The “Panayia” (the All Holy Lady) in our Lives

August is the month when the Feast of the Falling Asleep (Dormition) of the Panayia-the Blessed Mother of our Lord, as the highlight. The Orthodox Church has set aside the first fifteen days of the month of August to remember the Dormition of the Theotokos, which is celebrated with the special Service of the Paraklesis (Supplication) on a daily basis, which culminates to the Divine Liturgy on August 15.

During this time, we are called again to pay special attention to our spiritual life. We are again called to reconcile with those around us, forgive those who have hurt us, and ask for forgiveness from those whom we might have hurt. The sacrament of Confession is again made available where we can deposit our sins and transgressions and ask of the forgiveness of God. The priest confessor offers absolution following the words of the Lord after the Resurrection saying “those whom you forgive their sins they are forgiven and those whom you retain their sins they are retained.” The benefit comes again to those who will approach with humility and contrition of heart.

On August 6 we commemorate an other important Feast from the Life of our Lord, the Feast of the Transfiguration. This is the Feast of our parish; the Name-Day of our Parish; one of the major Feasts of the Lord. But the climax of the two weeks of fasting and prayer is the feast on the 15th of August. The death of the Panayia becomes for us the source of life, as her life became for us the source of Salvation, for she continues to intercede for us from her high position among the Saints in Heaven. 

Orthodox Christians have always cherished the Panayia as their compassionate mother who prays to her son and God, for all of us. We cannot refrain from proclaiming her wondrous deeds. In our deepest sorrows and anxieties we find great comfort and understanding in Christ’s loving mother. During times of suffering, difficulties and tribulations, we lift up our souls and minds to her, who ceaselessly supplicates for us for mercy and forgiveness. Most speedily she responds with love to all who pray with sincere faith for her intercession. She assists and inspires us on the road to salvation. She comforts and grants peace to those who trust in her.

Let us honor the Mother of our Lord and offer this prayer from the Paraklesis Service to the Theotokos during this fasting period: 

“Joy of all that sorrow art thou, and of the oppressed a protector, and nurture of all the poor, comfort unto the estranged, a staff art thou of the blind, visitation of all the sick, a shelter and succor unto those brought down by pain, helper of orphaned ones. Mother of God in the Highest art thou, Oh Maiden; hasten, we pray thee, to redeem thy servants.”

In Christ’s Love,

Fr. Panayiotis