August 1 is a day of procession with the life-giving cross

As we begin the Dormition Fast (also called the Fast of the Theotokos) today, there is usually a typical, and unique procession with the life-giving cross and a blessing of water. In history, we think of when Constantinople was the capitol of a Christian empire, the custom was to carry the relic of the Holy Cross throughout the city every day of the Fast. Parish churches organize a procession with a cross which is taken from house to house thus forming a pilgrimage. Some people may also make a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine.

Holy Water is blessed on August 1 in a special service called the Lesser Blessing of Water. This blessing of water asks for the intercession of Mary, the Holy Mother of God at the beginning of the Fast.

Some things to do:

If you have not already done so, discuss this season in the family and decide how you will observe it.

Place a cross in a place of honor for these fourteen days. Adorn it with candles and flowers, and pray before it daily.

Sprinkle every room with holy water and drink some every day at your prayers during this Fast.

If there are children in your family, cut some fresh flowers for the Cross and an icon of the Theotokos or help them design paper flowers for this season, with a petal for each day. For example make three flowers with five petals each. Each day let them write on one petal what they remember most about your reading and discussion on that day.

Pray these verses to the Mother of God from the Lesser Blessing of Water:

~O Virgin who was greeted with the Angel’s “Hail!” and gave birth to the Life-giver Himself, your Creator, save those who magnify you.
~We sing of your Son, O Theotokos, and cry aloud: from all adversities save your servants, O Immaculate.
~All my hope I place in you, O Theotokos; keep me by your intercessions.
~Your Temple, O Theotokos, was shown forth as a priceless remedy for our ills – the consolation of our wounded souls.