We need Wisdom. We need to see the Beauty of God, breathe it in, taste it and drink deeply from its springs. We need to understand Life again as shining with Love. We need to look in wonder at invisible Grace becoming visible in creation. We need to desire God, and to delight in His goodness.
Such was the humility more honorable than the seraphim and more glorious beyond compare than the cherubim of her whose purity exceeds that of the angels and astonished the heavenly moral perfections. Such was her humility, her modest self-esteem, that she supplicated the Creator to ban the fallen spirits from access to her all-chaste soul. The Queen of Heaven knew that the ascent from earth to heaven is the final exam and trial which you and I shall invariably undergo—one sooner, another later, but we are all behooved once to die and then to appear at the judgment seat of Christ. This is why the feast of the Dormition is so important for every one of us.
Like families anywhere, monastic communities have their public and private challenges, and turn their best face to the world. Unstudied contentment reasserts its hold over the Sinai fortress each year however, as monastics converge on the Monastery from all directions, drawn back for the celebrations of the Dormition of the Theotokos from near or far flung hermitages throughout the Mediterranean world.
Those who live their life in Christ, those who follow the word of God and keep it like the Mother of God did, and does, have that to look forward to—a resurrection to eternal life, a resurrection not unto judgment but unto life. And if you notice in the icon of the Holy Dormition in the center of the church today, yes, her body is laid out to be taken to her tomb in Gethsemane, but Christ is there with her soul wrapped in swaddling clothes as an infant, and He’s carrying her.
She overcame nature by her unique childbearing and therefore “It was fitting that she, who preserved her virginity undamaged by childbirth, should have her body preserved from corruption in death," and thus her passing is referred to as a “deathless Dormition.” Although she was above nature, she submitted to the corruption of death as had her Son: “Imitating your Creator and Son, above nature you submit to the laws of nature. She was a little lower than the angels through mortality, but “by her proximity to the God of all … she has ascended higher than the angels and the archangels and all the hosts that are found beyond them.”
And when the fathers came, the Novice saw a wondrous vision, not sleeping but awake. That is, he saw a beautiful woman between two angels, who shined brighter than the rays of the sun. One held a cup full of heavenly bread, and the other a small cloth. And that beautiful woman, who was our Lady, held a golden spoon, and each brother came forward in his turn and the angel wiped their face with the cloth. After they venerated the Panagia, she took the spoon and gave them the heavenly bread.
Along with the entire choir of Saints in the Kingdom of Heaven, together with those also who live today in the trenches of life and with the prayers of those who support the world, we also send her our supplications. My Panagia, my joy, my consolation, my hope, my breath, save us from every circumstance.
For three days before her blessed end, amid burning prayer on the Mount of Olives, Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she would make the final passage, and gave her a frond from heaven. The Heavenly Queen, the Mother of God, was not confounded, she did not fear for her moment of death, and joyously took to her deathbed. In response to her wish, the Holy Apostles were miraculously gathered at her deathbed to pay their last respects at her funeral.
Today the Holy Church solemnly glorifies the honorable Dormition or translation of the Mother of God from earth to heaven. A wonderful translation - she died without serious illness, peacefully. Her soul is taken up in the divine hands of Her Son and carried up into the heavenly abode, accompanied by the sweet singing of angels.
If, then, "death of the righteous man is honorable" (cf. Ps. 115:6) and the "memory of the just man is celebrated with songs of praise" (Prov. 10:7), how much more ought we to honor with great praises the memory of the holiest of the saints, she by whom all holiness is afforded to the saints, I mean the Ever-Virgin. Mother of God! Even so we celebrate today her holy dormition or translation to another life, whereby, while being "a little lower than angels" (Ps. 8:6), by her proximity to the God of all, and in the wondrous deeds which from the beginning of time were written down and accomplished with respect to her, she has ascended incomparably higher than the angels and the archangels and all the super-celestial hosts that are found beyond them.
The respect of ancient Christians for the Mother of God was so great that they preserved what they could about Her life, what they could take note of concerning Her sayings and deeds, and they even passed down to us a description of Her outward appearance.
This great Feast of the Church and the icon celebrates a fundamental teaching of our faith—the Resurrection of the body. In the case of the Theotokos, this has been accomplished by the divine will of God. Thus, this Feast is a feast of hope, hope in Resurrection and life eternal.
Virgin Mary is a holy figure for Greeks not only because she gave birth to Jesus but because worshippers have connected Her with the Greek nation’s freedom in many cases. As a result, the mother of Jesus has been given several different names all over Greece as locals wanted to thank Virgin Mary for her aid in some of the woes they faced. It’s the same holy figure, having taken different names, though.
At the first movement, a wide and luminous circle of cloud appeared suddenly over the most pure body of the Mother of God like a wreath, and a host of angels joined together with the host of Apostles. The singing of the heavenly powers could be heard glorifying the Mother of God, and this singing was repeated by earthly voices. This circle of heavenly chanters and luminosity moved along in the air, accompanying the procession to the very place of burial.