The Fast of the Assumption of Saint Mary

August 6, 2021

The Mother of God Saint Mary’s assumption on her 64th age is a remembrance of the fast the apostles for fifteen consecutive days beginning August 7 till 22 with passion and diligence. It commemorates their witnessing of Saint Mary’s departure.

Saint Apostles then tended her body and carried it to Gethsemane for burial. However, some of the Jews blocked their way to prevent them from burying the body, and decided to snatch and burn it to ashes in avoiding of it may thereafter bring news of another ‘resurrection’ and ‘ascension’.

Unfortunate to the Jews, GOD sent HIS angel and took the body of HIS Mother in glory to the Heaven. Then, Holy Angels took the body to heaven, where Saint John escorted the Apostles to the Tree of Life he laid the body.  Eager in discerning, the apostles asked Saint John about the Saint Mary’s cadaver while he returned to Jerusalem which he informed them about her body, placed under the Tree of Life by the Angel. Then, the Apostles said to each other, “John saw and we did not; let us pray and fast that we can also see.”

So, for fifteen days they prayed and fasted for which later on, the Angels brought the body of the Virgin to them where they buried the body of the Saint Mary. Then after three days, just as Lord Jesus Christ had resurrected Saint Mary rose from the dead.

Whilst, Saint Thomas was serving in the diocese of India and was not present; but then, he went back to Jerusalem carried on a cloud and met Saint Mary while ascending. The saint 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 Saint Mary informed him about him being first to see Her ascending, and bestowed him the garment (also known as Megnez or Seben in Ge’ez) in which her body was covered as a token. Saint Thomas filled with grace and ecstasy.

When Saint Thomas arrived in Jerusalem where the disciples dwelled, he was informed about Saint Mary’s exodus. Keeping the secret from them, he said, “You know how I conducted myself at the resurrection of the LORD CHRIST, and I will not believe unless I see her body. So, the apostles took to the tomb to witness her body. But while uncovering the place, it was empty. Mystified and surprised, the apostles stood. Then, Saint Thomas who confirmed her death and witnessed the empty tomb, notified them about his vision of Saint Mary’s her assumption proving by the garment. Relatively, Archpriests of the Ethiopian Orthodox Incarnation Church cover their hand-held crosses with a piece of garment to remember the Seben Saint Thomas received from Saint Mary.

Eager to witness it themselves, the Apostles prayed and fasted the following year, which commenced on August 7. After 15 days of fasting, Saint Mary descended with her beloved SON, JESUS which He performed the Divine Liturgy assigning Saint Peter as Curate and Deacon Stephen as an arch deacon who descended from heaven.  Lord Jesus Christ also held the Holy Communion and then ordered the apostles to preach, witnessing the resurrection and assumption of His Mother Saint Mary to the whole world.

Onwards, laities even children fast the Filesta ( The Fast of the Assumption of Saint Mary for 15 days and part take the Holy Communion. Some also go on a Sabbath (Subae) in various Monasteries across the country.

Akin to all blessed years, we ought to fast Fileseta, for we are sinking down with our evils and flaws and hence crave the intercession of Saint Mary that we shall be cleansed out from our sin and heretics.

May her intercession and blessings be with us; Amen!

Source: Ethiopic Synaxarium