Evodius of Rome, Homily on the Dormition

AKA MBG, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  1. Homily Version and Date: The homily, preserved in its Bohairic version, is dated to a time after the middle of the sixth century. This dating is based on its mention of a celebration of Mary’s Assumption on 16 Mesore (9 August). This date is elaborated upon in the introduction to Theodosius’ homily.
  2. Earlier Version: However, Sahidic fragments of the same homily, published by Robinson in a specific volume, indicate the existence of an earlier version that did not include any mention of the Virgin’s Assumption. This earlier version is believed to have originated prior to the mid-sixth century when the liturgical changes reflected in Theodosius’ homily had taken place.
  3. Related Homily on Dormition Attributed to Evodius: There is another homily related to the Dormition, attributed to Evodius, which survives only in Sahidic. This version is also believed to be from before the mid-sixth century. It was recently published by Stephen J. Shoemaker in “The Sahidic Coptic Homily on the Dormition of the Virgin Attributed to Evodius of Rome: An Edition of Morgan MSS 596 & 598 with Translation.” The publication can be found in Analecta Bollandiana, volume 117, issues 3-4, in 1999, spanning pages 241-283.

  4. To understand the position of the Catholic Church on the Dormition and Assumption of Mary, the Munificentissimus Deus should be read.
  5. The text we report is not part of the deposit of faith but is one of the sources of study.

Translation by Forbes Robinson, Coptic Apocryphal Gospels, Texts and Studies 4.2, Cambridge: At the University Press, 1896, 44-67.


An instruction which our holy and in every wise honourable father Abba Evodius, the archbishop of the great city Rome, who was the second after Peter the apostle, delivered. Now he delivered it concerning the Lady of us all, the holy God-bearer Mary; manifesting the matter to us, that she ended her holy life on the twenty-first of the month Tobi according to the Egyptians; in the peace of God, Amen.

I. If a king of this world wishes to make a marriage feast for his son, a great multitude is gathered unto him, rejoicing with him, and wearing white garments, keeping festival at the marriage feast of the kings son. And all the orders wear royal garments, and rejoice with his son on the day of his marriage. The courtiers adorn their children: the tribunes stand adorned: the counts are gathered together and all their order: all the governors come and those who are governors over them: the generals and the commanders wear purple, and they all come to the joy of the marriage of the kings son. The standard-bearers adorn their standards, and stand and honour the kings son and his bride. The trumpeters make ready their trumpets, in order that all may know perfectly that the king has made a marriage [45] feast for his son, and that they all may be gathered together, each with his order. Places of beholding are prepared in the midst of the city, and performers go up on ropes, and stand, that those who see them may wonder. The actors stand acting: the keepers prepare all their wild beasts: the harpers encompass the king and his palace and harp with their harps, bringing forth sweet strains, befitting the marriage feast of the kings son: the players are gathered with their instruments, and many others are gathered unto them, listening to the sweet sounds which they pipe on their instruments of music. The people of the market cleanse the market places, and hang up veils and linen cloths in the streets and torches giving light. Every one crowns the streets and the doors of his house with branches of palm and branches of olive; and the sailors also of the waters adorn their ships. In short all crafts are zealous to manifest more zeal, keeping festival at the festival of the marriage of the kings son. And these are not the only ones who rejoice, but also the others, the robbers who are in the prisons, with the iron set on their hands and their feet, intended to be put to death; even they forget the troubles which are upon them, and they also rejoice at the marriage feast of the kings son, when they are shewn mercy for a little while in the iron which is set upon them. The poor and the sick are gathered unto the kings palace and eat and drink, rejoicing and waiting for the kings charity. All the craftsman according to their craft make their workshop idle, and they are all gathered to the palace of the king, and eat and drink at the marriage feast of the kings son. and the king also when he sees all these rejoicing at the marriage feast of his son, his heart is much enlarged, and he is compassionate towards the poor and the orphans. Then he hastily commands to send forth orders by cities and by villages, bidding them not to treat the poor with violence in any matter henceforth. [46]

II. And if these things take place at a marriage feast of a kings son of this world which shall pass away, and its joy must needs be turned into mourning after but a little while, by reason of that which is set against all men, even death, whose name is bitter; how great joy is spread out for us to-day in heaven and on earth because of the true bride Mary the Virgin, more beautiful than any offspring of man that God hath made, who went away to-day unto her pure Bridegroom, her true Spouse, her Son and her God? All ye inhabitants of heaven rejoice to-day, because it is her festival that we keep, Mary the Virgin, the mother of the King of kings. Again, ye inhabitants of the earth rejoice exceedingly, because the freedom of our race became ours by means of her: and we ceased being servants of sin, and became servants of righteousness; and came forth from the curse of the law, by means of Him whom the Virgin brought forth, Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father, who was before the worlds.

