The Fast of Saint Mary

August 4, 2023

Dear Children of God, how are you? How is the winter season with your family, relatives and friends? Are you using your time properly? Children, time is valuable and we should schedule it in the right manner so that we could have time to do what we like and all the necessary things before we start to school. The first thing we have to do is to obey our parents as they tell us to learn in taking care of ourselves, help out in house chorus, read and learn church education and also have spare time to play in discipline.

Children, we must use the winter season properly knowing the important things for our spiritual life. Do you know the other important thing we can do in this winter? It is to fast “The Fast of Saint Mary.” I think you know by now what fasting is and why we fast. May we remind you fast is to abstain food and drink (not eating food and drinking anything) for a given period of time. The time from Nehasse 1 up to 15 is the known to be “The Fast of Saint Mary.” We fast it in the commemoration of our holy Mother Saint Mary’s departure and assumption to the heavens.

The story as it is in scripted in holy scriptures is as follows. The twelve apostles inclined Saint Mary’s body and carried it to Gethsemane for burial. But the Jews out of envy (jealous) blocked the way of apostles preventing them from burying the body. They even decided to snatch and burn it to ashes. This was because they feared she might here rise and ascend (depart to the heavens) like her Son Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Then, one of the soldier reached and of them touched Saint Mary’s coffin to try to stop it from reaching the burial place. Right away, the angel of God came and cut off his hands as he attempted to prevent the burial of our Lady. Soon after. Our holy mother pleaded God pray and through her prayers he was healed. Our Lord Jesus Christ with thousands of angels and all the apostles came to her.

Acknowledging the evil intent of the Jews, GOD sent His angel and took away the body of His Mother in glory to the Heaven. Saint Thomas the Apostle was not present at the time of Saint Mary’s departure. He was on duty in his apostolic diocese of India. As he went back to Jerusalem carried on a cloud, he met Saint Mary while ascending. Thomas then said to her, “I was not chosen to see your SON’s ascension in Glory, nor was I to witness yours. How sinful I am!” But She told him that he was the first to see Her ascending, and gave him the garment (also known as Megnez or Seben in Ge’ez) with which her rested body was covered as a token. That filled him with grace and ecstasy. The seben that the deacons hold during prayer services.

After this, the Angels took the body to heaven laid it under the Tree of Life. When Saint John returned to the other apostles, they went to her grave together but could not find her body. The apostles were confused about the situation but Saint John told about his meeting Saint Mary in the heaven during her ascension. He told them that her body was placed under the Tree of Life by an Angel. The Apostles then said to each other, “John saw and we did not; let us pray and fast that we can see also.”

They fasted and prayed for fifteen days, after which the Angels of God brought the body of the Virgin to the Apostles. They buried the body of the Virgin on Sunday. “On Tuesday, three days later, the Virgin Mary rose from the dead, just as Christ had resurrected.”

In spite of Saint Thomas’s explanation of Saint Mary’s resurrection, the Apostles were eager to witness it for themselves. So one year later they started fasting and praying starting from August 7. On the 22nd of August (after 15 days of fasting) Saint Mary came with her beloved Son, Jesus.

The same day, Lord Jesus Christ performed the Divine Liturgy Designating Saint Peter as assistant priest and Deacon Stephen (coming from heaven) as an arch deacon and gave them the Holy Communion (Qurban). After the service, He ordered the apostles to preach and witness the resurrection and assumption of His Mother throughout the world.

Farewell children! We hope you have understood the lesson on “The Fast of Saint Mary” and fast in accordance to Church Liturgy. We shall fast it with faith, hope, love, diligence in religion, alms giving and Christians manner.

May Saint Mary intercession and blessings be with us now and forever, Amen!

Source: The Synaxarium, of Nehasee 16 (August 22).