On Sunday, Patriarch Daniel said that the Mother of God is the living icon of the Church, who transports humans from the passing, earthly life to the eternal, heavenly life. His Beatitude delivered a homily referring to the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos during the Divine Liturgy celebrated at St George Chapel of his patriarchal residence.
The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church explained that the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God is a translation to heaven, which is something different from resurrection or ascension. We do not call her translation a resurrection because she did not show herself on earth with a risen body so that people might see her physically, as Christ has shown Himself. Furthermore, he explained why we use the term translation and that we could not call her Dormition an ascension because she did not ascend into heaven with her own power.
Patriarch Daniel noted the tie between the feasts of the Dormition, the Transfiguration of the Lord and the Beheading of St John the Baptist, explaining their eschatological symbolism.
When reflecting on the Dormition of the Theotokos, the patriarch said Aug. 15, we should think of the end of our earthly life.
His Beatitude also pointed to the importance Marian prayers have since the Theotokos is the closest human being to the All-Holy Trinity.
She is an intercessor for us in our entire life and she mediates for humans especially when they experience difficult situations. The Mother of God is entreated in all the prayers of the Church, he added.
In the Orthodox worship, we venerate the Mother of God immediately after the adoration of the Most Holy Trinity, the patriarch noted, because One of the Trinity, Christ the Lord, was born from her.
Referring to the fact that the Dormition of the Theotokos was declared a national holiday in Romania, Patriarch Daniel thanked the Mother of God for the help given to the Romanian people over the ages. The Mother of God loves our country because it is full of churches and monasteries, he exclaimed.
Pointing to the role the Theotokos has in our lives, His Beatitude said that Virgin Mary is the Protectress of families since she is the mother who bore and raised Baby Jesus and knows the needs of all families.
Because she felt the greatest pain and suffering when she observed her son Jesus Christ on the cross, she can be named the Mother of suffering. She understands and feels any suffering or pain a family has, any suffering parents experience when raising and taking care of their children, he said. However, she also feels the joy of those who receive the help of God.
The Theotokos is a general Protectress of virgins, young people, monastics, hierarchs, widows, poor people, and orphans. As the Church calles her, she is “the Joy of all who sorrow”.
Patriarch Daniel urged everyone to pray to the Mother of God, reading her akathists and paracleses, which bring much peace and joy.
The Patriarch ended his sermon by entreating God to grant us strong faith in order to follow Virgin Mary’s example of obedience, humility, and joy in serving God.