Georgia celebrates Dormition today

The holiday commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of Mary and her resurrection before being taken up into heaven., 28 Aug 2015 - 12:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Bells in Georgian churches are ringing loudly around the country today calling believers to celebrate one of the most significant days in the religious calendar – Virgin Mary's Dormition Day.

Today Orthodox Christians around the globe and in Georgia, together with part of the Catholic world, are celebrating Virgin Mary's Day (locally called Mariamoba), which is also called otherwise known as the Dormition of the Mother of God.

The holiday commemorates the "falling asleep” or death of Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven.

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 is conducting a festive service today, expected to be attended by worshipers from all over the country.

The Dormition of Virgin 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.

As Georgia was the country allocated to the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, Georgians feel very strongly about this occasion.

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 Virgin 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.

Each year Georgian believers celebrate several different kinds of celebrations dedicated to Virgin Mary. As well as the Dormition of the Mother of God, the Orthodox calendar also marks the Birth of Virgin Mary and the day when the Saint first went to church.

The next celebration comes on September 21 when Georgians will celebrate the Birth of Virgin Mary.