THE DORMITION OF OUR MOST HOLY, GLORIOUS LADY, THE THEOTOKOS AND EVER-VIRGIN MARY
 
AUGUST 15
 
The Theotokos would often pray to Jesus from the Mount of Olives, the place of her son's ascension into heaven. The Archangel Gabriel once appeared to her there and gave her a palm branch from paradise. He told her that it was to be carried during her funeral procession, which would come to pass in three days time. She prayed that she would once more see the holy apostles, and it happened in this way.

From wherever they happened to be, the apostles were caught up in clouds or carried by angels to the side of the Theotokos, who was living in the house of the Apostle John on Zion in Jerusalem. The icon of the dormition captures the scene when her soul departed painlessly from her body. She is thought to have been around sixty years of age at this time. Peter is by her head, and Paul is by her feet. The other apostles surround her, and Jesus with his angels is seen receiving her soul, which is pictured as a baby in swaddling clothes. En route to her entombment, a priest of the Jews grabbed the bed on which she was being carried and attempted to throw her to the ground.

An angel of God, however, cut off his hands, and they can also be seen in the icon dangling from the side of the bed. When he pleaded for help and confessed his belief in Christianity, he was healed through prayer. She was taken to a tomb at the foot of the Garden of Gethsemane. Fifty steps beneath the surface of the ground are the tombs of her parents, Joachim and Anna, and to the right of them is that of the Elder Joseph, her betrothed. Fifty steps again beneath there is the tomb of the Theotokos, where she rested for only three days, accompanied by angelic singing.

At the end of this time, the Apostle Thomas arrived and longed to see the Theotokos one last time. When they opened the tomb, they found only the burial clothes. However, she appeared to all of the apostles that evening and comforted them all saying that she would always be with them.

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