I've heard (on Youtube, so I'm checking
) that one of the two things a Roman Pope has ever claimed that has been officially infallible was the bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary. There is a book available at the moment that claims the Roman Catholic Church has made efforts to suppress evidence that this doctrine is incorrect, and I expect there will be Christians who believe that. What I want to know is the Orthodox position. Have the Eastern Fathers had anything to say about it?
From the Pamphlet of Minos Charitos: The Repose of our Most Holy and glorious Lady
To be sure, She was translated BODILY into the hands of her divine Son. For the Orthodox Church it is a historical reality and an unquestionable happening. To refer to it, however using the technical term "DOGMA" is not in keeping with the Orthodox practise of dogmatizing only regards the Trinitarian, Christological, and Sacramental teachings wich bear man's Redemption.
It has been said by some that this teaching is only a pious tradition and a pious belief within orthodoxy. Such expressions can prove to be most precarious and misleading. Any Tradition or belief that can be regarded as "pious" is necessarily true annd authoritative. The Holy Fathers of the church always speak of Orthodox Doctrine as "pious", while condemming heretical teachings as "impious".
Such expressions borrowed from roman and anglican language should most discreetly be avoided by Orthodox in ascertaining the correctness of Doctrine. We need not reject the roman Dogma of the Assumption by denying the reality of the BODILY TRANSLATION of the Allholy Virgin. There are many Truths held by the Orthodox Church wich have never been crystallized into hard Dogmas.
The Holy Orthodox Church of Christ being established on the prophetic, apostolic and historical tradition as also upon the teachings of the divinly-inspired holy Fathers, has indeed accepted the doctrine concerning the Theotokos Mary's Translation to heaven and therefore chants throughout the ages praises to Her Allholy Name:
"The sleepless interceding Theotoke,
and immutable hope in protection,
THE GRAVE and DEATH did hold Her
for being the Mother of Life, She was translated unto life!,
by Him that dwelled in the Evervirgin womb!
and the Pillar of orthodoxy - St. Mark of Ephesus:
"Be thou magnified in songs of praise, O most Pure One,
be thou blessed worthily, O most blessed One,
for thou wert dead and art risen again,
as the Lord's Mother,
Fo the assurance of the last resurrection whereunto we hope!"
"The Mother of Life welcomes death,
and ahving been put in the grave , She arise for ever
gloriously on the third day,
reigning together with her Son ,
entreating for the forgiveness of our faults."
St. Nicodemus Agiorites also says:
It is to be noted here, that our Lady the Theotokos and Evervirgin Mary after her three-day sleep in the grave, not only was She translated, but also RESURRECTED from the grave and was ascended to heaven and Her allilluminating Soul was again united with Her Bodym and thus was resurrected from the grave, and thereafter She was straightway ascended with Her Body to heaven, rather above the heavens.
From the Book: The life of the Virgin Mary...
Under the presidency of the great Patriarch Dositheos, a statement was made at the Pan Orthodox Council of Jerusalem in 1672 that:
"though the immaculate Body of Mary was locked in a Tomb, yet, like Christ, She was assumed and translated into the Heavens on the third day. ( like a dogmatic expression by a panorthodox synod long befor the dogmatizing of the rcc.)
Saint Gregory Palamas writes:The Ark of Holiness was resurrected, as was Christ Who had risen from the dead on the third day. Her burial clothes afforded the Apostels a demonstration of Her resurrection from the dead. As in the case of their Master, Her burial clothes, too alone remained in the Tomb for their scruiny. (Her burial shroud exists still in georgia, there is a face miraculous imprinted and Her allholy Sash in Vatopaidi on Moun Athos- feastday on the 31 of August)
There are very good books in english on this topic:
The Assumption of our Most Holy Lady,..translated from the Menology of St. Dimitry of Rostov.
The Repose of our Most Holy Lady,....by Minos Charitos
On the Dormition of Mary, Early Patristic Homilies, by Brian E. Daley
The life of the Virgin Mary the Theotokos by the Holy Apostels convent ( very profound)
The Akathistos of the Dormition
The great Synaxarion ( 15 August)