The Orthodox feast of the Dormition is very similar to what Roman Catholicism calls the Assumption of Mary. According to Orthodox Tradition, Mary died like all humanity, "falling asleep," so to speak, as the name of the feast indicates. (Roman Catholic theologians are divided on the issue of whether Mary died. Today most would favor an actual death before the Assumption.) The feast is preceded by 14 days of fasting; on these days, either the Great Paraklesis (service of supplication) or the Small Paraklesis is celebrated.
Thomas arrived a few days later, and desiring to see her one more time, convinced the others to open her tomb. Upon doing so, the Apostles discovered that her body was no longer present. This event is seen as a firstfruits of the resurrection of the faithful that will occur at the Second Coming of Christ. The event is normally called the Dormition, though there are many Orthodox parishes in English-speaking countries with the name Assumption. In Greek, Dormition is Koimisis—falling asleep in death—from which the word cemetery derives.
- In giving birth you preserved your virginity,
- In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos.
- You were translated to life, O Mother of Life,
- And by your prayers, you deliver our souls from death.
Kontakion (Tone 2)
- Neither the tomb, nor death could hold the Theotokos,
- Who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions.
- For being the Mother of Life,
- She was translated to life by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb.