Mary’s Dormition: Worth Losing Sleep Over?

Uncommon God, Common Good | 8/15/2019 | Staff
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The last entry engaged the subject of Mary’s Assumption or exaltation to heaven at the end of her life. August 15th marks this event in the church calendar. Mary’s dormition, derived from the Latin word dormire, which means “to sleep”), focuses on her death. The Orthodox honor the end of Mary’s life on August 15th. The date also marks for the Eastern Church Mary’s subsequent resurrection and assumption. One source provides a good summary of Mary’s dormition and how the Eastern and Western church place emphasis on different aspects of Mary’s life’s culmination:

Catholics of the Latin tradition often assume that Mary’s final end has been sufficiently addressed by the dogma of the Assumption, that is, her translation, body and soul, into heaven as defined by Pius XII in 1950. But as glorious as the mystery of her Assumption is, it represents only one dimension of the mystery of the end of Mary’s life. There is also her death and subsequent resurrection. On this subject, Pope Pius remained silent, choosing not to address the subject of Mary’s mortality. The Byzantine tradition, however, as part of the universal and fully Catholic patrimony of the Church, is not silent on this topic. It guards a rich treasury of teaching, iconography, and liturgy concerning the end of Mary’s life.

Tradition - Byzantine - East - Assumption - Stage

According to the tradition of the Byzantine East, the Assumption was the final stage of Mary’s transition into the glory of heaven. This Analepsis or “translation” of Mary to eternal life was preceded by what was called the Koimesis or “sleep” or Mary in death. These three events—her death, her resurrection, and her assumption into heaven—complete the mosaic of the holy end of Mary’s life. But what are the literary and historical bases for such a belief within the traditions of the Church?

The interested observer may...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Uncommon God, Common Good
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