The Theotokos had now reached an advanced age. Her fervent and unceasing desire was to leave the body and be with her beloved Son and God. The Mother of God did not fear death, nor did she seek to avoid it. She knew that death had already been overcome by her Son and God. At that time she still lived in the house of John the Evangelist on Mount Sion. She often went from there to the Mount of Olives to offer fervent prayers. As she was thus praying on the Mount of Olives that the Lord quickly take her to heaven, there appeared before her the archangel Gabriel and disclosed to the Theotokos the following: “Thus says your Son: The days are approaching when I will take My Mother unto Me”. Thus the Virgin heard those much longed for words which she received with gladness.
Tradition has it that it occurred on a Friday. Thus after three days, on a Sunday, she would depart and be with Christ. On the message of the angel, she uttered the following prayer to God: “I would not have been worthy to receive Thee, O Lord, into my womb, unless Thou Thyself had mercy on me, Thy slave. I kept the treasure entrusted to me and, therefore, I have the boldness to ask Thee, O King of glory, to protect me from the power of Gehenna”. The Theotokos also desired to behold the holy Apostles who were scattered throughout the world preaching the Gospel. When the Virgin knelt and offered her petition and thanksgiving, her prayer was accompanied by a manifestation: the olive trees growing on the Mount of Olives bowed with her as they were animate. When the Theotokos knelt, the trees bent down; when she arose, the trees straightened themselves out again. Thus, even the trees revered and honoured the Mother of God.
After completing her prayer, the Theotokos returned to her home. The Theotokos prepared for her repose. She told the matter to the beloved disciple John, who had taken her into his home as his own mother. She ordered that her bed and room be decorated, and that incense and as many lamps as possible to be lit in it. She then changed her clothes. Simply put, all necessary preparations for her burial were made.
John at once sent for James. John also sent for all their relatives and neighbours, informing them of the imminent repose of the Mother of God. James, too informed all the Christians, both them that were in Jerusalem and in the surrounding towns and villages. Thus, a great multitude of the faithful gathered around the Theotokos. The whole house was filled with weeping and lamentation. The Theotokos, however, asked them not to weep for her, but to rejoice at her repose. These comforting words dried the tears and brought solace to their sorrow.
The Theotokos then made a will concerning her two garments. She desired that they be given to two poor widows who had faithfully served her and received their maintenance from her. With regard to her body, the Mother of God made her will known that it should be buried on the Mount of Olives, not far from Jerusalem, in the garden of Gethsemane. There also were interred her parents, the righteous Joachim and Anna, and her spouse, Joseph. The tombs lay in the Valley of Jehosaphat between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.
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