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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Dormition (15th August)

Although there is no historical record in Scripture concerning the death of our Lady, her repose is within the living memory of the Church and the revelation concerning these things imparted to us by God. On account of the lack of a primary witness in Scripture, however, the Dormition (Assumption) is not part of the public dogma of the Orthodox Church, (in the way it is with the Roman Catholic Church for example).

This does not mean that it is any less significant for us. Quite the contrary; the repose of the Theotokos is a great source of consolation and hope to us that we, with her, may enter the glory of the resurrection of her Son. The Dormition celebrates the great promise of the gospel that we may be glorified in Christ by living and dying well in the Faith and Life of the Church.

"Of the Church" is apposite here. Notice how the Church gathers around the bier of the Mother of God; St. James, the first bishop of Jerusalem leads the assembled company with St. Peter presiding at the funeral rites. The saints of God and the angels join the company of praise and intercession. Christ Himself, carrying the soul of his Mother tenderly, (as tenderly as she once carried Him), is the glory and central focus of the icon in the mandorla of heaven.

The Mother of God is one of us, born into this world under sin and yet not sinning, (Orthodox do not believe in the Immaculate Conception of our Lady which has too much to do with distorted Augustinian understandings of the transmission of original sin). Her perfect obedience to the Word of God and her Son is the portal of her entry into the heavenly kingdom, the first of many to be glorified in Christ. Her ascension prefigures our own if we, by grace, achieve that purity of heart which is our transparency to God and His transparency to us whereby he deifies us. This purity is no mere moralism. It is a completely changed life which is capable of sharing in Christ's death-destroying life. Let us pray that we one day will be received by Christ even as here He receives His Blessed Mother, the Ever-Virgin Mary. Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


A blessed Feast Day Father.

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