Thursday, August 15, 2013

Repose of the Mother of God

The Orthodox church celebrates the assumption of the Virgin Mary today. For those who are not familiar, there is an important theological implication here. The problem for the apostles was that Christ certainly died, rose from the dead and 'ascended' to prepare the kingdom of heaven - but Christ was the son of God! How would we know if this was not a special concession God made? As the traditional story goes, when the Theotokos was about to pass, the apostles were mystically drawn to her at Gethsemane - with the exception of Thomas. Poor Doubting Thomas was the last to be brought - and while he was on the way he saw the soul of Mary ascend into heaven. On landing at her bedside, he regretted having not been able to see her before she reposed, but the apostles had already sealed her tomb. Thomas begged them to open the tomb so that he could venerate her - but when they opened her tomb, the body was gone. This served as evidence to the apostolic community that the resurrection was not just for the sake of Christ's victory over his own death, but was a victory that extended to all humanity. It is - according to tradition - a second expression of the glory of Pascha.

— Jacob Aaron Gorny

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