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Note: [Mother of God: Greek: Theotokos, Russian: Bogoroditsa meaning God Birth-Giver - a more correct description] The Most-holy Mother of God, after the Ascension of Jesus Christ, continued to live on earth several years. One Christian historian says ten years, and another, twenty-two years. Apostle John the Theologian, according to the instructions of Jesus Christ, took Her into his home and cared for Her with great love as Her own son, until the end of Her life. The Most-holy Mother of God became a mother to all twelve of the apostles in general. They prayed with Her with great joy and were comforted to listen to Her instructive conversations about the Saviour. When the Christian faith spread to other lands, many Christians came from distant countries to see and hear Her.
Living in Jerusalem, the Mother of God loved to visit those places the Saviour had frequented, where He had suffered, died, rose from the dead, and ascended to Heaven. She prayed at these places, weeping, remembering the suffering of the Saviour, and rejoicing at the places of His Resurrection and Ascension. She often prayed that Christ would soon take Her to Himself in Heaven.
One day, when the Most-Holy Mary was praying thus on the Mount of Olives, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Her with a branch from a date palm in Paradise, and told Her the joyful news that in three days She would finish Her earthly life, and the Lord would take Her to Himself. The Most-holy Mother of God silently rejoiced over this news. She told Her adopted son, John, and began to prepare for Her end. At that time the other apostles were not in Jerusalem, as they had dispersed to other countries to preach about the Saviour. The Mother of God wanted to bid farewell to them, and so the Lord, in a miraculous manner gathered all the apostles to Her, except Thomas, transporting them by His omnipotent power.
Grief befell them over losing the Mother of the Lord and their own spiritual Mother, when they learned why God had gathered them. But the Mother of God comforted them, promising not to leave them and all Christians after Her death, and promising also to pray for them. Then She blessed them all.
At the hour of Her death, an extraordinary light shone in the room where the Mother of God lay. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, surrounded by angels, appeared and received Her pure soul.
The apostles buried the pure body of the Mother of God according to Her wishes, in the Garden of Gethsemane, where the body of Her parents and righteous Joseph were buried. At the funeral, many miracles were performed. From touching the deathbed of the Mother of God, the blind regained their sight, demons were driven away, and all sorts of illnesses were cured. Crowds of people followed Her most pure body. Jewish priests and leaders tried to break this holy procession, but the Lord invisibly protected it. One of the Jewish priests, by the name of Athonius, ran up and seized the bier on which was laid the body of the Mother of God, in order to overturn it. But an invisible angel chopped off both his hands. Athonius, struck by such a wondrous miracle, repented and the Apostle Peter healed him.
Three days after the burial of the Mother of God, the absent Apostle Thomas arrived in Jerusalem. He was greatly saddened that he had not been able to say farewell to the Mother of God, and with all his heart desired to venerate Her most pure remains. The apostles felt so sorry for him that they decided to go and roll away the stone from the tomb, to give him the possibility to venerate for the last time the body of the Mother of God. But when they opened the tomb, Her most holy body was nowhere to be found, but only one piece of burial shroud was there. The amazed apostles returned to the house together and prayed to God to reveal to them what had become of the body of the Mother of God. In the evening, at the end of dinner during prayer, they heard angelic singing. Looking up the apostles saw in the air the Mother of God, surrounded by angels, in the radiance of heavenly glory. The Mother of God said to the apostles, "Rejoice! I am with you always, and will pray for you before God."
The apostles exclaimed to Her in joy, "Most-Holy Mother of God, help us."
Thus the Lord Jesus Christ glorified His Most-Holy Mother. He resurrected Her and took Her most holy body to Himself and set Her higher than all His angels.
Note: A full description of the Dormition of the Mother of God is found in Church Tradition, preserved by the Holy Orthodox Church.
The Dormition of our Most-holy Lady Mother of God is celebrated by the Holy Orthodox Church, as one of its major feasts, on the 15th of August (28th of August n.s.). Preceding this feast there is a two-week fast, beginning from the 1st of August. This feast is called the Dormition ("falling asleep") because the Mother of God died quietly, as if falling asleep, and more importantly because of the short sojourn of Her body in the grave. After three days She was resurrected by the Lord and ascended into Heaven.
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Father Jacob's Ordination
Saint John's Monastery
The Church of the GOC of North America
Saint Philaret Orthodox Mission Chapel
Location: Tru Hotel - 450 Memorial Drive - Chicopee, Massachusetts 01020 [Springfield]
Father Michael Marcinowski: (978)-355-4996 Father Deacon Jacob Wojcik - (413) 848-0431
(services in English)