Georgia celebrates Saint Mary's Day

The holiday commemorates the "falling asleep" of Mary, and her resurrection before being taken up into heaven., 28 Aug 2014 - 11:57, Tbilisi,Georgia

Orthodox Christians around the globe and in Georgia, together with part of the Catholic world, are celebrating one of the most significant days in the religious calendar – Saint Mary's Day, otherwise known as the Dormition of the Mother of God.

The holiday commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of Mary, the mother of Jesus (literally translated as God-bearer), and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven.

In Georgia, Mary is referred to as Mariami and the holiday is as Mariamoba. The majority of Georgia’s population is Orthodox Christian so today is a public holiday in the country.

The Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II conducted a festive service at the Sioni Cathedral of the Dormition in Tbilisi today. The service was attended by the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and his wife.

The Dormition of Mary is commemorated by one of the great feasts of the Orthodox Church. The feast is preceded by a two-week fast, referred to as the Dormition Fast in Georgia, where for 14 days prior to the holiday, religious Georgians cannot eat meat, fish, dairy products and eggs.

The Mother of God is considered the principal protector and intercessor of Georgia as the country was first allocated to her to preach in. It is believed Saint Mary’s holy robe is placed in the Saint Mary's Church in Samegrelo region of western Georgia. On July 15 each year the holy robe becomes accessible to the public where believers can get close to the relic. 

Meanwhile, Mariami – and other names that derived from it - was one of the most common female names in Georgia. Latest statistics say in Georgia, there were:

  • 60,349 people named Mariami,
  • 5,285 named Marika,
  • 3,653 named Maro,
  • 3,605 named Mari,
  • 902 named Marusa,
  • 549 named Masho,
  • 83 named Mashiko, and 
  • 52 named Mariko