The Passing of Mary
FIRST LATIN FORM.
CONCERNING THE PASSING (1) OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.
In that time before the Lord came to His passion, and among many words which the mother asked of the Son,
she began to ask Him about her own departure, addressing Him as follows:--O most dear Son, I pray Thy holiness,
that when my soul goes out of my body, Thou let me know on the third day before; and do Thou, beloved Son,
with Thy angels, receive it.
2) Then He received the prayer of His beloved mother, and said to her: O palace and
temple of the living God, O blessed mother,
(3) O queen of all saints, and blessed above all women, before thou carriedst me in thy womb, I always
guarded thee, and caused thee to be fed daily with my angelic food,
(4) as thou knowest: how can I desert thee, after thou hast carried me, and nourished me,
and brought me down in flight into Egypt, and endured many hardships for me?
Know, then, that my angels have always guarded thee, and will guard thee even
until thy departure. But after I undergo suffering for men, as it is written,
and rise again on the third day, and after forty days ascend into heaven, when
thou shall see me coming to thee
(5) with angels and archangels, with saints and with virgins, and with my disciples, know for certain that
thy soul will be separated from the body, and I shall carry it into heaven, where it shall
never at all have tribulation or anguish. Then she joyed and gloried, and
kissed the knees of her Son, and blessed the Creator of heaven and earth, who
gave her such a gift through Jesus Christ her Son.
In the second year, therefore, after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most blessed Virgin Mary
continued always in prayer day and night.
And on the third day before she passed away, an angel of the Lord came to her, and saluted her, saying:
Hail, Mary, full of grace! the Lord be with thee. And she answered, saying: Thanks to God.
Again he said to her: Receive this palm which the Lord promised to thee. And she, giving thanks to God,
with great joy received from the hand of the angel the palm sent to her. The angel of the Lord said to her:
Thy assumption will be after three days. And she answered: Thanks to God.
(6)Then she called Joseph of the city of Arimathaea, and the other
(7) disciples of the Lord; and when they, both relations and acquaintances, were assembled, she announced her
departure to all standing there. Then the blessed Mary washed
(8) herself, and dressed herself like a queen, and waited the advent of her Son,
as He had promised to her. And she asked all her relations to keep beside
(9) her, and give her comfort. And she had along with her three virgins, Sepphora, Abigea, and Zael;
but the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ had been already dispersed throughout the whole world to preach
to the people of God. Then at the third hour
(10) there were great thunders, and rains, and lightnings, and tribulation, and an earthquake,
(11) while queen Mary was standing in her chamber. John the evangelist and apostle was suddenly brought from Ephesus,
and entered the chamber of the blessed Mary, and saluted her, and said to her: Hail, Mary, full of grace! the Lord be
with thee. And she answered: Thanks to God. And raising herself up, she kissed Saint John. And the blessed Mary said
to him: O my dearest son, why hast thou left me at such a time, and hast not paid heed to the commands of thy
Master, to take care of me, as He commanded thee while He was hanging on the
cross? And he asked pardon with bended knee. Then the blessed Mary gave him
her benediction, and again kissed him. And when she meant to ask him whence he
came, and for what reason he had come to Jerusalem, behold, all the disciples
of the Lord, except Thomas who is called Didymus, were brought by a cloud to
the door of the chamber of the blessed Mary. They stood and went in, and
saluted the queen with the following words, and adored her: Hail, Mary, full
of grace! the Lord be with thee. And she eagerly rose quickly, and bowed
herself, and kissed them, and gave thanks to God. These are the names of the
disciples of the Lord who were brought thither in the cloud: John the
evangelist and James his brother, Peter and Paul, Andrew, Philip, Luke,
Barnabas, Bartholomew and Matthew, Matthias who is called Justus,
(1) Simon the Chananaean, Judas and his brother, Nicodemus and Maximianus, and many others who cannot be numbered.
Then the blessed Mary said to her brethren: What is this, that you have all come to Jerusalem?
Peter, answering, said to her: We had need to ask this of thee, and dost thou question us?
Certainly, as I think, none of us knows why we have come here to-day with such rapidity.
I was at Antioch, and now I am here. All declared plainly the place where they had been that day.
And they all wondered that they were there when they heard these things. The blessed Mary said to them:
I asked my Son, before He endured the passion, that He and you should be at my death; and He granted me this gift.
Whence you may know that my departure will be to-morrow. (2) Watch and pray with me, that when the Lord comes to
receive my soul, He may find you watching. Then all promised that they would watch. And they watched and
prayed the whole night, with psalms and chants, with great illuminations.
