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When the rite of burial of the Most Holy Mother of God is performed in Orthodox churches

The Order of the Burial of the Most Holy Theotokos includes both sad chants dedicated to the assumption (death) of the Virgin Mary, as well as liturgical texts, giving people hope for the fulfillment of the promise of the Virgin Mary about the intercession of humanity before God until the end of time.


The departure of the service of the burial of the Mother of God is a pious custom that has entered the liturgical life of the Church. In the Typicon (the main book reflecting the liturgical charter of the Church), there is no follow-up to the rite of burial of the Mother of God and instructions to perform it in Orthodox churches. However, such a silence of the Typicon about this service is not a serious obstacle to the administration of worship, because such an action shows a special love of a person for the Mother of God and the veneration of a zealous intercessor for Christians.


The first manuscripts with the rite of the Burial of the Most Holy Theotokos date from around the 15th to the 16th centuries. According to the established pious custom, this order is performed in Jerusalem at the tomb of the Virgin Mary on the eve of the feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God. Historically, in other churches of the Orthodox East, this service was performed in conjunction with the festive service of the Assumption of the Virgin (on August 28th in a new style), that is, on the feast of the Assumption itself. However, the Charter of the Great Church of Constantinople forbids such a connection between the order of the Funeral of the Most Holy Theotokos and the festive service of the Assumption. In Russia, nevertheless, the practice of celebrating the Assumption service in conjunction of an all-night vigil (on the eve of the Assumption) with a separate part of the service from the burial rite has been preserved. In this case, the rite of burial falls on the evening of the 27th of August. This practice takes place in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and in the Kostroma Epiphany Monastery.


In most churches of the Russian Orthodox Church, the order of the Burial of the Most Holy Theotokos is customary to be performed in the coming days after the Assumption. Most often this worship is performed on the third day after the feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God.If we take into account that the service of the daily circle begins on the eve of the event being celebrated, the very vigil with the rite of burial takes place on the second day in the evening after the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on August 29th.


The practice of commemorating the burial of the Virgin on the third day after the Assumption was firmly entrenched in Russia from the middle of the XIX century, when this divine service began to go to the Gethsemane monastery at the Trinity Sergeeva Lavra just in this order.


However, it is worth considering that sometimes the third day of the Assumption of the Virgin coincides with Sunday. In this case, the order of the Burial of the Mother of God is not performed along with the festive Sunday service, but is postponed to the fourth day after the Assumption (respectively, the all-night vigil, performed the night before, is sent on the third day). It happened in 2015. The Feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God fell on Friday, August 28th, respectively, the third day coincides with Sunday. But on the eve of Sunday festive Sunday service is performed on Saturday evening. Therefore, the liturgical charter recommends the transfer of the divine service of the Burial of the Most Holy Mother of God on the 4th day after the Assumption (31st of August, Monday).Accordingly, the rank of the Burial itself is served in 2015 on August 30th on Sunday evening.


It is also worth noting that with the blessing of the parish rector, for any valid reason, the burial of the Mother of God can be served on other days of the celebration of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God.

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