One might notice the similarities between the traditional depictions of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Byzantine iconography and the account of the death of the Egyptian Desert Father, Sisoes the Great. [5] Then there is the apocryphal literature such as the Protoevangelium of James, regarding the end of the Virgin Mary's life, though it is asserted, without surviving documentation, that the feast of the Dormition was being observed in Jerusalem shortly after the Council of Ephesus. This Epitaphios is placed on a bier and carried in procession as is the Epitaphios of Christ on during Great Saturday. However, the fact that the Church proclaims Mary free from original sin by a unique divine privilege does not lead to the conclusion that she also received physical immortality. Highlights . For instance, St. Paul in his First Letter to the Thessalonians wrote of those “who sleep in death” and have “fallen asleep” before the second coming and await the resurrection of the dead (4:13ff). According to Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos in his "History of the Church," Emperor Maurice (582–602) issued an edict which set the date for the celebration of the Dormition on August 15. This tradition probably developed because in its final form the anaphora has twelve paragraphs, i.e., one for each concelebrating apostle present at the funeral mass of the Theotokos. II. Therefore, the Church did not adopt all their content, but only the basic idea that the Virgin Mary blissfully rested and Her soul was adopted by her Son Jesus Christ at Dormition. The above article is a "Straight Answers" column he wrote for the Arlington Catholic Herald. He is said to have arrived in a cloud above her tomb exactly three days after her death, and to have seen her body leaving to heaven. We firmly believe that from the first moment of her conception, Mary was free of all sin including original sin by a special favor of Almighty God. It is customary[why?] If you’ve appreciated. CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - On August 15 in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church we celebrate the great Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [21] The specific belief of the Orthodox is expressed in their liturgical texts used at the feast of the Dormition.[21]. As a result the… Our Orthodox Christian brethren also acknowledge the same great Feast but refer to it as the Dormition of the Mother of God . [15], In Rome the feast called Dormitio Beatae Virginis was established by Pope Sergius I (687–701), borrowed from Constantinople. “The holy Apostles held a conference concerning the burial of the most sacred body of their Queen and Lady. The Feast of the Dormition is preceded by a two-week fast, referred to as the Dormition Fast. In Eastern Orthodoxy it is also the day of the Holy Seven Maccabees, Martyrs Abimus, Antonius, Gurias, Eleazar, Eusebonus, Alimus, and Marcellus, their mother Solomonia, and their teacher Eleazar. He asked her "Where are you going, O Holy One? [citation needed]. The Byzantine Emperor Mauritius (582-602) established the Feast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Aug. 15 for the Eastern Church, which celebrated our Lady's death and assumption. Mary left this earth, as some saints have said, in a transport of love. (Some historians speculate that the celebration was already widespread before the Council of Ephesus in 431.) The Catechism, quoting the Byzantine Liturgy, states, "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: 'In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. But we must not honour the saints to excess; we must honour their Master. for those following the Julian Calendar), the same calendar day as the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary. [19], The Dormition of the Theotokos is celebrated on August 15 (August 28, N.S. 12th-century rendition of the Dormition by a Novgorod artist. The Assumption or Dormition of Mary. Like her divine Son, she rose again and ascended to heaven on the third day after her death. When they arrived at the grave, her body was gone, leaving a sweet fragrance. Procession of the Epitaphios of the Theotokos, Toronto. The title “Dormition” can be misleading because it seems to focus more on the death and burial of Mary. When the priest reached the 4th decade, "the Assumption," they showed scenes of a Church in Israel named, "The Sleep of Mary." The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Dormition not on a fixed date, but on the Sunday nearest 15 August. St. John Damascene (d. 749) also recorded an interesting story concerning the Assumption: "St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.". And thus, in the sixth century, the Eastern churches began to celebrate the feast of Our Lady's Dormition, to try to express that her passage was more like falling asleep than dying. So did Mary die first before being assumed? The Dormition: ivory plaque, late 10th to early 11th century (Musée de Cluny).