“O You Apostles from far off, being gathered together in the village of Gethsemane, lay my body in burial, and You, my Son, and my God, receive now my spirit from me.”
Small Paraklesis – Exaposteilarion, Tone 3

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

At the end of the life of the Virgin Mary, the Apostles gathered at her side in Gethsemane to witness her translation into heaven and the kingdom of her Son. This Feast marks the final steps of the life-long journey of the Virgin Mary to Christ. The Feast of the Dormition also celebrates every aspect of her life that was dedicated to the Lord.

During these past two weeks, we have journeyed with the Theotokos, we have prayer for her intercessions, and we have witnessed the depth of her faith and her immeasurable commitment to living a holy life. It is certainly not a coincidence that as we have journeyed to the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, that we also recall that every important moment in the life of the Theotokos took place within the context of a journey, and each step was connected to Christ. As a young girl, she journeyed into the Temple where she would spend her formative years. As a young woman, she journeyed from Jerusalem to Nazareth as the betrothed of Joseph. She journeyed to Bethlehem and there she gave birth to Christ. She journeyed to Egypt when Herod threatened Christ’s life, and then returned to Nazareth where Christ spent His early years. She journeyed to the wedding in Cana, where she prompted His first miracle. She journeyed to Golgotha. She journeyed to the empty tomb. She journeyed to the mountain from where He ascended. And now, in her falling asleep, she journeys to her Son who receives her and enthrones her in heaven.

Even as Christ was already with the Virgin Mary, every journey in her life was also a journey to Christ. As followers of Christ, all of us are also on a journey with and to Christ. He is already part of us; but each step in our lives is meant to connect us to Him more deeply and personally.

As we now rejoice in the Dormition of the Theotokos, where she was taken by the Lord into heaven, let us be mindful of our own journey down the path of salvation. May this journey lead us to the gates of Paradise and the Kingdom of her Son, just as it did for her, the Mother of God.

Wishing to all who celebrate their Feast, a most blessed Feast Day and many years, I remain,

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco