On 15 August we commemorate the Dormition and the metastasis of the Most Holy Theotokos. When our Lord Jesus Christ wanted to take His Mother, who still lived on earth, to be with Him, He sent the Archangel Gabriel who had also proclaimed to her the Nativity of Christ, to tell her that in three days her Son would receive her spirit. When the Virgin heard the
When they learnt why the Lord had transported them on the clouds to the home of the Most Holy Virgin, they too began to mourn and cry, telling her that as long as she lived among them they had her as a comfort, because they felt that in her, they saw her Son. Knowing that she too was about to go to Heaven, they were saddened. Again, with great compassion, our All Holy Virgin answered them saying: “Oh friends and disciples of my Son and God, do not turn my joy into mourning and sorrow, but bury my body as I have prepared it on my death bed”. When she had finished speaking the Apostle Paul , the chosen instrument, arrived and, falling at her feet he praised her with great heavenly praise, while telling her that thought he had not ever seen her Son in the flesh on earth, as he looked her he felt that he was facing her Son Himself. The All Holy Virgin bade them all farewell then, lay on her death bed and began to pray continuously with supplications to her Son for the peace of the world, the blessing of the Apostles and Hierarchs and through them to all the world – and so she placed her illumined and Most Holy soul into the hands of her Son and God.
Peter, the most senior of the Apostles, was first to read aloud the funeral lamentations for the Theotokos as the rest of the Apostles lifted the death bed – others were carrying candles and singing hymns, yet others simply following – and walked to the grave which was to receive the God-accepting body of the Mother of God. Even the Angels in Heaven could be heard singing hymns and the voices of all the bodiless hosts united in hymns to the Theotokos filled the air. The invidious rulers of the Jews who could not tolerate listening to those hymns, exhorted some of the people to throw to the ground the death bed on which the body of the Theotokos was being carried. As the profane hands reached out to perform that sacrilegious deed, divine justice blinded them and cut off the hands of him who first reached out to throw the body of the Theotokos to the ground. His hands remained hanging on the All Holy Virgin’s bed. Then, he who was formerly profane and unbelieving, seeing his hands hanging there, believed with his whole heart and was immediately healed. He became the reason for all the others to repent and be healed because, by taking a piece of the All Holy Virgin’s robe and placing it on the eyes of those who had been blinded, they were all healed not only from the blindness of their eyes, but also from the passion of their faithlessness. When the Apostles and the entire entourage arrived in
Of course, in the Church we will see that only the metastasis of the All Holy Theotokos will be mentioned and not her resurrection and ascension and this is because it is not witnessed to in the Holy Scriptures, but only in the works of the Fathers, being a mystical dogma as St Basil the Great says. Essentially, the metastasis is more complete, as it comprises the resurrection and the ascension, because that which is resurrected changes places and that is why the metastasis of the Theotokos includes both her resurrection and ascension.
Our Theotokos, then, rose and went to her Son and her souls was united with her pure body which is alive in heaven, because as we have said, this body which carried Life could not suffer the decay which all other people which have passed or will pass through this life will suffer. The All Holy Theotokos is One and Only, the chosen vessel of God, who thanks to her humility became the vessel in which the uncontainable God could be contained and thanks to her we could find salvation and
This is the feast which we celebrate on 15th August and this feast certainly bears no relation eating, drinking and drunkenness and worldly celebrations. The feast should be celebrated according to God’s will and the will of His All Holy Mother. We must go to Church on the morning of the feast so that we may honour the Dormition of the All Holy Virgin. We must eat only fish if that day falls on a Wednesday or Friday. We must offer supplications and prayers to the Mother of God and Mother of us all; praises and hymns for her who is our comfort, mediatrix, shelter and protection of us all. We love her, honour her, praise her and have recourse to her grace. It is she who united heaven and earth, God with man and opened for us the way to salvation and sanctity.