Malankara World

Shunoyo (Soonoyo) - Assumption of St. Mary - Supplement

Shunoyo Lent

by H.E Mor Themotheos Thomas Metropolitan

Shunoyo lent is very old and is in memory of St. Mary. It is interesting to see that in all the ancient Churches, this lent is observed. Apart from our Church, the Roman Catholic, the Byzantine Churches and several others observe this lent. That points to the fact that this has a common origin, going back to the times when all Churches were one.

When the British thought of giving independence to India, they of course, in consultation with the Indian National Congress leaders, chose August 15 as the day of independence for the nation. In fact the day was chosen deliberately. This is the day of assumption of St. Mary.

Now when we think of the lent, we see that it is a canonical lent, approved and granted down through the ancient Councils, commemorating the worldly departure of Mary. In the Church parlance or according to the fathers of the Church she has been called Theotokos which means Mother of God.

Her departure from this world was witnessed by the Apostolic Church with full reverence, and the fifteen days lent began to be observed prior to that day of her assumption. St. Mary has a unique place in the Church. She is respected above all other Saints because her role in the redemption of the mankind is unique. Apart from Jesus Christ, her stature is top above all other Saints. Now when we move to the 15 days lent, let us remember that her mediation is valuable to our mortal life. Her intercession is precious to our lives. As a person who passed through many tragedies in this world, her life is worth emulating, when we too come across difficult times.

Humanity is always in search of models. The traditional protestant Churches (I mean the Lutherans, the Calvinists etc.) although do not pray to St. Mary, in modern times they value her role in the 'Heilsgescicte', which means the history of healing or salvation.

Even many thinkers in the Women's liberation find role model in Mary. This is a very fascinating aspect in the post-modern times.

My scribbling has become lengthy. I think I must stop now without boring you further.

May God Almighty bless you all through the intercession of St. Mary.

Thomas Themotheos Metropolitan
St. Joseph's Cathedral
Sastri Road, Kottayam

See Also:

Soonoyo Lent by Very Rev. Kuriakose Corepiscopa Moolayil
The Syrian Orthodox Church observes the Soonoyo lent in connection with the translation of St. Mary. The church observes different days and hours in honour of St. Mary, the blessed. Soonoyo lent is the mandatory one in connection with her death and translation to paradise, remembered on August 15.

The Dormition Fast: Ending another year of grace in Our Lord
The Byzantine Church since at least the 5th century has practiced a period of fasting prior to the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Christians of the East have always recognized the mystery of Our Lady’s Dormition, her ‘falling asleep’ at the end of her natural life when in a miraculous way she was assumed into heaven to sit with her Lord and our Lord.

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