Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church

Winchester, Virginia


Dormition of the Virgin Mary

The "Dormition of the Virgin Mary" is her "falling asleep" at the end of her time on earth.  It is not simply called the "Death of the Virgin" because of the tradition that soon after her soul left her body the two were reunited and taken up to Heaven.   The Dormition feast day is celebrated every year on August 15th.

Biblical Story

The Holy Scriptures tell us that when our Lord was dying on the Cross, He saw His mother and His disciple John and said to the Virgin Mary, "Woman, behold your son!" and to John, "Behold your mother!" (John 19:25-27).  From that hour, the Apostle took care of the Virgin Mary in his own home.

Along with the biblical reference in Acts 2:14 that confirms that the Virgin Mary was with the Holy Apostles on the day of Pentecost, the tradition of the Church holds that she remained in the home of the Apostle John in Jerusalem, continuing a ministry in word and deed.

At the time of her death, the disciples of our Lord who were preaching throughout the world returned to Jerusalem to see the Virgin Mary.  Except for the Apostle Thomas, all of them including the Apostle Paul were gathered together at her bedside.  At the moment of her death, Jesus Christ himself descended and carried her soul into heaven.

Following her repose, the body of the Virgin Mary was taken in procession and laid in a tomb near the Garden of Gethsemane.  When the Apostle Thomas arrived three days after her repose and desired to see her body, the tomb was found to be empty.  The bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary was confirmed by the message of an angel and by her appearance to the Apostles.