We see in this famous 15th century Russian icon the falling asleep, or Dormition, of the Most Holy Theotokos and Virgin Mary. Christ takes her pure soul from her body as the Apostles miraculously gathered from all over the earth come 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, for by Divine Providence, the Holy Apostle Thomas was absent from the burial and only came from India brought by angels after the Virgin had been buried three days. In his sorrow and wishing to say his tender and respectful farewell, the tomb was opened at his request and it was only then discovered that her body was not there, and the tomb was empty. The Virgin Mary’s tomb 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.