Dormition Of Mother Of God

Sermon preached on Sunday, 28th August, 1986 the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

The Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God – which combines two events: Her death and Her resurrection in the body on the third day – has been for centuries, indeed, from the very beginning of the existence of the Russian Orthodox Church its Feast, its joy, its glory.

The Mother of God has not been a passive instrument of the Incarnation; without Her 'Amen' the Incarnation would have been as impossible as without the will of God. She is the response of the whole creation to God's love and to God's gift of self not only to mankind but to the whole Cosmos He has created. And in that we rejoice, because Her word is our word. Her word was perfect, as Her trust was, Her faith was, Her gift of self was. Ours is imperfect, and yet our voices resound within Hers, weakly, hesitantly at times, but with faith and also with love.

She is the glory of all Creation; the Mother of God: one might have expected that death could not touch Her; but if death and a death so cruel could touch Her Divine Son, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, the Son of God and the son of man – of course She had to pay the tribute of all the earth to the sin of man and also die. But according to Orthodox Tradition, death could not keep Her prisoner; She had given Herself unreservedly and perfectly to God, and it was to God, no longer to the earth that She belonged. And on the third day, when the Apostles came and reopened Her grave for one of them to be able to venerate Her, who had not been present at Her burial, it was found empty: She had risen because the bonds of death could not hold Her, and corruption could not touch a body which had been the body of the Incarnation. What a wonderful joy to think that now, side by side with the risen and ascended Christ, one of us, of mankind, a woman of flesh and blood is enthroned and in Her we can see the glory which will, we believe, be ours if we are faithful to God as She was.

So, let us rejoice, and not only here where our church has been dedicated since the early eighteenth century to the Assumption of the Mother of God, to Her Dormition, but with the whole Russian Church, and with all those to belong to it and are scattered over the face of the world, one with the Mother Church, one with the Mother of God, worshipping the Lord with all there is in us and seeing in Her the image of the whole Creation in adoration before the Living God. Amen.

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