After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


The Virgin's Heavenly Funeral

 Ode V Canon I:
More melodious than clarions, the God-pleasing tongues of the theologizing men sounded forth to the Theotokos, playing a funeral hymn inspired by the Spirit: Rejoice, O incorrupt fountain of God's life-creating incarnation which saveth all!

St. Maximus the Confessor:
When the holy and all-blessed Theotokos was silent after her thanksgiving and prayer, the holy apostles began to speak at the command of the Holy Spirit, and they were singing and glorifying, each one as he was able and as the Holy Spirit gave it to him.  They praised and exalted the inestimable beneficence of God's power, and with their wondrous theology they brought great joy to the heart of the glorious mother of Christ, as the above-mentioned St. Dionysius says in the chapter where he shows "What is the power of prayer, and concerning the blessed Hierotheus, and concerning the writing of theology with reverence."  And his writing is to Timothy, and in this chapter he recalls the gathering of the holy apostles for the Dormition of the holy Theotokos, and how by the command and grace of the Holy Spirit each one of them spoke praises and sang of the incalculable power and beneficence of Christ our God, who deemed it worthy to come into the world inseparably from the bosom of the Father and to become incarnate from the holy Virgin, the one who bowed the heavens and descended (Ps 17:10) and found the holy and altogether praised Mary, who was chosen and exalted above all the human race, and he consented to dwell within her, and from her he put on human nature, and he had mercy and saved the human race through his glorious and ineffable economy.  Blessing and praise to his inestimable goodness and mercy!  And so it is written in the discourse of the blessed Dionysius, "I will relate to you the complete theological discourse that the holy apostles and our bishops pronounced at the time, for it was exalted beyond word, as you yourself know, O brother Timothy, and how after the great apostles, the blessed Hierotheus, the philosopher and disciple of the great apostle Paul also spoke praises of Christ God and praise and glorification of his immaculate and blessed mother by the grace of the Holy Spirit, as the theologians and apostles themselves recognized:  'The Holy Spirit opened his mouth to speak such words of glorification.'"  After this the Holy Theotokos blessed them again and her heart was filled with divine consolation.

And behold, the glorious and wonderful arrival of Christ her God and son took place, and there were with him innumerable hosts of angels and archangels and other hosts of seraphim and cherubim and thrones: they all stood with awe before the Lord, for wherever the king is, the hosts also accompany him.  The Holy Theotokos knew about all of this from the beginning, and she was waiting with steadfast hope.  Therefore she said, "I believe that all the things that you have said to me will be fulfilled," and at that time she clearly saw the apostles as well, and they beheld the glory, each one according to his ability.  And this present coming of the Lord was more glorious and tremendous than the first, for he appeared more radiant than the brilliance and Transfiguration that occurred on Tabor, although it was less than his natural glory, for that is unfathomable and invisible.  Then the apostles were terrified, and they fell to the ground as if dead (John 20:19, 26), for at that time they were also gathered together in the house of John: then because of fear of the Jews, and now for the Dormition of the mother of the Lord.  When the apostles heard the sweet and pleasant voice of the Lord, they were revived and strengthened in soul and body, and with reverence they began to look upon the brilliance of his glory and his divinely beautiful face.  Nevertheless, the all-holy, immaculate, and blessed mother of Christ was filled with joy, and her glorious face shone with brilliance and divine glory.  But she also beheld with fear and reverence the glory and brilliance that shone forth from her king and son Jesus Christ.  She glorified his divinity even more and prayed for the apostles and for all those who were standing there,  And she sought intercession for all the faithful, wherever they were.  She made an offering for the entire world and for every soul that calls upon the Lord and calls to mind the name of his mother, and wherever they observe a commemoration of her, she asked that a blessing would spread throughout that place.  Then again the holy Virgin Mary looked and beheld the glory of her son, which human language is not capable of expressing.

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