15 August 2008

Mary, Mother of Our Lord - Theotokos

The fifteenth day of August is the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the day tradition says she fell asleep in the Lord -- her Dormition. For Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics, this is the Feast of the Assumption. The belief of the Roman, Orthodox, and Anglo-Catholic Christians, The Blessed Virgin Mary was taken into heaven bodily. The Icon shows Jesus holding Mary's soul. It is my favourite representation of the death of Mary.

O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, ma

y share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and

for ever. Amen.

The Icon on the right is from an Egyptian manuscript (Coptic Church). It shows the Virgin Mary being taken into heaven as the apostles gather around her tomb. Tradition says that Thomas was late getting back to Jerusalem and missed being present when Mary died. He would not believe that she was dead, so the Apostles took him to the tomb. When it was opened, her body was not there.

Bonnie's comment reminds me of the great hymns of the Orthodox church for the Dormition. I was a musician for a Greek Orthodox mission for a number of years and although I love the Greeks and their hymnody, I prefer the wonderful harmony of the Slavic tradition. Please take a few minuets to join in this wonderful hymn. and, as a musician, I must point out the wonderful use of "pedal bass." That's the "drone" bass you hear throughout most of the hymn. Here is the link. I tried to embed the video, but I'm that bear of very little brain and it didn't work.


In giving birth, you preserved your virginity!
In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos!
You were translated to life, O Mother of Life,
and by your prayers you deliver our souls from death!


Neither the tomb, nor death, could hold the Theotokos,
who is constant in prayer, and our firm hope in her intercessions
For being the Mother of Life, she was translated to life
by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb!

At the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, the church decided that Mary, as mother of Jesus who was truly God and truly human, was, therefore, the Mother of God – Theotokos means God bearer.

OT - But on topic, we have received an update from Fran regarding Tim's condition. The update is here.