III. Verily blessed art thou in truth, Mary the true bride. Blessed art thou many times, O thou holy Virgin, because thy holy virgin womb was made worthy to become a dwelling place of the Word of the Father. Thou art higher than heaven, O Mary thou Virgin, because He who sitteth on the right hand of His Father in the third heaven on high–thy holy knees were worthy of Him, that He should sit upon them. Blessed art thou, O Mary thou Virgin, thou Queen of all women, because thou west made worthy that thy two breasts should nourish Christ Jesus our Lord, who nourisheth all the creation that His hands have made. What is the honour wherewith I shall honour thee, O thou holy Virgin, O thou that shinest more than the sun and art better than the moon, O thou that art higher than the angels that have no body, O thou that art more beautiful than the Cherubim and the Seraphim and the thrones and the dominions? [47]

IV. Verily thou art more honourable than all the ranks of the heavens, O Mary thou Virgin. But perchance a senseless wicked Jew may hear me ascribing such great honours as these to this holy Virgin, and be troubled by his wicked jealousy, and be torn asunder in the midst, and dare to speak with his mouth that ought to be closed and his tongue that ought to be cut off in folly, saying, Cease ascribing all these honours to this Virgin born of a man and a woman. Now this indeed I fully confess, O thou lawless one, that the holy Virgin Mary also was born of a father and a mother even as all men. For her father was Joakim and her mother was Anna, the honourable and blessed root, the pure offspring, the nursling full of all gladness O thou senseless Jew, wherefore didst thou say in truth that the holy Virgin Mary was born of intercourse with a man, and didst not confess this also without doubting, that the holy Virgin brought forth Christ without intercourse with man? O thou lawless Jew, wherefore didst thou cry out, saying, This man casteth out devils by Belzeboul; but didst not remember him from whom the legion of devils came out, and her from whom the seven devils came out at one time? Wherefore didst thou cry out to Pilate, Crucify Him, crucify Him, crucify Him; but didst not rather remember those of thine whom He raised from the dead, even Lazarus when he had been four days in the tomb, and the son of the widow that was in Nain, and the daughter of Jairus the ruler of the synagogue, and the rest that cannot be numbered? Wherefore, O thou lawless Jew, didst thou dare to spit in his divine face, when it was He who formed thee, but thou didst not rather remember that He it was who caused the eyes of the man born blind to see, with the spittle of His divine and blessed mouth? Wherefore, O thou lawless one, didst thou pierce with nails His hands and His feet [48] which made thee, O thou wicked and foul man of impurity; and didst not rather remember the withered hand which He caused to be stretched forth? And wherefore also didst thou hear Him say, I thirst; and gavest Him to drink vinegar mingled with gall; but didst not rather remember that this is He who brought forth the water from the rock, and gave thy forefathers to drink in the wilderness, in order that thou also mayest confess Him? Wherefore didst thou speak false words against Him, O thou senseless and foul one, thou Jew whom the Lord shall destroy with the breath of His mouth; even as it is written, The Lord shall destroy all that speak falsehood. Wherefore didst thou speak to Pilate, accusing the Lord Jesus, wishing that he should give sentence against Him and put Him to death saying, This man forbiddeth us to give custom to Caesar? Wherefore didst thou not speak the truth, O thou that art fouler than all men, and didst not remember the time that ye came unto Him, laying wait, wishing to take hold of a word at His mouth, when ye said to Him, Dost Thou wish that we give toll to Caesar? But knowing your wicked device, He said to you, Bring Me a penny; and ye brought it to Him. And He took it, and blotted out the letters which were upon it, and wrote on it thus, Give to God the things that are God’s, and give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. But ye would not speak the truth, for ye are liars from the first. Wherefore did ye have pity on a wicked slayer that was a murderer, who also was one of you, and said, Release him unto us? and Him who saved you and your sons, ye did to Him many evils, though He raised your dead, and opened the eyes of your blind, and made those who had been long sick among you take up their bed and go to their house, without medicine and herbs, and healed your women who had issues of blood twelve years. But ye envied Him, wishing to put Him to death, and cried out to Pilate, His blood been us, and on our children. O ye lawless Jews [49] wherefore did ye not read in the first vision of Daniel the prophet, and know the rebukes which the prophet gave to your fathers of old, even the false prophets, called elders, who plotted and bare false witness against Susanna the daughter or Chellrias, the wife of Joakim, the honourable and perfect, when the prophet said unto them, Behold now there hath come upon you and upon your head the sin which ye do, letting go those to whom the sine belong, and destroying the sinless, when the Lord saith, The sinless and the righteous shalt thou not slay. But ye have filled up the measure of your fathers, and also ye have put to death Him that liveth for ever, the only sinless One, even Christ; and have said, Release unto us the sinful one and him to whom all sins belong, even Barabbas the murderer that was a robber. O woe to you and to your children many times, O ye that are fouler than any race of man, and impurer than any unclean woman. Woe, woe to you on the day in the which God will sit and judge all the world in righteousness and give to every man according to his works; and ye are on the side of those on the left, clothed with shame and dishonour, condemned because ye knew not the Lord and His holy law. But this I say that ye must needs hear the sentence which is bitter and sharper than any two-edged sword, Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither and slay them before me; and bind them hand and foot, and cast them into the outer darkness, where shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Behold these things we have spoken unto you, O people that love God, whilst I manifest to you the wicked purpose of the Jews that are transgressors, and the unmercifnlness that they shewed towards the Lord of glory and the King of heaven and of earth, our Lord Jesus Christ. But come now, let us leave the wicked sayings of those men and let us turn to the death of the holy Virgin Mary. and manifest the matter to you, on what day she died and how she laid down her body. But think not, my beloved, that these words, [50] which I shall speak to you, are idle words, or that we have heard them from others, and have spoken them to you. Nay, but those things which I have seen with mine eves and have handled with my hands, even I Evodius who speak with you now in this instruction, they are the things which I speak to you. For it is written, Better is the seeing of the eyes than the hearing of the ears: and these are those things that I will now speak.

