Monday, August 17, 2009

Testimonies of The Assumption of the Theotokos


St. Gregory of Tours (538-594), in his Book of Miracles, testifies to his belief in the Dormition of the Virgin--the first of its kind in the West: "Finally when blessed Mary having completed the course of this life, and was to be called from the world, all the Apostles gathered to her house from their different regions. And when they had heard that she was to be taken from the world, together they kept watch with her; and lo, the Lord Jesus came with His angels. Taking her soul, He gave it to the Archangel Michael and withdrew. At dawn the Apostles raised her body with a pallet and they placed it in a vault and they guarded it awaiting the coming of the Lord. And lo, a second time the Lord stood by them and he ordered the holy body to be taken and borne to Paradise; there having rejoined the soul exultant with His elect, it enjoy-. the good things of eternity which shall know no end."


Saint Joseph the Hymnographer (c.816-886), confirming her bodily assumption, writes that Thy tomb declared that thou wast buried, and it now openly shows that thou hast been bodily borne to the heavens.11


Saint Cosmas (7th-8th c.), also speaking of her bodily translation, writes: The Lord and God of all gave thee as thy portion the things that are above nature. For just as He kept thee virgin in thy childbirth, so did He preserve thy body incorrupt in the tomb; and He glorified thee by a divine translation, showing thee honor as a son to his mother.12


St. John of Damascus (c.676-c.750), writes: "But even though, according to nature, thy most holy and happy soul is separated from thy most blessed and stainless body, and the body as usual is delivered to the tomb, it will not remain in the power of death and is not subject to decay. For just as her virginity remained inviolate while giving birth, when she departed from life her body was preserved from destruction and only taken to a better and divine tabernacle which is not subject to any death."" Continuing, he writes: "It was fitting that she, who in childbirth had kept her virginity undamaged, should also, after death, keep her body free from all corruption.,'14 He then speaks of the benefit of her translation. For Christ translates her, as His own Mother, into a dwelling far better and more divine, the Holy of Holies.15


Saint Gregory Palamas (+1359) writes that "the 'Ark of holiness' was resurrected, as was Christ Who had risen from the dead on the third day. Her burial clothes afforded the Apostles a demonstration of her resurrection from the dead.

As in the case of their Master, her burial clothes, too, alone remained in the tomb for their scrutiny." 16


Saint Modestos of Jerusalem (+634), confirming her eternal bodily incorruptibility, writes: "As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Saviour and God Who is the Giver of Life and immortality, she has been endowed with life by Him. She has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body, together with Him Who has raised her up from the tomb, and has taken her up to Himself in a way known only to Him." 17


Saint Neophytos the Recluse (1134-1220) also speaks of her bodily translation, writing: "That pure and holy body, placed by the Apostles in the sacred place of Gethsemane, was borne to the God of the Apostles and delighted in those things which 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man"' [I Cor. 2:9]


Under the presidency of the great Patriarch Dositheos, a statement was made at the Council of Jerusalem, in 1672, that "though the immaculate body of Mary was locked in a tomb, yet, like Christ, she was assumed and translated into the heavens on the third day."19


Jesus: If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also." (John 14:3)


Life of the Virgin Mary p483-485


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