“O marvelous wonder! The Fount of Life is placed in the grave, and the grave doth become the ladder to Heaven…” Here at the grave of the All-Pure Virgin, these words strike deep with their original sense and grief is dispelled by joy: “Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, granting the world, through Thee, great mercy!”
According to Orthodox Tradition, Mary died like all humanity, “falling asleep,” so to speak, as the name of the feast indicates. She died as all people die, not “voluntarily” as her Son, but by the necessity of her mortal human nature which is indivisibly bound up with the corruption of this world. The feast was added to the Roman calendar in the seventh century as the Dormitio. In the eighth century, the title was changed to the Assumptio (Assumption).
The Apostles were miraculously summoned to this event, and all were present except Thomas when Mary passed from this life. She was then buried.
Thomas arrived a few days later, and desiring to see her one more time, convinced the others to open her tomb. Upon doing so, the Apostles discovered that her body was no longer present. This event is seen as a firstfruits of the resurrection of the faithful that will occur at the Second Coming of Christ. The event is normally called the Dormition, though there are many Orthodox parishes in English-speaking countries with the name Assumption. In Greek, Dormition is Koimisis—falling asleep in death—from which the word cemetery derives.
“On August 15, the Dormition of the Mother of God is celebrated by most Christians in the world. The Church year begins on September 1, and the first Great Feast of the year is the Nativity of the Theotokos, making the Dormition of the Theotokos the last great feast of the year. It is entirely fitting that these two feasts – celebrating the birth and falling-asleep of Mary respectively – should buttress the entire church calendar. The Church calendar tells us the story of our Salvation in the traditional way, with the climax of the story coming in the middle, which is when Easter is celebrated, before ending in a way which is somewhat symmetrical and complimentary to the beginning. Therefore, the final “scene” in our story of Salvation is the Dormition of Mary, the Mother of God.”…
“…as we look to Mary’s life for an example, we look to her bodily death – in this Icon – for hope as to where such an example leads us. The hope is in the bodily Resurrection and the life of the age to come. Both are shown in the Icon: the bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven, as well as the commendation of her soul into the hands of Jesus Christ.
Like those who gathered around the body of the Virgin Mary, we gather around our departed loved ones and commend their souls into the hands of Christ. As we remember those who have reposed in the faith before us and have passed on into the communion of the Saints, we prepare ourselves to one day be received into the new life of the age to come.”
“Constellation Coma Berenices, Berenices Hair, of the Mother and Child, sits north of Virgo constellation, between Bootes and constellation Ursa Major. This small constellations contains three named stars, and spans 20 degrees opf the zodiac in the signs Virgo and Libra.”…
“The first constellation in VIRGO explains that this coming “Branch” will be a child, and that He should be the “Desire of all nations.” The ancient name of this constellation is Comah, the desired, or the longed for. We have the word used by the Holy Spirit in this very connection, in Haggai 2:7–“The DESIRE of all nations shall come.”
The ancient Zodiacs pictured this constellation as a woman with a child in her arms. ALBUMAZAR (or ABU MASHER), an Arabian astronomer of the eighth century, says, “There arises in the first Decan, as the Persians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians, and the two HERMES and ASCALIUS teach, a young woman whose Persian name denotes a pure virgin, sitting on a throne, nourishing an infant boy (the boy, I say), having a Hebrew name, by some nations called IHESU, with the signification IEZA, which in Greek is called CHRISTOS.”
The constellation Virgo the Maiden fully returns to sky at nightfall – with her feet planted on the eastern horizon – by late April or early May.