V. It came to pass at the time that God manifested in the world His Son and the Son of the holy Virgin Mary in truth– Now when He came walking by the sea of Tiberias, I Evodius and Alexender my kinsman were on board the boat, with my father Peter and Andrew his brother ,mending our nets going about the lake to catch fish. And as for my father Peter, the boat and the nets were his, and we also were under him as workmen: and Rufus also was together with us for the mending of the nets. And our Lord Jesus came walking by the sea of Tiberias, and called unto my father Peter and Andrew his brother, Come, follow Me. Now as for my father Peter, his name was formerly called Simon. When the Lord called him unto the heavenly calling He added two other names to him, Peter and Cephas, so that his names became three, Simon, Peter, Cephas. And it came to pass when my father Peter and Andrew his brother heard the gentle voice of the Lord saying to them, Follow Me; they did not stay at all, but bade farewell to everything and to the boat, and came to the shore, and followed Him. And I also Evodius that am least of all and Rufus and Alexander, we no longer departed anymore unto our fathers, but we also went and followed our fathers the apostles, and we were ministering to Him in all things that He might command us. Those whom He called with my father Peter were twelve in number, whom He called apostles. And there was also he whose very name is not worthy to be uttered, Judas the traitor; he also was numbered in the lot of the twelve apostles: but [51] we also were seventy two. Through this great matter therefore we remained hidden there, and were not able to go out for a great while for fear of the Jews, lest they should put us to death; until our Lord Jesus Christ came unto us, and shewed us the way wherein we should go. And Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was with us in the house, and the women also that followed her from Jerusalem (for they were going with us until our Lord Jesus was crucified), even Salome and Joanna and all the rest of the virgins who went with her. And my father Peter sanctified an altar in the house in which we were,e ven as the Lord taught us before He suffered; and again after He rose from the dead, He taught us again.

VI. Now it came to pass on the twentieth of the month Tobi, we were gathered together according to the command of the Lord, in the place where the holy Virgin was, and were still preparing the altar, to receive a blessing; and there came unto us our Lord Jesus Christ, and stood in our midst, and saith unto us, Peace be unto you all. But we were in great fear, and worshipped him in haste. He answered and said unto us, It is I; be not afraid. It is I, who was crucified for the whole race of Adam. It is I, who died and rose from the dead on the third day, and granted resurrection of life to the sons of men. Peace be unto you all, My honourable apostles. Peace be unto My lesser disciples. Peace be unto Mary My virgin mother, who brought Me forth on the earth. Peace be unto all the women who follow you. The peace of My good Father I give unto you. Be not afraid; for I am with you unto the end of the ages. And our Saviour saluted His virgin mother, and afterwards He saluted my father Peter, and then again all the apostles and us the lesser disciples; and last of all He said to my father Peter, Make haste and prepare the altar, that I may give a blessing unto you to-day; for I must needs take a great offering from your midst on the morrow, before that each one of you goes to the lot that [52] hath fallen to him to preach therein. And the Lord gave a blessing to us all on that day, and appointed my father Peter archbishop, and we also the lesser disciples, he made some among us presbyters–I being one of them, Evodius the least and afterwards deacons for the perfecting of the altar, and readers and psalmists and door-keepers for the perfecting of the Church: all these He made in our midst on the twentieth of the month Tobi. Afterwards He gave us the salutation of peace, and went up to the heavens, as we were all looking at Him. And we spent all that day gathered together in one assembly, blessing God because of the great gift which had befallen us. Again we sat and discussed with one another, saying, what then is this word which the Lord spake to us, I must needs take a great offering from your midst on the morrow?

VII. Now it came to pass at the hour of the light on the twenty-first of the month Tobi, which was the morrow, that Christ the true Word came unto us riding on a chariot of Cherubim, thousand thousands of angels following Him, the powers of light surrounding Him and singing before Him: David the holy singer riding on a chariot of light, having his spiritual harp, crying out and saying, Let us sing unto the Lord, for with glory hath He been glorified. And our Saviour stood in our midst, the doors being shut, and stretched forth His hand towards us all; the multitude of the disciples being gathered together, and said unto us, Peace be unto you all. And we all arose together, and worshipped His hands and His feet, and He blessed us with the blessing of heaven; the angels answering Him, Amen. And He turned to my father Peter, and said to him, Take care of the altar, that I may give a blessing to you; for I must needs take a great offering from your midst to-day. But we fell down at His feet and worshipped Him, and besought Him, saying, Our Lord and our God, we beseech Thee that Thou wouldest tell us this word which Thou hast spoken to us, I must needs take a great offering from your [53] midst to-day. Our Saviour answered, and said to us, O my glorious; members, whom I chose out of all the world, this is the day that the prophecy of My father David has been fulfilled, The queen stood at thy right hand in garments worked with gold, arrayed and adorned in divers manners. This is the day that I will receive My virgin mother, who has been to me a dwelling-place on the earth for nine months, and take her up with me to the heavenly places of the heavens, and give her as a gift to My good Father, even as David saith, There shall be brought in unto the king virgins behind her, there shall be brought in unto him all her neighbours also. He answered in His divine and gentle voice, and said, Arise and come unto Me, O my beloved mother, in whom My soul was pleased to be; O thou that art beautiful among the daughters of Kedar; O thou chosen nest wherein He that is the beautiful Dove dwelt; O thou chosen garden that brought forth without seed and without husbandry, bringing forth a goodly fruit; O thou golden pot, wherein the manna is hidden, even I, the true manna; O thou hidden treasure, wherein the true light is hidden, which was manifested forth and, bestowed wealth on the sons of men. Arise and come unto Me, O My beautiful dove, My holy bride, My pure field, and I will take thee into My garden with Me, and array thee with My myrrh and My spice, and spread beneath thee the garments of fine linen. O Mary My mother, blessed art thou, because thou didst bring Me forth upon the earth. Blessed are thy breasts, because I received suck from them; and I am Me that nourisheth everyone. I also will take thee to the heavenly places of the height, and nourish thee with the good things of My Father. If then thou didst make me sit upon thy knees, O Mary My virgin mother, I, also will place thee on the chariots of Cherubim, and take thee to the heavens with Me and My good Father. If thou didst wrap Me in swaddling clothes, O Mary My virgin mother, on the day that thou didst bring Me forth, and if thou didst [54] place Me in a manger of cattle, and an ox and an ass overshadowed Me: I also will wrap thy body to-day in the garments of heaven, which I have brought from the heavens with Me; and will place it under the tree of life, and make the Cherubim watch it with the sword of fire. And I will cover thy blessed soul with the coverings that cover the altar of the heavenly Jerusalem. If thou didst take Me down into Egypt for fear of Herod the lawless, when he was pursuing Me; I also will make My angels overshadow thee with their wings, and ever keep singing thy praise.

VIII. Now when we heard these things, as our Saviour was saying them to His virgin mother, we all knew that He was wishing to take her from the body. And we all turned our face away and wept bitterly; and she also wept with us, the mother of us all, the holy Virgin Mary. Our Saviour said to us, Why weep ye? Our father Peter said to Him, My Lord and my God, we weep over the great bereavement that shall befall us At the time indeed that the lawless Jews crucified Thee, we mourned for a few days; afterwards our mourning was turned for us into joy by Thy rising from the dead: for Thou didst appear to us and didst comfort us, and didst entrust us to Thy virgin mother, even Mary the mother of us all; and we remained as though Thou wert yet in the body with us. Now therefore if Thou wilt take her from us, better is it for us that Thou shouldst take us before her than the bereavement that shall befall us. And our Saviour said to him, O My chosen Peter and all My apostles whom I have chosen, said I not to you, I will not leave you desolate but I come unto you again? But weep not for the death of My virgin mother. I will not leave her without her appearing unto you soon. Even as I have not hidden Myself from you, neither shall My virgin mother also hide herself from you. But every time that I appear unto you, I will bring with Me My virgin mother, in order that ye may see her and your soul may exult. Now my father Peter and the rest of the disciples said to our [55] Saviour, Our Lord and our God, is it not possible that she should never die? The Saviour said to them, I wonder at you, O My holy apostles, for this word which ye have spoken now. Can the word which I spake from the first prove a lie? Nay, God forbid. But I pronounced a sentence from the first upon all flesh, that they must all needs taste death. Because of the flesh that I took, I also tasted death, I who am the Lord of all men, that I might loose the pangs of death. My father Peter said to him, My Lord and my God, bid me speak with Thee this time also. The Lord said to him, Speak. My father Peter said to Him, My Lord, we wish Thee to have compassion upon us, and to leave Thy virgin mother alive for us get a few days, for she is our comfort after Thee. Our Saviour answered, saying, O my chosen Peter, knowest thou not there is an appointed time laid down for each man to accomplish in tile world; and when it is fulfilled, it is not possible for him to stay for a single hour. Now therefore the appointed time of My mother is fulfilled to-day. Therefore she must needs lay down her body, and I will take her up to the heavens with Me in glory. Behold the orders of the heavens, that My Father hath sent after the temple of His beloved Son, even Me, are all waiting for her. Arise and I will bless you with her in the holy offering before I take her up unto My Father.

IX. The women therefore that went with her, even the virgins that followed her, turned their face away, and all wept bitterly and with groaning; and site also wept with them, the Holy Virgin Mary. Our good Saviour answered and said to her, O Mary My virgin mother, why weepest thou? Thou shalt leave behind thee now weeping, and depart into the joy that abideth for ever. Thou shalt leave behind thee sorrow and groaning, and dwell in splendour and gladness for ever. Thou shalt leave behind thee the things of the earth, and inherit the things of the heavens. The Virgin Mary [56] answered and said to our Saviour, My Lord and my God and my Son, how shall I not weep and be in sorrow of heart? I have heard Thee many times speaking with the sons of men, saying, There are many shapes in Death, terrifying and troubling those after whom he comes. If these things be so, how shall I not weep, fearing in what manner I shall be able to behold his fearful shape? And our Lord Jesus said to her, O Mary My beautiful mother, dost thou fear Death, when He that abolished every power of Death is with thee? How dost thou fear his diverse shape, when the Life of all the world is with thee? And the Lord had compassion within Himself, and drew Himself to His virgin mother, and wiped away her tears, and kissed her with His divine mouth. And the Lord Jesus stood at the altar and gave us all a blessing, and gave us the salutation of peace, and said to my father Peter, Haste thee, look upon the altar, and bring Me these pure garments which My Father hath sent Me from heaven, that I may shroud My blessed mother in them, for no garment of this world can rest upon the body of My beloved mother. And my father Peter found garments of fine linen, pure, holy, very precious, giving forth a sweet odour. And when we saw the garments sending forth rays of light, we wondered exceedingly. And the Saviour took the garments from my father Peter, and spread them out with His own bends; and called His virgin mother, and saidt o her, Arise and come unto Me, O My silver Dove, whose wings are overlaid with gold. Come unto Me, My Lamb guileless and without blemish.

X. And she arose, the queen of all women, Mary the Virgin, the mother of the King of kings, to go unto her beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We all arose and worshipped her hands and her feet, weeping. And thus our Lord Jesus, her beloved Son, saluted her; and said to her, Co, get thee up into· the garments which I have spread, [57] and turn thy face eastwards, and say a prayer; and afterwards lie down upon the garments, and fulfil thy dispensation as all men who are born on the earth. And the queen of all women, Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, theKing of kings, arose and went into the midst of the garments, which the Saviour spread with His hands. She stood and turned her face eastwards, and said a prayer in the language of the inhabitants of heaven. When she had ended the prayer, she said the Amen; and we were standing, answering her, Amen. And afterward she lay down upon the garments, and put her hands at her aided, her face being set eastwards. And our Saviour made us stand for the prayer, that we might pray for her with the virgins also, who used to minister formerly in thy temple. They came and followed her, when our Savior was hanged on the cross. And we asked of them, Why have ye left the ministration of the temple? They said to us, On the day that Christ the Word of God the Father was crucified, we saw all the places change. The sun was darkened, and the moon became blood, and the stars fell down from heaven. And we feared, and fled into the tabernacle, into the holy of holies, and shut the door of the temple. Straightway we saw a strong angel come down from heaven, being in great anger, with a sword drawn in his hand, and he thrust it into the veil, and rent it in the midst, and divided it from the top to the bottom. And we heard a great voice saying, Woe to thee, woe to thee, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her. Often would I have gathered thy children, even as a bird gathereth its eggs together under its wings, but ye would not. Behold your house, I have left it unto you. We looked again, and saw the angel assigned to the altar fly up in the canopy of the altar, and the angel also having the sword, both being in great mourning and anger. When we saw all these things come to pass, we [58] knew that the Lord was angry with His people, and hasted, and came unto His Mother, and were with her, in order that we might not come to be under the curse, which we heard from the mouth of the angel of the Lord who rent the veil.

