Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Theotokos Prepares for Her Repose

After receiving the message about he coming death and completing her prayer seeking God's protection for the power of Gehenna, Mary returned to her home and began to prepare for her repose.

She shared what she had been told with Saint John who was the disciple asked by Jesus to care for her as his mother. She also showed him the palm branch from paradise that she had received from the angel. Mary then told the others in the household that is believed to include Mary Magdalene, Sepphora, Abigail and Jael who lived with her. They were expectedly upset at this news but Mary comforted. It important to note how she did comfort them as this is how she still comforts all of us who ask for her help. She told them that she would intercede for them and all the world because she should become close to God in heaven.

Mary then made arrangements for her bedroom to be prepared and provisions made for incense burning and as many lighted oil lamps as possible.

Saint John immediately sent for the Lord’s brother James who was the first Bishop of Jerusalem to inform him. James sent word to all the Christians in Jerusalem and in the surrounding villages and towns. John also informed for all the relatives and neighbors about her pending death. As a result a multitude of the faithful gathered around the Theotokos.

She also told those who gathered about her what the angel had told her and showed them the palm branch from paradise. They were understandably sad and naturally wept. But the Theotokos asked them not to weep. Again she assured them that she would be able to pray to her son with greater boldness after her death because she would be closer to Him then. She would be close to His throne and seeing Hm face to face. She promised that she would visit the whole world and attend to its needs and help all those who were in trouble. This has been Mary's role from the very beginning and continues to this day.

During the Dormition fast our Churches all hold services, Paraclesis Service, seeking help from the Theotokos for our physical and spiritual suffering we are now struggling with. Like then she offers us comfort and helps us in our communication with Jesus our God for His help. Even here on earth it is usually easiest to approach our mother than our father.

Completing her preparations the Theotokos also made a will for her possessions. She did not have much, only her garments. She wanted them given to two poor widows who had served her faithfully. She also asked that her body be buried on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane where her parents Joachim and Anna as well as Joseph were interred.


  1. As a Protestant convert to Orthodoxy, I've often struggled with what Mary is "for" and particularly her presentation and dormition. Today it occurs to me that her dormition shows us how to properly prepare for death.

  2. Thats a very interesting insight. Let's pray that we will have the faith to prepare likewise.