The Ascension of Theotokos – Panagia

On this day, the 15th of August, we commemorate the Dormition of the Theotokos, Panagia (translation from Greek word Παναγία, which means “The Most Holy One” ), this is what the Church has received from ancient times from the tradition of the Fathers.

On the Cross, the Lord asked Apostle John to care for His Holy Mother, Mary.

The Apostle offered a house for Her , in Jerusalem, where She would live the remaining days on earth, praying and offering counsel and encouragement to the Apostles. When the time drew nigh that our Savior was well-pleased to take His Mother to Himself, He declared unto her through Archangel Gabriel that three days hence, He would lead Her from this temporal life to eternal life and bliss.

On hearing this, She went up with haste to the Mount of Olives, where She used to pray continuously. Giving thanks to God for all the blessings in Her life, She returned to Her house and prepared whatever was necessary for Her burial. While these things were taking place, clouds caught up the Apostles from the ends of the earth where they were scattered , where each one happened to be preaching, and were miraculously brought at once by the Holy Angels,who informed them of the cause of their sudden gathering , to the house of the Mother of God to Jerusalem, so that they might all be with the Theotokos at her repose.

As a mother, She consoled them in their affliction as they met, and then raised Her hands to Heaven and prayed for the peace of the world. She blessed the Apostles, and, reclining upon Her bed with seemliness, gave up Her all-Holy Spirit into the hands of Her Son and God. With reverence and many lights, and chanting burial hymns, the Apostles took up that God-receiving body and brought it to the sepulchre, and buried Her, who was the source of Life, with all honour, solemnity and joy at Gethsemane.

But one Jew, moved by malice, audaciously stretched forth his hand upon the bed and immediately received from divine judgment the wages of his audacity. Those daring hands were severed by an invisible blow and were cut off from the point where he touched the Mother’s bed. But when he repented and asked forgiveness, his hands were restored.

Apostle Thomas, who was delayed (again!) by God’s providence, arrived on the third day and went to Her tomb, intending to honour Her.
But when the Apostles opened Her grave, they found Her Holy body gone and only the winding-sheet remaining, while the Angels from Heaven chanted with them, and sent for Her , who is higher than the Cherubim. On the third day after the burial, when they were eating together, and raised up the artos (bread) in Jesus’ Name, as was their custom, Theotokos appeared in the air, saying to them :

“Rejoice : I will be with you always!”

From this they learned concerning the bodily ascension of Theotokos into the Heavens, anticipating the general Resurrection of all.

Rare Icon that is placed in the Holy Land, on the Holy Mountain of Olives,
where Holy Mary Is praying, while receiving the news of Her departure by Archangel Gabriel,
who accompanied Her, Her whole life.

Orthodox Christian Saints on Panagia – Most Holy Theotokos’ ascencion :

1 | As the holy pen of the Acts of the Apostles narrates [Acts 4:34]. Then they were sent throughout different regions to preach the word of God. Although the blessed Mary had already been called from this world, finally the passage of Her life was completed, and all the Apostles gathered from their particular regions at Her house. When they heard that She must be taken from the world, they all kept watch with Her. And behold, the Lord Jesus came with His angels, and after taking Her soul, He gave It to the Archangel Michael and left. At dawn, the apostles lifted Her body on a bed, placed it in a tomb, and kept guard over it, in anticipation of the arrival of the Lord. And behold, again the Lord approached them. He took the Holy body in a cloud and ordered It to be brought to Paradise, where, after regaining Her soul, Mary now rejoices with His elect and enjoys the goodness of eternity that will never perish.”

We must note , that Most Holy Theotokos is one of the few people that are able to live in the Holy Trinity’s presence and see and witness the Glory of God , the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

~ Saint Gregory of Tours

2 | On the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the most Holy woman, our Virgin Mary, Is honored! Our Virgin Mary remained incorruptible in death, as She remained incorruptible in life too! The birth of Her Son did not corrupt Her virginity, sin did not damage Her soul! Her death did not damage Her body! Just as the body of Christ remained incorruptible with the death on the cross, so the body of our Virgin Mary remained incorruptible! She died, but remained incorruptible! It is a fact that in the Orthodox Church we have incorruptible bodies of Saints, which we worship, let alone it was natural for Her to remain incorruptible and the God-given tabernacle of the Mother of our Lord and God; And was it ever possible for Her to stay on earth? No! She was transferred to heaven! Our Virgin Mary entered the Holy of Holies of Solomon’s temple, while with Her Dormition She entered with Her crystal clear, beautiful soul and with Her gloriously incorruptible body , the place of Holy Saints of Heaven!