XI. The twelve virgin s therefore and all the women also who were with us, were all weeping with us together, whilst we stood, encircling the Virgin and singing her praise with the songs of heaven, even as we were taught. And Christ was sitting by His virgin mother honouring her, and His hand was placed under her cheek. And when we had been a long while singing, He saluted His mother, and He arose, and He brought us outside. And the Virgin was saying to Him, I beseech thee, O Jesus, Thou Son of the living God and my beloved Son in truth, without defilement of sin, remember her who brought Thee forth, O my Lord; for the forms of death have drawn nigh unto me. I beseech Thee, O my beloved Son, let the tyrannies of death and the powers of darkness flee from me. Let the angels of light draw nigh unto me. Let the worm that does not died be still. Let the outer darkness become light. Let the accusers of Amenti shut their mouths before me. O Let the dragon of the abyss close his mouth as he sees me coming to Thee. O my beloved Son, command that the officers of the abyss flee away from me, and terrify not my soul. The stones of tumbling which are in those paths, let them be destroyed before me. Let not the avengers with divers aspects see me with their eyes. The river of fire that tosseth its waves before Thee as the waves of the sea, wherein are proved the two portions, the righteous and the sinners–when I pass over it, let it not burn my soul. Let me be made worthy to worship Thee with a face wherein is no shame. For Thine is the power and the glory unto the ages of all the ages. Amen. [59]

XII. And our Lord Jesus Christ said to His mother with His gentle voice, Be of good cheer, O Mary my mother. All these things I will cause to flee from thee, for they have nothing at all in thee; but the resting places which are in the heavens and the good things which are in the heavenly Jerusalem are prepared for thee, that thou mayest rest in them for ever. Behold the heavenly garments of heaven and the flourishiug branches of palm are prepared that thy body may be shrouded therein. And thy blessed soul I will take up to the heavens with Me, and give it as a gift to My good Father; and thou art far better than all gifts, O thou who didst bring Me forth. And our Lord Jesus said to the apostles, Let us go outside for a little while; for this is the hour wherein My beloved mother will go forth from the body, and she cannot see Death face to face whilst I sit by her, for I am the Life of all the world. Behold all the powers of the heavens are gathered together with us now, waiting for us And we the apostles all went with Him outside, and left her lying down; all being gathered together to her, even the virgins and Joanne and Salome and all the faithful women also comforting her. And our Lord Jesus Christ was sitting down on a stone outside the door of the gate, we all being gathered together to Him, encircling Him. And He looked up to heaven and groaned, and said, I have overcome thee, O Death, that dwellest in the storehouses of the south. Come, appear to My virgin mother, that she may see thee; for thou art he whom I set us whom I set as king over all flesh. But let thy sting and thy victory be crushed within thee, till Mary My mother see thee no more. Afterwards devise thy fearful shape and thy sting and thy victory wherewith thou art clothed for ever. And moreover in a moment and in the twinkling of an eye, he appeared whose name is bitter with all men, even Death. It came to pass when she sew him with her eyes, her soul leaped [60] from her body into the bosom of her beloved Son in the place where He was sitting; for God the Word was sitting with us in the place where we were, and He fills heaven and earth. And it came to pass, when He had hold of the soul of His virgin mother–for it was white as snow–He saluted it, and wrapped it in garments of fine linen, and gave it to Michael the holy archangel, who bare it on his wings of light, until He appointed the place for her holy body. All the women that mere gathered to her, when they saw that she was dead, they all wept and groaned. And Salome went out, and fell down at the feet of our Lord Jesus, and worshipped Him, saying, My Lord and my God, behold, she whom Thou lovest is dead. Woe unto us and the great bereavement and the dispersion which has befallen us to-day. For if thou hadst not gone forth, she had not died. Our Lord Jesus answered and said to her, Mary My virgin mother did not die, but lived. For the death of My mother is not death, but it is life for ever. And David the holy singer struck his spiritual harp, and cried out, saying, Precious before the Lord is the death of His holy ones. Be glad, O Mary, thou mother of Christ, the King of kings. This ist the day that the prophecies are fulfilled which I spake concerning thee, thou true Queen.

