Friday, August 29, 2014


Recently I caught the tail end of a discussion on Facebook ("Ask about the Orthodox Faith") with a man who was obviously some sort of Protestant.  As such, he had little patience for those of us who honor and exalt the Theotokos as our fervent intercessor and protector as we traverse the storm tossed waters of this earthly life. 

This man-- his spiritual sight darkened by the delusions engendered by the Babylonian Captivity of the Western "Church"--insisted that Mary was merely a mortal human being "like the rest of us," and so she died and was buried and will not arise again until the General Resurrection--when our Lord returns to judge the living and the dead.

So then...where are her relics?  After all, relics have been preserved down through the centuries of virtually every saint on the Church calendar.  Yet there are and never have been any pilgrimages organized to venerate the relics at the tomb of the Mother of God.  As for the assumption that all human flesh must await the General Resurrection, I ask...what of the Holy Prophet Elijah, who ascended from this earth in a chariot?  What of Enoch, who was "translated" by the power of God?  Scripture affirms that both of these saints will return in the End Times to bare bold witness against the Antichrist in Jerusalem.

In any case, the Orthodox Church does not teach that Mary did not die.  Dormition means "falling asleep."  As a mortal being, Mary truly died and was buried, but she was subsequently translated into heaven body and soul by the power of God.  After all, it was the same God Who created all things out of nothing Who raised Lazarus the Four Days Dead from the tomb and Who raised the bodies of the saints around Jerusalem at His Crucifixion, that they might bear witness to His glorious Resurrection. 

Nor should we say that the Theotokos was "just" an ordinary mortal like the rest of us.  As the Mother of God, she is the perfect flower of the human race--more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim.  She who preserved her virginity while giving birth--the Panagia (all pure)--was surely preserved from corruption in the grave. 

The Dormition reveals to us the glory and honor God has bestowed upon the entire human race--the crown of His creation.  We are all called to the same perfection achieved by the Theotokos, to become gods by grace.  Though she is indeed human like the rest of us, she has been granted the authority to intercede for us sinners before the Throne of God, covering with her mantle of protection all those who call upon her with faith.

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