Friday, August 15, 2014

Feastday of the Dormition of the Theotokos

Today is a really big feast day in the Orthodox church. It is the day we celebrate the falling asleep of Mary, the Theotokos. Why would we celebrate someone's death? Because of the circumstances surrounding it, and because of the fact that Mary's soul was received into heaven by Christ her son.

Explanation of the Dormition Icon

In some ways, we have bookends to Mary's role within the Gospel. Once again an angel brings a message to her, and once again she goes into the hills. (In this case, she went to the Mount of Olives, following in her son's footsteps.) After her preparations were complete, the Apostles were taken from their various missions in foreign lands to attend her. (Except for Thomas-he was always late, it seems. Poor fellow.)

During the funeral procession, one of the locals tried to knock over her funeral dais. Upon which the Archangel Michael sliced off his hand. He promptly said he was very sorry (possibly shouted it, actually) and his hand was promptly restored. We hear nothing else of him, but presumably he became a very active member in the church after that incident. (The icon in Assumption Church in East Moline always amuses me. In it, the Archangel Michael is gesturing emphatically to the heavens, so one can assume that the little man was getting an earful at the same time.)

Three days later, Thomas finally arrives from India and wishes to pay his respects. However, they opened her tomb and found her body gone, assumed into heaven. (Thus the zillion churches all called "Assumption").

The Church believes that Mary prays for us as her own children, and numerous miracles have occurred with regards to her.

Also, snakes arrive at this church in Greece to venerate the icons and celebrate with the other Orthodox.

No, seriously.

This is more a case of the snakes handling the people, really.


  1. My dh was going to find me an icon we have of the Dormition, but it didn't happen, so I didn't get to make my edit. So glad to discover your blog through MMD! Are you in the Quad Cities? What is your Orthodox parish?

    1. I used to attend Assumption, but husband and I moved to West Liberty, so we're going to St. Raphael's in Iowa City now. We were going to go to the Nameday Dance on Saturday, but it didn't happen, alas!