“O Marvelous Wonder!
The Source of Life is laid in the grave,
and the tomb becomes a ladder into heaven!
Rejoice, O Gethsemane, the holy abode of the Theotokos!
Come, O faithful,with Gabriel leading, let us cry:
Rejoice, O full of grace,the Lord is with you,
granting the world through you great mercy!”
(Stikhira on “Lord, I have cried”)
At the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene, situated in the “holy abode of the Theotokos” – Gethsemane, the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God was celebrated in great solemnity.
Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), the Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, headed the evening service together with Hieromonk Feodor (Kirike), Priest Roman Gultiaev and Deacon Vyacheslav Batalsky. As is traditional, the Litiya was served on the porch before the church under the blue skies of Jerusalem. At the Polyeleios, the troparia of the “Lamentations before the tomb of the Theotokos” were sung by the choir as the clergy censed the Epitaphios (shroud) of the Blessed Virgin.
On Friday morning after the Midnight service, the Head of the Mission was greeted at the entrance of the church by the above named priests joined by Hieromonk Misail (Minin). The Divine Liturgy was served with great spiritual joy as pilgrims received Holy Communion from three chalices. At the conclusion of Liturgy, Fr. Roman preached a sermon on the words of the Exapostilarion “…and Thou, my Son and God, receive my spirit!”
After the meal, the sisters headed by the abbess of the Convent, Mother Elisabeth (Smelic), in procession with the clergy, went to the rock at the far end of the monastery property where, by tradition, the Mother of God appeared to the apostles and threw down her sash promising to be our intercessor before her Divine Son.