~ Saint Elder Ephraim of Arizona || Εxcerpt from his book ” The art of salvation “

3 | How did the Heavens accept the One that had become greater than that? And how did the tomb receive a person who received God in Her? Oh sepulcher of the sacred and the miraculous and venerable and pilgrimage, who are now being treated by Angels, attending with much respect and fear, and people who come to You with faith, honoring It, worshipping It, kissing It with eyes and lips, and with longing of their soul, to draw from the riches of Your love. Therefore, let us travel mentally away from our lives together with the Virgin Mary, who Has Left this earth.

All of us with a yearning heart, we descend to the tomb with the Virgin who descends into it.

We stand around in Her Holy bed. We sing sacred hymns, much like saying a melodic song:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord Is with You !

Hail lamb who gave birth to the Lamb of God !

Hail to You who are above the Angelic powers !

Hail servant and the Mother of God !

Amen!

~St. John of Damascus ☦

Orthodox Christian Icon depicting the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

Hymns for Most Holy Mother of God and the feast of Her dormition :

1 | Troparion of The Dormition in Tone One

In Thy birth-giving, O Theotokos, Thou didst keep and preserve virginity;

and in Thy falling-asleep Thou Hast not forsaken the world;

for Υou are the Mother of True Life.

Wherefore, by Thine intercessions, deliver our souls from death.

2 | Kontakion of the Dormition in Tone Two

Verily, the Theotokos, who Is ever watchful in intercessions, and Whose prayers are never rejected, neither tomb nor death could control.
But since She Is the Mother of Life,

He Who dwelt in Her ever-Virgin womb did transfered Her to the eternal life.

3 | Original hymns in Greek text :

~ Ἀπολυτίκιον ☦

Λαοὶ προσκιρτήσατε, χείρας κροτοῦντες πιστῶς, καὶ πόθῳ ἀθροίσθητε, σήμερον χαίροντες, καὶ φαιδρῶς ἀλαλάζοντες, πάντες ἐν εὐφροσυνῃ· τοῦ Θεοῦ γὰρ ἡ Μήτηρ, μέλλει τῶν ἐπιγείων, πρὸς τὰ ἄνω ἀπαίρειν ἐνδόξως· ἣν ἐν ὕμνοις ἀεί, ὡς Θεοτόκον δοξάζομεν.

Ἐν τῇ Γεννήσει τὴν παρθενίαν ἐφύλαξας, ἐν τῇ Κοιμήσει τὸν κόσμον οὐ κατέλιπες Θεοτόκε· μετέστης πρὸς τὴν ζωήν, μήτηρ ὑπάρχουσα τῆς ζωῆς, καὶ ταῖς πρεσβείαις ταῖς σαῖς λυτρουμένη, ἐκ θανάτου τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.

Την αγίαν εικόνα της θεομήτορος υπό Λουκά ποιηθήσα εν τοις αρχαίοις καιροίς. Σπηλαιώτισσα την θείαν προσκηνήσωμεν ότι Αγράφων ή χαρά, Αργιθέας τε φρουρός εδείχθη ημίν και δόξα και εισακούει ταχέως δεήσεις πάντων των τιμώντων αυτήν.

Μη πελέκη συγκόψη με καθικέτευε σόν ελεήμονα Τόκον, Πελεκητή αγαθή, Μητροπάρθενε, Αγράφων θείων σέμνωμα, τον προσκυνούντα ευλαβώς σήν εικόνα την σεπτήν οικέτην σου τον αχρείον αλλ’ όμβρισον μοι ρανίδας χρηστοηθείας και σεμνότητος.

ΚΟΝΤΑΚΙΟΝ

Την εν πρεσβείαις ακοίμητον Θεοτόκον, και προστασίαις αμετάθετον ελπίδα, τάφος και νέκρωσις ουκ εκράτησεν, ως γαρ ζωής Μητέρα, προς την ζωήν μετέστησεν, ο μήτραν οικήσας αειπάρθενον.

