MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the Russian Orthodox Church held a liturgy in the Assumption Cathedral at the Moscow Kremlin on Friday as Russia marked the Dormition of the Theotokos.
The Dormition, or Falling Asleep of the Theotokos, also called the Assumption, is one of the great Christian feasts. It commemorates the death, resurrection and glorification of Mary, Mother of God and is preceded by a two-week fast.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia also led a procession of icons and crosses around the cathedral, accompanied by priests and bishops.
He urged believers to pray to the Mother of God so that "her humble image again becomes a beacon for our nation...at least the part that associates its national identity with Christianity and its ideals."
Church legend has it that Mary Mother of God knew when she would die because the Archangel Gabriel prophesized that she would pass away in three days.
The apostles gathered in Jerusalem to bid her farewell and bury her. Thomas was the only one who did not attend the burial, and when on the third day he came to pay his last respects, the tomb was empty and according to a vision Christ had taken her body to heaven.
In the west, the feast is marked as the Assumption of Mary and is celebrated on August 15.
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