Posted by: anna | August 14, 2009

All-Merciful Saviour

The icon image is taken from

Today (1 August on the Old Calendar) we celebrate the beginning of the Dormition Fast, the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord (1164) (First of the three “Feasts of the Saviour” in August) and the Feast to the All-Merciful Saviour and the Most Holy Mother of God. Well, three feasts new to me, I don’t know anything about any of them. There is a good resume here.

The Feast to the All-Merciful Saviour and the Most Holy Mother of God was established on the occasion of portents from icons of the Saviour, the Most Holy Mother of God and the Venerable Cross during the time of a battle of holy Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky (1157-1174) with the Volga Bulgars in 1164.

This is the first of three feast days of the All-Merciful Saviour celebrated in August. The second is the Transfiguration (Preobrazhenie, Metamorphosis) of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Comm. 6 August). The third is the Transfer from Edessa to Constantinople of the Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image of the Lord Jesus Christ (Comm. 16 August, during the Afterfeast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God). These three feasts, as it were, connect together the Dormition-Uspenie Fast.

(summary from Holy Trinity Orthodox Calendar)

There is so much liturgical richness in the Orthodox liturgical year it can get overwhelming – hence my idea to concentrate on the British saints here, with the occasional sidetrack (hardly!) to the main feast of the day or season. It’s one of the things that I loved best about the Anglican church too, though it’s a pale shadow of Orthodox observance. It’s a struggle living in the world but not of it. I often wish I ‘had time’ to immerse myself properly in the feasts of the Church, to observe, learn and inhabit the liturgical year (what in the West are called the Temporal and Sanctoral cycles) without being distracted by either pointless time-wasting or the plain necessity of spending my working days thinking about entirely other things. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to ‘have time’ not only to attend more weekday services and be immersed in the great intersecting circles of chronos and kairos in the feasts, but also to think, pray and study about these things? I feel very pulled in (at least) two directions. But when I think of the extraneous activities and things in my life – I could make more time than I do. Feeling bad about the conflict is just another way of not bothering to do something about it. What am I so afraid of ‘giving up’, and how much am I really willing to change?

Troparion for the Feast to the All-Merciful Saviour and the Most Holy Mother of God (Tone 8)

With greatest oversight, accepting the wretched,
Visit our embittered sins, O All-merciful Master,
Through the prayers of the Theotokos,
Bestow great mercy on our souls.

Through the prayers of the Mother of God, save us, o Saviour.

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