Orthodox Holidays during August 2020
1st August – Dormition Fast Begins
The Dormition Fast is one of fourth multi-day periods devoted to prayer and restrain during the year. In duration of two weeks the Orthodox Church is preparing for the two big holidays, On August 6th, the Church celebrates the Transfiguration of the Lord as a major feast day. On 15 August, the Assumption Day of the Virgin Mary. The Dormition fast is not as strict as the Great Fast, but it is stricter than the Holy Apostle’s and Holy Nativity fasts. The stricter fasts are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when it is allowed to eat fruit, vegetables and uncooked food (without oil), on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can eat cooked food, but with no oil and on Saturdays and Sundays wine and olive oil are allowed. If Transfiguration of the Lord or Assumption Day of the Virgin Mary fall on Wednesday or Friday it is allowed to eat fish.
6th August — Transfiguration of the Lord
The disciples could not accept that Jesus Christ would endure offences and suffering — according to them that was unacceptable with His greatness and glory. But he was telling them often about the suffering which they would endure one day, about his death and the Resurrection. One day, Jesus leads just three of his disciples, Peter, James and John, to the Tavor mountain where he distanced himself and began to pray. When they woke up his appearance was radiantly transformed. While Peter was speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them. A voice came from the cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” When the disciples heard this they fell on their faces filled with awe. Jesus came to them and told them to not be afraid. When the three looked up they saw only Jesus. The Transfiguration of the Lord symbolises change and new hope. The holiday is celebrated in the end of the Christian Church year.
15 August – Assumption Day of the Virgin Mary
The Assumption Day of the Virgin Mary is one of 12th great feasts celebrated by Catholics and Orthodox around the world.. It is believed that on that day when Virgin Mary died her body was “assumed” into heaven and reunited there with her soul. Three days before her death Archangel Gavrail informed her that God wished to take her to his kingdom. Her last wish was to see together the Holy Disciples for the last time. Three days later, Jesus Christ surrounded by angels and saints, came down from heaven to take her soul. Virgin Mary was buried in a cave and when the cave was opened three days later they found only her shroud.
18 August – Saint Ivan of Rila
The Orthodox Church commemorates the death of Saint Ivan of Rila who was the first Bulgarian hermit. He was revered as a saint while he was still alive. The legend surrounding him tells of wild animals that freely came up to him and birds that landed in his hands. His followers founded many churches in his honour, including the famous Rila Monastery. One of these churches, “St Ivan Rilski” was only discovered in 2008 in the town of Veliko Tarnovo. Today, he is honoured as the patron saint of the Bulgarians and as one of the most important saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
29 August – the Beheading of St John the Forerunner
The Beheading of St. John the Forerunner is the commemoration of the martyrdom of John the Forerunner. It is a strict fast day because of the grief of Christians at the violent death of the saint. It is commemorated by the Church on August 29. In the old testament it is written that when John turned 30, God ordered him to start preaching that Jesus Christ was born. John started spreading the word of Jesus Christ and he baptised many people in Jordan river. When Jesus appeared in front of John the Baptist, he baptised Jesus in the river and continued preaching Christianity until the day that he was beheaded.