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Public Holidays In Cyprus - Assumption Day

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Information on the meaning of Assumption Day

Ayia Theklia Greek Orthodox Church                 Photo © CyprusExpat.co.uk

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven, informally known as The Assumption, according to the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of Anglicanism, was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." This doctrine was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus by exercising papal infallibility. While the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church believe in the Dormition of the Theotokos, which is the same as the Assumption, the death of Mary has not been dogmatically defined.

In Munificentissimus Deus (item 39) Pope Pius XII pointed to the Book of Genesis (3:15) as scriptural support for the dogma in terms of Mary's victory over sin and death as also reflected in 1 Corinthians 15:54: "then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory".

In the churches which observe it, the Assumption is a major feast day, commonly celebrated on August 15. In many Catholic countries, the feast is also marked as a Holy Day of Obligation.

Assumption Vs Dormition

The Catholic Feast of the Assumption is celebrated on August 15, and the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics celebrate the Dormition of the Theotokos (the falling asleep of the Mother of God) on the same date, preceded by a 14-day fast period. Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that Mary died a natural death, that her soul was received by Christ upon death, and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her death and that she was taken up into heaven bodily in anticipation of the general resurrection. Her tomb was found empty on the third day. "...Orthodox tradition is clear and unwavering in regard to the central point [of the Dormition]: the Holy Virgin underwent, as did her Son, a physical death, but her body – like His – was afterwards raised from the dead and she was taken up into heaven, in her body as well as in her soul.

She has passed beyond death and judgement, and lives wholly in the Age to Come. The Resurrection of the Body ... has in her case been anticipated and is already an accomplished fact. That does not mean, however, that she is dissociated from the rest of humanity and placed in a wholly different category: for we all hope to share one day in that same glory of the Resurrection of the Body which she enjoys even now."

Many Catholics also believe that Mary first died before being assumed, but they add that she was miraculously resurrected before being assumed, while others believe she was assumed bodily into Heaven without first passing through death. As mentioned earlier, this aspect of the Assumption is not authoritatively defined in Catholic theology, and either understanding may be legitimately held by Catholics. Eastern Catholics observe the Feast as the Dormition. Many theologians note by way of comparison that in the Catholic Church, the Assumption is dogmatically defined, while in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Dormition is less dogmatically than liturgically and mystically defined. Such differences spring from a larger pattern in the two traditions, wherein Catholic teachings are often dogmatically and authoritatively defined – in part because of the more centralized structure of the Catholic Church– while in Eastern Orthodoxy, many doctrines are less authoritative.

Feasts

The Assumption is important to many Catholic and Orthodox Christians as the Virgin Mary's heavenly birthday (the day that Mary was received into Heaven). Her acceptance into the glory of Heaven is seen by them as the symbol of the promise made by Jesus to all enduring Christians that they too will be received into paradise. The Assumption of Mary is symbolised in the Fleur-de-lys Madonna.

The feast of the Assumption is a public holiday in many countries, including Austria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Germany (Bavaria and Saarland only), Greece, Lebanon, Lithuania, Italy, Malta, Mauritius,[33] Poland, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland (8 cantons only) and Vanuatu. In Eastern Orthodox churches following the Julian Calendar, the feast day of Assumption of Mary falls on August 28.

The present Italian name of the holiday, "Ferragosto", may derive from the Latin name, Feriae Augusti ("Holidays of the Emperor Augustus"),[ since the month of August took its name from the emperor. The Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15 was celebrated in the eastern Church from the 6th Century. The Catholic Church adopted this date as a Holy Day of Obligation to commemorate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the real physical elevation of her sinless soul and incorrupt body into Heaven.

The Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15 is a public holiday in many countries, including Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chile, Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Colombia, Cyprus, East Timor, France, Gabon, Greece, Republic of Guinea, Haiti, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Tahiti, Togo, and Vanuatu.

It is also a holiday in some predominantly Catholic states of Germany, including Bavaria and Saarland. In Guatemala it is observed in Guatemala City and in the town of Santa Maria Nebaj, both of which claim her as their patron saint. Also, this day is combined with Mother's Day in Costa Rica. In many places, religious parades and popular festivals are held to celebrate this day. Source Wikipedia

Last Updated 12 August 2016

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