XIII. And our Saviour arose from the stone, and went into the house, whilst we all went with Rim. And we saw the face of the Virgin shining more than the sun, all her body giving forth a sweet savour. Now He stretched Himself out on the body of His virgin mother and wept; and was speaking such words as these over her, saying, Blessed are thy lips, O Mary My mother, for thou didst kiss God with them. Blessed are thins eyes, O thou who didst bring Me forth, for thou didst look into the face of Him, who looketh upon the face of the earth, making it to be disturbed unto its foundations. Blessed are thine ears, O thou whom I desire, for thou didst hear Me speaking with the angels many times in the language of the inhabitants of [61] heaven. Blessed are thine arms, O thou in whom I dwelt, for thou didst carry Him who beareth the universe by the word of His power. Blessed are thy breasts, O Mary My virgin mother, for thou didst nourish Me from them, and I am He that noursheth all the creation. Blessed are thy knees, O thou whom I loved, for I sat on them, I that sit on the throne of His glory in the highest. Blessed is thy blessed womb, for thou didst carry Me nine months. Blessed is all thy body and thy soul, for they were enlightened with the light of My godhead.

XIV. Now when out good Saviour had said these things over the body of His mother He wept: and we also were all weeping with Him. He arose and took hold of the heavenly garments, and shrouded her holy body, He and Peter and John; and the garments were fastened to her body. And our Saviour spake with the apostles, saying, Arise, take up the body of My beloved mother, which was to Me a holy temple, and bear it on your shoulders, for garments of the height are wrapped upon it and palm branches of the heavenly places of heaven. And thou, O My chosen Peter, bear her head on thy shoulder, and let John also carry her feet; for ye are My brethren and My holy members. Let the rest of the apostles sing before her. Go ye all forth with her from the least to the greatest to the east of Jerusalem, in the held of Jehoshaphat. Ye shall find a new tomb, wherein no man has yet been laid. Lay her holy body there, and keep watching it three and a half days. Be not afraid. I am with you. Now when our Saviour had made an end of speaking with the holy apostles, He prayed. David the holy singer said Allelujah, for there shall be brought in unto the king virgins behind her, there shall be brought in unto him all her neighbours also. Afterwards our Lord Jesus gave us the salutation of peace, and we all worshipped Him. Again David danced, saying, Allelujah. Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest; Thou and the ark of Thy holy place, which is thou O Mary thou Virgin undefiied. [62]

XV. Straightway our Saviour rode upon His chariot of Cherubim, all the orders of the heavens following Him and singing His praise, so that the air was covered by the abundance of the sweat savour. Thus did He receive the soul of His mother into His bosom, wrapped in napkins of fine linen, sending forth dashes of light; and went up into the heavens, whilst we all looked at Him. Straightway they took up the body of the Virgin. My father Peter was carrying her head, my father John carrying her feet; and the rest of the apostles, with censers of incense in their hands going before us singing, and all the virgins going behind her. And it came to pass, when we came east of Jerusalem to the place called the field of Jehoshaphat, the cursed Jewish people, that made insurrection, that put the Lord to death, heard the gentle voice of our holy fathers the Apostles as they sang, and said one to another, Who is this that died in this city to-day 1 Some of them said to them, It is the mother of Jesus the Nazarene, whom we crucified. Behold she is taken out to the tomb. And they took counsel with one another, and came out to meet us in anger of Satan, for he it is who filled their heart, being minded that they should kill us, and also take the body of the holy Virgin and burn it with fire; even as they confessed to us afterwards. And it came to pass, when they drew nigh to us, behold a wall of fire encompassed us and them, and their eyes were darkened. For the Lord smote them with a darkness which might be felt, even as He once did unto the Egyptians. But the body of the Virgin the apostles bare, and put it into the tomb according to the word of our Saviour, and they remained watching it three and a half days.

XVI. Now the Jews, when they saw the great anger which came upon them from the Lord, cried out, weeping and saying, We beseech thee, O Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, help us. We confess Jesus Christ, whom thou didst bear, that He is the Son of God in truth. We beseech thee, [63] O Mary our sister, have mercy on us, for thou art of our race. We did many wrongs to Jesus thy Son, and He never once did us wrong. Do thou also, O our sister, have mercy on us, and grant us the light of our eyes. And straightway their eyes were opened, they saw the light; and they sought, and found not the body of the holy Virgin. And they were in great amazement over the wonder which came to pass; so that they lifted up their voice, crying out and saying, One is the God of Israel, who sent His beloved Son into the world. In truth we have become guilty of a great sin.