[ note * : Kontakion is a hymnographic composition consisting of the preamble and the houses, which have the preamble as their model. It is a special genre of ecclesiastical poetry, which historically flourished in the 6th century BC. with Romanos the Melodist and the 7th century BC. For Byzantine music it is, after a long evolutionary course, its first great and complete genre. This new genre enriched Poetry with great and glorious works from the 8th century. was replaced by the Rule. ]

  1. Honoring the Most Holy Theotokos on the Aegean island of Tinos, where Her miracle working Orthodox Christian Icon was found in the 1800s.
  2. The Orthodox Christian Church on the island of Tinos, where the miraculous icon is placed for veneration and prayers from all over the world. || Photo Credits to @mytinosinsta

About Theotokos’ miraculous icon of Tinos :

On 23rd of July, is the feast of Saint Pelagia, and it is a very special day for the island of Tinos. In 1822, Pelagia (a nun from the convent of Kechrovounion) had visions of the Holy Virgin who told her how much She had suffered after being buried under the ground for many years. Panagia also instructed her to inform the elders of Tinos Village to begin digging up a piece of land, in the field of Ant. Doxaras where they would find a sacred Icon. Excavations began and on January 30th, 1823, a worker finally found the Icon. These excavations were followed by detailed excavations which have revealed that this was the site of an Ancient Byzantine Church and the temple of Dionysos. Today the Orthodox Christian Icon is located inside of the Church of Panagia Megalochari.

[ source :@mytinosinsta ]

More on the discovery of the icon

The icon called Panagia Evangelistria [ Evangelistria means the one that brings a good message] is a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary kneeling with Her head bent in prayer. Scholars say that the statue is older than the Byzantine Period and was probably the work of the Apostle Saint Luke. It was a sacred Icon of the Byzantine Church and was either lost or hidden during the Muslim invasions.

Once the Icon was discovered, work on the church began. Even before the Church was completed, pilgrims from across Greece were pouring in, to catch a glimpse of the icon and worship it. There were many reports of miraculous healings that increased the fame of the Church. Today it is one of the most venerated and respected Icons in the whole of Greece. There are four huge festivals that are celebrated at this shrine, January 30th, the Anniversary of the finding of the icon, March 25th, the Annunciation of the Virgin, July 23rd, The Anniversary of the nun Pelagia and August 15th, the day of the Assumption of Mary.

Above : the miraculous Orthodox Christian Icon of Most Holy Theotokos, placed in the Monastery of the island of Tinos.

Some of the most famous miracles of the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of the aegean island of Tinos : [ source | greeka.com ]

The orange tree

A rich Greek American who was blind asked the Virgin for Her healing promising to offer whatever he saw first of his prayers were answered. He did get his sight back and the first thing he saw was an orange tree. He contributed a silver orange tree that you will see over the right candle counter of the church.

Crippled healed

Dimitrios Xenos from Moldova was left crippled after he froze one cold night. He was sent to the church of the Virgin Mary where he stayed at the temple of Zoodochos Pigi where he remained as an inmate for four months. On Easter day he heard a voice calling out to him in his sleep , asking him to stand up. He not only stood up but also walked much to the surprise of all the people around him.

Faith beyond medicine

Panagiota Nazaou from Falatados had an incurable wound. Her condition worsened so much that the wound developed into gangrene and the doctors were ready to amputate her leg. She turned to the Virgin Mary and was healed. Thereafter she became a nun in the monastery of Kehrovounio.

A child healed

One account says that there was a woman called Mary from Mytilini whose child suffered from a strange and incurable disease. Expensive procedures and immense suffering later, Mary decided to finally ask the Virgin for Her help. It is said that the child immediately vomited and out came to an octopus-shaped flesh. After this, the child was healed forever.

The Fishbone

Captain Sclavounos had a fishbone stuck in his throat for two years that just wouldn’t come off. With time his throat got infected and he suffered greatly. On hearing about the miraculous Icon, he immediately went there praying for relief from his torture when he suddenly had a violent fit of coughing which got the fishbone out.

The elimination of the Plague

Many people believe that the Plague was eliminated right after the Icon was discovered and attribute it to the Icon.

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