Saturday, August 15, 2009

August 15th

Always learning...until this month's Magnificat arrived I had never heard the term Dormition, nor Theotokus. On the cover there is a magnificent picture of Mary in repose, being tended to by a cadre of petite angels. The title is, The Dormition, a work by Konrad Von Soest. After doing some research I found that Orthodox Catholics celebrate Mary's Assumption in an entirely different way.  I also had never heard their name for Mary, Theotokos, meaning in Greek, bearer of God.
Below you'll find some further information on the subject and regardless of your belief, I hope you'll take a moment to send up a prayer to our Blessed Mother, on this her special feast, particularly for those close to me who are carrying heavy crosses.

[edit]Dormition versus Assumption

The Dormition: ivory plaque, late 10th-early 11th century (Musée de Cluny).

The Dormition of the Theotokos is celebrated on August 15 (August 28N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar), the same calendar day as the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The Dormition and the Assumption are different names for the same event, Mary's departure from the earth, although the beliefs are not entirely the same.

The Orthodox Church teaches that Mary died a natural death, like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, bodily only, into heaven. Her tomb was found empty on the third day.

Roman Catholic teaching holds that Mary was "assumed" into heaven in bodily form. Some Catholics agree with the Orthodox that this happened after Mary's death, while some hold that she did not experience death.Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic constitutionMunificentissimus Deus (1950), which dogmatically defined theAssumption, appears to have left open the question of whether or not Mary actually underwent death in connection with her departure, but alludes to the fact of her death at least five times.

In Orthodoxy and Byzantine Catholicism, as in the language of scripture, death is often called a "sleeping" or "falling asleep" (Greek κοίμησις; whence κοιμητήριον > coemetērium > cemetery, a place of sleeping). A prominent example of this is the name of this feast; another is the Dormition of Anna, Mary's mother. The Orthodox and Eastern Catholics believe that Mary, having spent her life afterPentecost supporting and serving the nascent Church, was living in the house of the Apostle John, in Jerusalem, when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to her that her repose would occur three days later. The apostles, scattered throughout the world, are said to have been miraculously transported to be at her side when she died. The sole exception was Thomas, who was characteristically late. He is said to have arrived three days after her death, and asked to see her grave so that he could bid her goodbye. Mary had been buried inGethsemane, according to her request. When they arrived at the grave, her body was gone, leaving a sweet fragrance. An apparition is said to have confirmed that Christ had taken her body to heaven after her soul but not reunited them.

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