Icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God (Novgorod, 13th c.) – CF763


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Church Feast Day 1



Egg Tempera


Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia




13th c.


Christ stands above the Virgin Mary’s bier and lovingly receives her pure soul into His Hands as she once received Him when He was an infant.  Her face is peaceful in death with her eyes closed upon the bier, but her eyes are open in awareness in her soul in Christ’s loving embrace.  Above this, near the top of the icon, her soul can also be seen entering into Heaven in the hands of the angels.  In the air, all of the Apostles are being carried by angels to come from all over the ends of the earth where they had been sent to preach the good news of Christ’s Birth, Miracles, Death, and Resurrection, and that God has come on earth to save all of Mankind.  They were all miraculously gathered to say farewell to the Theotokos.

Around the bier all bow in grief for they too had received this pure lamb as their own mother when Christ gave that tender and intimate relationship to the Apostle John at the foot of the Cross as He was dying.  Whatever age one may be in this world, or in the World to Come, the Virgin Mary Theotokos is our mother indeed!  Among those gathered besides the eleven (St. Thomas was late again) were St. James, the Brother of the Lord, St. Dionysius the Areopagite, St. Timothy the Apostle, and St. Paul.