Orthodox Christians on the new calendar are in the second day of the Dormition Fast,which lasts for two weeks,until the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos on 15 August.Liturgically,the main feature is the special weekday evening services dedicated to the Virgin Mary,the Small and Great Paraklesis services chanted on an alternating basis.Last night was chanted the Small Paraklesis;tonight will be the Great Paraklesis,and so on.These help us to prepare for the upcoming observance of the Dormition,when at her passing the Theotokos,the Mother of God,was translated body and soul into heaven from the Garden of Gethsemane.*
This event is not in scripture,but is nonetheless the holy tradition of the Church,passed down liturgically through the centuries.Indeed,it is such a core event,it is often referred to as "the Pascha in Summer."Not only is there a two week fast and the feast day itself;there is also an after-feast of several days,so that actually the bulk of August is focused on the Theotokos,with a break on 6 August for the Transfiguration of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.*
Catholics celebrate the same Marian event,calling it the Assumption.