XVII. Now when they had reached mid-day on the fourth day, the apostles being gathered together with one another and with virgins also by the tomb, wherein was the body of the Virgin, singing and making melody; behold a great voice came from heaven like the sound of a trumpet, saying, Go ye everyone to his place until the seventh month. For behold I have hardened the heart of the chief priests and of all the Jews, that they may not perceive nor know this place any more, nor seek the body of My virgin mother until I take it up to the heavens with Me. And ye all the disciples, and the virgins also that have tarried with you, come ye all hither on the sixteenth of the month Mesore, that ye may see My virgin mother when I take her to the heavens with Me, her soul being in her body, living as it was on earth with you, that ye may believe with all your heart the resurrection which shall be to all flesh. And it came to pass, when we heard this voice: we were glorifying God; and we arose and prayed, and returned to the house wherein we were dwelling, being in great mourning and weeping over the separation from us of the holy Virgin Mary: and we were praying God day and night, that He would comfort our heart and shew us her again. And it came to pass in the seventh month from the time that the Virgin, the holy God-bearer, Mary went forth from the body, which is the month Mesore, we arose on the fifteenth of this month, and gathered [64] together to the tomb wherein was the body of the Virgin, the virgins also being with us. We spent all the night watching and singing, offering up incense, the virgins having their lamps burning.

XVIII. Now at the hour of the light on this same night, which is the morning of the sixteenth of the month Mesore, there came unto us in the place where we were dwelling our Lord Jesus Christ in great glory, and said unto us, Peace be unto you all, My holy apostles. The peace of My Father I give ante you. And we fell down and worshipped Him, and He blessed us all, and said to us, Wherefore are ye in this great sadness and this grief of heart and this deep mourning? My father Peter said to Him, My Lord and my God, we are grieved for the death of Thy virgin mother and the mother of us all, because Thou hast not shewn us her again since the day that she went forth from the body. Our good Saviour answered and said to us, The body of My beloved mother, behold it is with. you, and My angels watch it according to the command of My Father, because it was a temple of His Son, even of Me; but her soul is in the heavenly places of heaven, and the powers of the height sing her praise. And now I have sent for her to be brought, that she may come and manifest to you the honours wherein she dwells, which I promised you in return for those things which ye left behind you here. While our Saviour was yet speaking with us, we heard hymns in the height. Straightway we looked, and saw a great chariot of light. It came and stayed in our midst; Cherubim drawing it, the holy Virgin Mary sitting upon it, and shining ten thousand times more than the sun and the moon. And we were in fear, and fell on our face, and worshipped her; and she stretched forth her hand towards us all, and blessed us, and gave us the salutation of peace. Again we worshipped her, being in great joy and exultation; and she told us great and hidden mysteries, which it is not lawful to manifest because of the men that are unfaithful. And the Lord [65] called into the tomb, and raised the body of His virgin mother, and put her soul into her body again; and we saw it living in the body even as it was with ns formerly, wearing the flesh. And our Saviour stretched out His hand, and set her on the chariot with Him. And our Saviour answered, and said to us in His gentle voice, Behold My beloved mother. This is she whose virgin womb carried Me nine months, and I was three years also receiving suck from her breasts which were sweeter than honey. Behold ye see her face to face, raised by Me from the dead, and she has blessed you all Now therefore I will not depart from you, saving you until ye complete your struggle. Arise therefore now, go ye forth in all the world and preach the gospel everywhere, and baptize all the nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy ghost: teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. And when our Saviour had said these things, He spent all that day with us and with His virgin mother. Afterwards He gave us the salutation of peace; and went up to the heavens in glory, the angels singing before Him.

XIX. This is [the end of] the life of the Lady of us all, the holy God-bearer Mary, on the twenty-first of Tobi and her assumption on the sixteenth of Mesore. I Evodius, the disciple of my father Peter, the apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ, who speak with you now in this instruction, was with the apostles, going with them; and I saw all these things come to pass. It is not another who spake them tome, and I spake them to you; but those things which I have seen with mine eyes, and those things which I have heard with mine ears; they are those which I have spoken to your charity, concerning the death of the holy Virgin Mary, the undefiled, the mother of Christ our God. God, the righteous judge, who shall judge the quick and the dead, He is witness to me that I have not taken away from these words nor added unto them. May it come to pass that the Lady of us all, [66] the holy God-bearer Mary whose festival we keep to-day, may intercede for us with her beloved Son Jesus Christ, our God and the Son of God the Father in truth, in order that He may have compassion upon us, and have mercy on us. Let us give alms into the hand of a poor man in the name of the holy God-hearer Mary; that she may not suffer us to be strangers in yonder place, but that she may make request for us to Christ our God, that He may shew His mercy with us and forgive our our sins. Let us glorify Him always with [67] ceaseless prayers day and night, crying out and saying, Let Thy mercy be upon us, our Lord and our God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: through whom all glory and all honour is due to the Father and Him and the Holy Ghost, giver of life and of one essence with Him, now and always and unto the ages of all the ages. Amen.

Grant, O Lord, mercy to the sinner who wrote this, to Chael son of Matoi. Amen.

Theodosius of Alexandria, Homily on the Dormition

John the Theologian, The Dormition of the Holy Theotokos