Monday, August 10, 2009

Funeral Procession of Theotokos


The Procession

After the death of the Theotokos her body had to be transported from the home of saint John to the place of her tomb in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. The Apostles bore her bier aloft on their shoulders. Leading were Satin John the Theologian and Saint Peter followed by Saint Paul and Saint James. The other apostles followed. Saint John carried the palm branch that came from paradise that the angel had given the Theotokos when he announced her coming repose. The rest of the faithful surrounded the bier with light and censers all singing the funeral prayers.


Hovering over the bier and accompanying the procession there appeared a circular cloud reminiscent of a crown which shone with a bright radiance. In the hearing of all, there resounded ceaseless angelic singing from out of the cloud that filled the air. Saint Theophanes the Poet (+1381) incites us to honor her with these words: Come, let us crown the Church with song, as the ark of God goes to her rest.


There were many in Jerusalem who did not believe in Christ and when they herd the chanting they gathered to follow this grand procession. They were astonished at the glory and honor that was given to the most honorable body of the Theotokos. When the priests got word of this they were angry and filled with hatred. They began to stir up many people and sent the temple slaves and soldiers to disrupt the procession. They were ordered to slay the disciples of Christ and to burn the body of Mary because they believed that the nation of Jews was ruined by this woman.


As this unruly mod of trouble makers approached the procession the cloud above the procession descended and provided a wall of protection for the mourners. Those pursuing to disrupt the procession only heard the chanting and could not see anything behind the cloud. Then the holy angels, invisibly hovering over the sacred relics and the Christians, struck the malicious persecutors with blindness.


Blind, the persecutors began to began to strike each other and ram into walls along the route. They quickly became disorganized.


Again God worked a miracle in relation to the infant Church and the most Holy Mother of God.


See Life of the Virgin Mary pp 467-468

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