The Virgin Mary: A Celebration of Our Faith: Session 4: The Dormition of the Virgin Mary—Senior G


Theme Of Lesson: The Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Virgin Mary
Sub-Theme: Our Salvation and Christ's Perfect Love

Objectives:

  • Describe the events of the Dormition of the Theotokos as a joyful, not sorrowful experience.
  • Give examples of how “the limits of nature are overcome” in the Virgin Mary’s Dormition.
  • Recognize Christ's perfect love demonstrated in this event as the promise of our salvation.
  • Acknowledge virginity as a gift, contrary to contemporary views.

Resources:

  • Bible
  • Bible aids
  • 1 John 4: 18 – “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear….”


Liturgy, Feasts, Hymns

Troparion of the Dormition (Tone 1)
In giving birth you preserved your virginity!
In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos!
You were translated to life, O Mother of Life, and by prayers you deliver our souls from death!

Kontakion of the Dormition (Tone 2)
Neither the tomb, nor death, could hold the Theotokos,
who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions.
For being the Mother of Life, she was translated to life
by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb!

Hymn to the Theotokos
The limits of nature are overcome in you, O Pure Virgin:
for birthgiving remains virginal and life is united to death.
A virgin after childbearing and alive after death!
You ever save your inheritance, O Theotokos!


Activities

  • Brainstorm the atmosphere at a funeral they may have recently attended. Were the events sorrowful or joyful? Relate their experiences at funerals to the paradox of the Dormition as a joyful event. How does the iconography of the Dormition of the Mother of God communicate Christian attitude towards death?


Icons

  • A copy of the icon will be included, as well as the section from The Icon Book.

Teacher’s Notes & Discussion-Starter Questions:

  • “Rejoice ‘bright dawn of the mystical day’ for there is no sadness, only light and joy on this day.”
  • “Neither the tomb nor death could hold the Mother of God who is ever watchful in prayer, in whose intercession lies unfailing hope. For as the Mother of Life, she has been transported to life….”
  • “In August, the Church celebrates the end of Mary’s earthly life, her death, known as her Falling Asleep or Dormition, a word in which dream, blessedness, peace, calm and joy are all united…. The Church looks… at the essence and meaning of her death, commemorating the death of the one whose Son, according to our faith, conquered death, was raised from the dead, and promised us final resurrection and the victory of undying life.”
  • A major discussion topic can be on the "gift of virginity." What is the significance that the Theotokos remained "ever-virgin"?
  • How is this feast day a promise to all of us who joyfully await the day when the Lord will take our souls into the Kingdom?
  • Compare the icon of this feast to the icon of the Hodēgḗtria (used in Session Five). Note how the positions of Christ and the Theotokos are reversed and how she is the "small babe in His hands. How does this fact communicate the joy of this feast day?