The Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Our icon of the Assumption depicts the radiant form of Our Lady ascending from her fragrant flower-filled tomb. The heavenly light surrounding her is reminiscent of the image of our Lady of Guadalupe and also of icons of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration and Christ Resurrected, where the Savior is also surrounded by a radiant halo. The Blessed Virgin is upborne by a shining Seraph (depicted as a cherubic face surrounded by six wings, at her feet) and a company of adoring angels to the shining heavens above.
According to the Tradition received from the Fathers of the Church, at the end of Her earthly sojourn the Blessed Virgin Mary reposed while in the company of the holy Apostles, when Christ then received her all-pure soul and took it into the company of the angels. Saint Thomas, as in the Gospel narrative of the Lord's resurrection, was again delayed in arriving to witness the passing of Our Lady. As he arrived three days after her Dormition he beheld a vision of the Mother of God ascending in clouds of glory.
In grief at her passing, he asked to behold and venerate her holy relics. Accompanying the apostles to the tomb, he and they were astounded to find that her tomb was filled with a heavenly fragrance, but that only her burial clothes remained. In the words of St. Joseph the Hymnographer (+886), "Thy tomb declared that thou wast buried, and now it openly shows that thou hast been bodily borne to the heavens."
Many of the saints of the Church have spoken of the wonder of the Assumption. St. Modestos of Jerusalem (+634) states, "As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God Who is the Giver of Life and immortality, she has been endowed with life by Him. She has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body, together with Him who has raised her up from the tomb, and has taken her up to Himself in a way known only to Him."
St. John of Damascus (+750) eloquently writes in his hymns:
"Even though, according to nature, thy most holy and happy soul is separated from thy most blessed and stainless body, and the body as usual is delivered to the tomb, it will not remain in the power of death and is not subject to decay.
"For just as her virginity remained inviolate while giving birth, when she departed from life her body was preserved from destruction and only taken to a better and divine tabernacle which is not subject to any death."
"It was fitting that she, who in childbirth had kept her virginity undamaged, should also, after death, keep her body free from all corruption. For Christ translates her, as His own Mother, into a dwelling far better and more divine, the Holy of Holies."