This 16th century icon is a part of a celebrated set of festal icons showing important events in the life of Jesus plus a few other renowned feasts of the year. It was painted by George the Cretan for the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou on Mount Athos, and together they are known to be great examples of Post-Byzantine Greek iconographic art. This icon is the 14th of that set of icons.
We see in this icon the falling asleep, or Dormition, of the Most Holy Theotokos and Virgin Mary. Christ takes her pure soul from her body as all of the Apostles miraculously gathered from all over the earth to bid her farewell to an earthly life here with us. Tradition tells us that the Virgin was between 65 and 70 years old when she died, as she had met St. Dionysius the Areopagite after 52 a.d. The Church teaches that she died a natural death but without pain, yet her pure body was taken to Heaven three days later. The tomb of the Virgin Mary is still in the Valley of Kedron between Jerusalem and Mount Olivet, and is at the bottom of a long flight of steps leading downward past the burial places of her mother, St. Anna, and her father, St. Joachim.