This is the last post for the 15 Days for Panagia series! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series; did you enjoy it? was it too long? not long enough? Are there other topics you’d like to cover? This was the first time I’ve done this on Adventures of an Orthodox Mom and am curious to hear your opinions. Please leave comments and let me know!
Again, the story comes from the book, The Life of the Virgin Mary, The Theotokos.
While Thomas was enlightening the lands of India by preaching the Gospel, the honored Dormition of the Mother of God took place. All the Apostles had been caught up from various lands on the clouds of heaven, and were transported to Gethsemane, to the bier of the all-blessed Virgin. By God’s special arrangement, Thomas was not brought there. This was permitted by the will of God, that the faithful might be assured that the Mother of God was bodily assumed into Heaven. For just as they were greatly assured of the Resurrection of Christ, through Thomas, so did they learn of the bodily assumption into heaven of the all-pure Virgin Mary, through the delay of Thomas.
On the third day after the burial, Thomas was suddenly caught up in a cloud in India and transported to a place in the air above the tomb of the Virgin. From that vantage point, he beheld the translation of her body into the heavens and cried out to her, “Whither goest thou, O all-holy one?” And removing her cincture (her belt), she gave it to Thomas, saying, “Recieve this, my friend.” And then she was gone.
Thereafter, he descended to find the other disciples keeping watch over the sepulchre of the Theotokos. He sat down beside them, with the cincture in his hand, greatly saddened that he had not been there when she reposed, as had been the other Apostles. He began to lament asking why he had not been present with them. “Am I not an Apostle of Christ? Can it be that God is not pleased with my preaching? How, then is it that ye were counted worthy to behold the repose of His Mother and I was not?” He then asked them to open the tomb so he may venerate her remains and bid her farewell.
Taking pity on him, they did as he requested. When they rolled away the stone, they were aghast when they discovered her remains had vanished. All that remained were the burial clothes, which emitted a wonderful fragrance. They stood in amazement and then each of them kissed the burial clothes and prayed to the Lord that He would reveal to them where her body had been transported and so He did.