Worshippers across the world were celebrating the Dormition of Virgin Mary on Monday, one of the greatest days in the Greek Orthodox calendar.
Greeks have associated the Virgin Mary with love, care for the weak, and sensitivity, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, pointed out in her statement.
Official celebrations started on the evening of August 14th from the church of Saint Mary in Trapzon, where the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, presided at the Great Vespers for the Dormition of the Virgin Mary in the presence of the Archbishop of America, Elpidophoros.
Χθες βράδυ ξεκινήσαμε την εορτή της Κοιμήσεως με τον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη προεξάρχοντα στον Μέγα Εσπερινό στον Ι. Ναό της Αγίας Μαρίας στην Τραπεζούντα. Σήμερα, ανεβαίνουμε το βουνό στην Παναγία Σουμελά και στην πανήγυρη της Θεοτόκου δια της οποίας προγευόμαστε την αιώνια ζωή! pic.twitter.com/jEseYGNwv0
— Elpidophoros (@Elpidophoros) August 15, 2022
On the day of the Dormition, Patriarch Bartholomew presided at the Divine Liturgy at the historic church of Panagia Soumela in Vermio in northern Greece.
State officials honor Dormition of Virgin Mary
On Monday, the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, attended the doxology for the Dormition of the Virgin Mary at the church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani on the island of Paros in the Cyclades.
“This year, we celebrate this great day for Orthodoxy, longing for the consoling and inspiring protection of the Virgin Mary that we, the Greeks, have associated with love, care for the weak, and sensitivity. I hope these values continue to inspire us,” President Sakellaropoulou stated after the Divine Liturgy.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who visited the island of Tinos for the celebration, said: “From the smallest and most secluded chapels to the great pilgrimages of our church, Greece, the Orthodoxy, today celebrate the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. We find strength and faith to be able to individually and collectively overcome the great difficulties and walk the path of progress, the path of self-confidence and the path of social cohesion.”
Empty cities during long weekend
Across Greece, the big cities are empty as the August exodus peaked during the Dormition long weekend when Greeks traditionally flock to the countryside and the islands to celebrate.
More than 130,000 passengers traveled to the Aegean islands from Piraeus port on Friday and Saturday, as ships departed on near-full capacity.
Some 190,000 vehicles had left Athens, heading north or south by Sunday, according to toll stations data.