August 15 is a major feast day in both the west and the east. On this date, the Roman Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary, or her bodily ascent into Heaven after her death, while the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the Dormition, or Falling Asleep, of Mary, also referring to the end of her life on earth.
The Episcopal Church and much of the wider Anglican Communion calls this day the Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. While this title doesn’t focus specifically on the end of Mary’s life, as the Roman and Eastern feast names do, we still use the same prayers and lessons as these two older traditions.
At Saint Thomas we celebrate this feast twice:
- Friday, August 15: the feast day itself, with three services in the Lady Chapel (Chantry Chapel)
- Sunday, August 17: morning services at 8am, 9am and a Festal Eucharist at 11am. This year, the choir singing of the Blessed Mother at 11am is that of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Tampa, Florida.