“The Mother of God is an intercessor for everyone, but she is especially praying for virgins and mothers, because she remained an Ever-Virgin, and also for mothers or families because she breastfed and raised her Son Jesus Christ,” His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel said on Sunday addressing the pilgrims at Putna Monastery.
The Patriarch of Romania celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the outdoor altar of Putna Monastery for the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15/28).
The Mother of God fell asleep but did not remain in the tomb
“The Feast of the Dormition begins to spread first in Jerusalem, then in Constantinople starting with the 5th century AD. Nothing is said about the Dormition because nothing was written about it. But the tradition of our Church has recorded the fact that the Mother of God was translated to eternal life, that is, she died in Jerusalem in the house where she lived and was taken to be buried in the village of Gethsemane.”
“Information about this passage of the Mother of God to eternal life or this translation is given to us from more writings about the life of the Mother of God, but especially sermons of some Holy Fathers of the Church.”
“In the 8th century, St. John of Damascus and St. Germanus the Patriarch of Constantinople left us sermons of great beauty about the Dormition of the Theotokos, while St. Cosmas the Melodist left us hymnographic and liturgical writings.”
“These sermons and liturgical texts are concentrated in the synaxarion of today’s feast in the Menaion. More intense is the teaching about the Dormition of the Mother of God in the festal troparion and kontakion. They summarize even more briefly what the synaxarion says, namely that the Mother of God fell asleep, that is, she passed through death, but she did not remain in the tomb, she did not remain in death, she did not know the corruption.”
She gladly received the news of her dormition
“It is a great mystery because this translation to her Son, to the dead and risen Christ, is not called resurrection, ascension into Heaven, but a translation. It is an exact term,” Patriarch Daniel explained.
“The synaxarion notes that three days before she fell asleep, Christ said to the Archangel Gabriel: tell my mother that has come for her to come to Me.”
“Therefore, the Mother of God received the news not with sorrow, but with joy. Because she goes to heavenly life to be together with Her Son.”
The relationship between the Theotokos and Her Son
The Orthodox Church emphasizes the personal relationship of the Mother of God with Her Son Jesus Christ, His Beatitude explained.
“What He followed in the work of salvation the Mother of God also follows. Because the Saviour Jesus Christ willingly received the salvific death, and the Mother of God receives this translation from the earthly world to the heavenly life willingly and joyfully.”
“For as the Saviour Jesus Christ before his death said on the cross, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,’ now the Mother of God while passing from this world said, ‘Son, into thy hands I commend my soul.’”
“That is why, in the icon of the Dormition, the soul of the Mother of God clothed in white or sometimes in a luminous garment is held in the hands of the Saviour.”
“We see that the Mother of God does not move to an abstract life, in heaven, in eternal solitude, but the Mother of God is translated from earth to heaven in the love and glory of Christ.”
“The Theotokos prays for us at the hour of death and on the day of judgment
The Mother of God becomes the icon of the Church that translates us from the transient world to the eternal heavenly life, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church underscored.
“This explains why the feast of the Dormition was established by the Church in the last month of the church year.”
“The Mother of God prays for us at the hour of our death and on the day of judgment.”
“That is why she is a continuous intercessor.”
The maternal love of the Theotokos
“Before she fell asleep, the Mother of God prayed for the strength and peace of the world. Then, she distributed her garments to poor women and died praying and giving her soul into the hands of her Son Jesus Christ.”
“This feast of the Mother of God shows us the wonderful work of our Lord Jesus Christ, namely His love for His mother through whom He received His human body and at the same time shows us through the Mother of God as an icon of the Church that the purpose of the Church on earth is to help people attain to the incorruptible eternal heavenly life.”
“The Mother of God is also the protectress of the clergy because Her Son Jesus Christ is the eternal High Priest. She is the protectress of hierarchs, priests, deacons. She is the protectress of all people and especially of widows, orphans and all the afflicted.”
“That is why the Orthodox believers feel the maternal love of the Mother of God.”
“From the miracle in Cana of Galilee, the Church learned that the Mother of God is an invincible, unrejected, undeclined intercessor. Therefore, in the services of our Church, no matter how short or long, we say at the end, Through the intercessions of the Theotokos and all the saints, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and saves us. Amen,” His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel concluded his speech.