And when the Lord's day came, at the third hour, just as the Holy Spirit
descended upon the apostles in a cloud, (3) so Christ descended with a
multitude of angels, and received the soul of His beloved mother. For there
was such splendour and perfume of sweetness, and angels singing the songs of
songs, where the Lord says, As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the
daughters, (4) that all who were there present fell on their faces, as the
apostles fell when Christ transfigured Himself before them on Mount Thabor,
and for a whole hour and a half no one was able to rise. But when the light
went away, and at the same time with the light itself, the soul of the blessed
virgin Mary was taken up into heaven with psalms, and hymns, and songs of
songs. And as the cloud went up the whole earth shook, and in one moment all
the inhabitants of Jerusalem openly saw the departure of St. Mary.
And that same hour Satan entered into them, and they began to consider what they were to do with her body.
And they took up weapons, that they might burn her body and kill the apostles,
because from her had gone forth the dispersions of Israel, on account of their sins and
the gathering together of the Gentiles. But they were struck with blindness, striking their
heads against the walls, and striking each other. (5) Then the apostles, alarmed by so much
brightness, arose, and with psalms carried the holy body down from Mount Zion to the valley
of Jehoshaphat. But as they were going in the middle of the road, behold, a certain Jew, (
6) Reuben by name, wishing to throw to the ground the holy bier with the body of the blessed Mary.
But his hands dried up, even to the elbow; whether he would or not, he went down even to the Valley
of Jehoshaphat, weeping and lamenting because his hands were raised to the bier, and he was not able
to draw back his hands to himself. And he began to ask the apostles (7) that by their prayer he might
be saved and made a Christian. Then the apostles, bending their knees, asked the Lord to let him loose.
And he, being healed that same hour, giving thanks to God and kissing the feet of the queen of all the
saints and apostles, was baptized in that same place, and began to preach the name of our God Jesus Christ.
Then the apostles with great honour laid the body in the tomb, weeping and singing through exceeding love
and sweetness. And suddenly there shone round them a light from heaven, and they fell to the ground, and
the holy body was taken up by angels into heaven.
Then the most blessed Thomas was suddenly brought to the Mount of Olivet, and saw the most blessed body going
up to heaven, and began to cry out and say: O holy mother, blessed mother, spotless mother, if I have now found
grace because I see thee, make thy servant joyful through thy compassion, because thou art going to heaven.
Then the girdle with which the apostles had encircled the most holy body was thrown down from heaven to the blessed
Thomas. And taking it, and kissing it, and giving thanks to God, he came again into the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
He found all the apostles and another great crowd there beating their breasts on account of the brightness which
they had seen. And seeing and kissing each other, the blessed Peter said to him: Truly thou hast always been obdurate
and unbelieving, because for thine unbelief it was not pleasing to God that thou shouldst be along with us at the
burial of the mother of the Saviour. And he, beating his breast, said: I know and firmly believe that I have always
been a bad and an unbelieving man; therefore I ask pardon of all of you for my obduracy and unbelief. And they all
prayed for him. Then the blessed Thomas said: Where have you laid her body? And they pointed out the sepulchre with their
finger. And he said: The body which is called most holy is not there. Then the blessed Peter said to him:
Already on another occasion thou wouldst not believe the resurrection of our Master and Lord at our word, unless thou
went to touch Him with thy fingers, and see Him; how wilt thou believe us that the holy body is here?
Still he persists saying: It is not here. Then, as it were in a rage, they went to the sepulchre, which was a new one
hollowed out in the rock, and took up the stone; but they did not find the body, not knowing what to say,
because they had been convicted by the words of Thomas. Then the blessed Thomas told them how he was singing mass
in India--he still had on his sacerdotal robes. He, not knowing the word of God, had been brought to the Mount of Olivet,
and saw the most holy body of the blessed Mary going up into heaven, and prayed her to give him a blessing.
She heard his prayer, and threw him her girdle which she had about her. And the apostles seeing the belt which
they had put about her, glorifying God, all asked pardon of the blessed Thomas, on account of the benediction which
the blessed Mary had given him, and because he had seen the most holy body going up into heaven.
And the blessed Thomas gave them his benediction, and said: Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren
to dwell together in unity! (1)
And the same cloud by which they had been brought carried them back each to his own place, just like Philip when
he baptized the eunuch, as is read in the Acts of the Apostles; (2) and as Habakkuk the prophet carried food to
Daniel, who was in the lions' den, and quickly returned to Judaea. (3) And so also the apostles quickly returned to
where they had at first been, to preach to the people of God. Nor is it to be wondered at that He should do such things,
who went into the virgin and came out of her though her womb was
closed; who, though the gates were shut, went in to His disciples;
(4) who made the deaf to hear, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the
blind, (5) and did many other wonderful things. To believe this is no doubtful
I am Joseph who laid the Lord's body in my sepulchre, and saw Him rising again; and who, before the ascension and after
the ascension of the Lord, always kept his most sacred temple the blessed ever-virgin Mary, and who have kept in writing
and in my breast the things which came forth from the mouth of God, and how the things mentioned above were done by the
judgment of God. And I have made known to all, Jews and Gentiles, those things which I saw with my eyes, and heard with
my ears; and as long as I live I shall not cease to declare them. And her, whose assumption is at this day venerated and
worshipped throughout the whole world, let us assiduously entreat that she be
mindful of us in the presence of her most pious Son in heaven, to whom is
praise and glory through endless ages of ages. Amen. (6)
SECOND LATIN FORM.
