Mary. The Virgin Mother of God. The Theotokos. She is known by many names.
When I was growing up the only thing I knew of her was from my Catholic friends and my ignorant mind seemed to think that they just worshiped Mary and that just seemed wrong.
Fast forward 40 years and I know that could not have been further from the truth. I am so incredibly grateful to have found the truth in the ancient traditions of the Church.
Let us start with what the scriptures say, from Luke:
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus.”
We then read on and find that Mary visits Elizabeth:
And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Passed down through tradition, through ancient teachings, we learn that Mary was taken care of by the Apostles. On this day, the Dormition, the falling asleep of Mary, the Mother of God, we know she was revered among the Apostles. She was honored and loved, and they were sorrowful.
The OCA website has an incredibly detailed writing about the falling asleep of Mary and how the tradition of the church was started and continues to this very day. It is well worth the time it would take to read it.
Here…just a few sentences of note.
The reverence of the Apostles for the Most Holy Virgin was extraordinary.
The respect of ancient Christians for the Mother of God was so great that they preserved what they could about Her life, what they could take note of concerning her sayings and deeds, and they even passed down to us a description of her outward appearance.
The circumstances of the Dormition of the Mother of God were known in the Orthodox Church from apostolic times. Already in the first century, the Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite wrote about her “Falling-Asleep.” In the second century, the account of the bodily ascent of the Most Holy Virgin Mary to Heaven is found in the works of Meliton, Bishop of Sardis. In the fourth century, Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus refers to the tradition about the “Falling Asleep” of the Mother of God. In the fifth century, Saint Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, told the holy Byzantine Empress Pulcheria: “Although there is no account of the circumstances of her death in Holy Scripture, we know about them from the most ancient and credible Tradition.” This tradition was gathered and expounded in the Church History of Nicephorus Callistus during the fourteenth century.oca.org
I am so very grateful to be part of this ancient tradition. Reading about the life of the Mother of God gives me hope and joy. She is an inspiration.
I am grateful and blessed!
Oh, Most Holy Theotokos, please intercede for me, a sinner!