Vigil of the Feast of the Dormition
“Thy blessedness was not death, nor was dying thy perfection, nor, again, did thy departure hence help thee to security. Thou art the beginning, middle, and end of all goods transcending mind, for thy Son in His conception and divine dwelling in thee is made our sure and true security. Thus thy words were true: from the moment of His conception, not from thy death, thou didst say all generations should call thee blessed. It was thou who didst break the force of death, paying its penalty, and making it gracious. Hence, when thy holy and sinless body was taken to the tomb, the choirs of angels bore it, and were all around, leaving nothing undone for the honour of our Lord’s Mother.”
-St. John of Damascus, First Sermon of the Dormition
The Eastern Church celebrates the Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos in a vigil tonight, ending their fast. The Ikon of the Dormition has always remained my favorite Icon for it demonstrates the promise of Christ that he will deliver us from death. I suppose the chief paradox has always been that in the image of Mary and Christ; that the hands that created the universe were unable to grip the hair of one Jewish woman and the lips that breathed life into humanity could not form the infant words of love for his mother.