Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Sunday, August 12, 2018 - 10:30am to 12:45pm

The Armenian word used for the Assumption, “Verapokhoum,” appears to mean, in modern Armenian, “change again.” However, in classical Armenian, it means “transport up.”

After the Crucifixion, Jesus’ much-loved disciple, the Apostle John, became the guardian and supporter of Mary, the Mother of God. The approval for it (John 19:26-17, cited above) must be taken as evidence that although Jesus was continually busy with His traveling and teachings, He really was concerned with the welfare of His dear mother.

Mary remained in Jerusalem and enjoyed the care and solicitude of all the apostles, but especially of John. Death came to her when she was about 50 years old.

All the apostles were present at the burial except Bartholomew, who was not in the city or was possibly even out of the country. Mary had had a premonition that Bartholomew might be exceedingly distressed for being denied the opportunity of paying his last respects at her funeral. As a consequence, she gave a portrait of herself to the Apostle John to give to Bartholomew.

The portrait was in fact given to Bartholomew. Tradition has it that the Apostle Bartholomew, the first enlightener of the Armenians, took the portrait with him to Armenia, where because of persecutions he was obliged to hide it in a place called Darbnots Kar, in the province of Antsevatsyats. A convent was built on that same site, and the nuns there were to protect the portrait.

Back in Jerusalem, in spite of his having been especially favored with the gift of the portrait, Bartholomew was not satisfied. He insisted on going to the grave, and for the last time to be near the Mother of God. It is that event that gave rise to the greatest of feasts dedicated to the Holy Mother of God, the Tabernacle Feast of the Assumption.

The apostles were gathered in the cemetery, trying to satisfy Bartholomew’s demand. However, Mary was not there! The three days and nights of angelic songs and heavenly melodies had been for her in sleep, and not for her in death.

All churches of Christendom accept the doctrine that the body of the Mother of God was carried up into heaven – the Assumption.

St. John Armenian Church