis or service of intercessory prayer.  This service is proscribed by the liturgical books of the Orthodox Church to be used during these 15 days as well as in other times of distress.  It is a beautiful services that asks for the aid of Mary, the Most Holy Theotokos, for those suffering.  We will gather in our chapel at 6:00 pm for this service.  If you are unable to join us and wish to pray with us, here is a link to the service

I am often asked what we can do to help in this time of great suffering around the world and my answer is pray!  If you can do more great, but all of us can pray, and should pray, for an end to hostilities and for the protection of the innocents.

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