From August 1 to August 14 the Orthodox Christians fast from meat and dairy products ; fish and wine. The Dormition Fast is a stricter fast than the Advent. As with the other Fasts of the Church year, there is a Great Feast that falls during the Fast; in this case, the Transfiguration (August 6), on which fish, wine and oil are allowed.
The oldest place that is connected with Mary is the Dormition abbey in Jerusalem. It was erected in the 4th century on the place where, according to the legend, was laid to rest the body of Mary in the garden of Gethsemane.
According to local tradition, it was on this spot, that the Blessed Virgin Mary died, or ended her worldly existence. In the Christian Orthodox and Catholicism death is often called a "sleeping" or "falling asleep", and this gave the original monastery its name, the church itself is called Basilica of the Assumption (or Dormition). In the Catholic dogma of the Assumption of Mary, Christ's mother was taken body and soul to heaven.
Once, during an ardent prayer for quicker earthly release, Archangel Gabriel appeared before Mary and with a radiant smile told her the good news about her assumption which was to be after three days. As a sign of blissful celebration of physical death, the Archangel gave Mary a heavenly branch and ordered for it to be laid on her grave on the day of her burial.
Mary informed her relatives and started getting ready. She ordered that her bed and her chamber be decorated; that incense and candles be burnt and all arrangements made for the burial. While comforting her closest, a noise was heard and everybody saw that clouds surround her house. These clouds were picked and carried from different countries by the Apostles by the order of God, where they taught the Bible.
The Apostles were joyous to see each other but did not know why God had brought them together at this place. Then St. John the Evangelist greeted them with tears in his eyes and told them the sad news.
In the appointed day, in the holy third hour of the day, the Apostles surrounded Mary’s bed and started singing God’s praises. Suddenly an indescribable light appeared and the candles grew dim; Christ descended from it, surrounded by angels, archangels and other immaterial forces, approached his mother, comforted her and invited her to cross from the earth to the heaven. She looked as if she was asleep. Her body emitted the most wonderful fragrance.
When the mournful procession reached Gethsemane, amidst weeping and crying they parted with Mary’s holy body. The Apostles laid it in a tomb and covered the entry with a big boulder. Three days they stayed there, singing praises and praying.
The Orthodox church calls this event “assumption” and not death, because death did not touch Mary; it was the spirit of God who took her life.