HERE BEGINNETH THE PASSING OF THE BLESSED MARY.
1. (1) THEREFORE, when the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was hanging on the tree fastened by the nails of the cross for
the life of the whole world, He saw about the cross His mother standing, and John the evangelist, whom He
peculiarly loved above the rest of the apostles, because he alone of them was
a virgin in the body. He gave him, therefore, the charge of holy Mary, saying
to him: Behold thy mother! and saying, to her: Behold thy son! (2) From that
hour the! holy mother of God remained specially in the care of John, as long
as she had her habitation in this life. And when the apostles had divided the
world by lot for preaching, she settled in the house of his parents near Mount
2. In the second year, therefore, after Christ had vanquished death, and ascended up into heaven, on a certain day,
Mary, burning with a longing for Christ, began to weep alone, within the shelter of her abode. And, behold, an angel,
shining in a dress of great light, stood before her and gave utterance to (3) the words of salutation saying: Hail!
thou blessed by the Lord, receive the salutation of Him who commanded safety to Jacob by His prophets. Behold, said
He a palm branch--I have brought it to thee from the paradise of the Lord--which thou wilt cause to be carried before
thy bier, when on the third day thou shalt be taken up from the body. For, lo, thy Son awaits thee with thrones and angels,
and all the powers of heaven. Then Mary said to the angel: I beg that all the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ he
assembled to me. To whom the angel said: Behold, to-day, by the power of my Lord Jesus Christ, all the apostles
will come to thee. And Mary says to him: I ask that thou send upon me thy blessing, that no power of the lower world
may withstand me in that hour in which my soul shall go out of my body, and that I may not see the prince of darkness.
And the angel said: No power indeed of the lower world will hurt thee; and thy Lord God, whose servant and messenger I am,
hath given thee eternal blessing; but do not think that the privilege of not seeing the prince of darkness is to be given
thee by me, but by Him whom thou hast carried in thy womb; for to Him belongeth power over all for ever and ever. Thus
saying, the angel departed with great splendour. And that palm shone with exceeding great light. Then Mary, undressing
herself, put on better garments. And, taking the palm which she had received from the hands of the angel, she went out
to the mount of Olivet, and began to pray, and say: I had not been worthy, O Lord, to bear Thee, unless Thou hadst had
compassion on me; but nevertheless I have kept the treasure which Thou entrustedst to me. Therefore I ask of Thee,
O King of glory, that the power of Gehenna hurt me not. For if the heavens and the angels daily tremble before Thee,
how much more man who is made from the ground, who possesses no good thing, except as much as he has received from
Thy benignant bounty! Thou art, O Lord, God always blessed for ever. And thus saying, she went back to her dwelling.
3. And, behold, suddenly, while St. John was preaching in Ephesus, on the Lord's day, at the third hour of the day,
there was a great earthquake, and a cloud raised him and took him up from the eyes of all, and brought him before
the door of the house where Mary was. And knocking at the door, he immediately went in. And when Mary saw him,
she exulted in joy, and said: I beg of thee, my son John, be mindful of the words of my Lord Jesus Christ, in which He
entrusted me to thee. For, behold, on the third day, when I am to depart from the body,
(4) I have heard the plans of the Jews, saying, Let us wait for the day when she who bore that seducer shall die,
and let us burn her booty with fire. She therefore called St. John, anti led him into the secret chamber of
the house, and showed him the robe of her burial, and that palm of light which she had received from the
angel, instructing him that he should cause it to be carried before her couch when she was going to her tomb.
4. And St. John said to her: How shall I alone perform thy funeral rites, unless my brethren and fellow-apostles
of my Lord Jesus Christ come to pay honour to thy body? And, behold, on a sudden, by the command of God, all the
apostles were snatched up, raised on a cloud, from the places in which they were preaching the word of God, and set
down before the door of the house in which Mary dwelt. And, saluting each other, they wondered, saying: What is the
cause for which the Lord hath assembled us here? (1)'
5. Then all the apostles, rejoicing (2) with one mind, finished their prayer. And when they had said the Amen, behold,
on a sudden, there came the blessed John, and told them all these things. The apostles then, having entered the house,
found Mary, and saluted her, saying: Blessed art thou by the Lord, who hath made heaven and earth. And she said to them:
Peace be with you, most beloved brethren! How have you come hither? And they recounted to her how they had come, each one
raised on a cloud by the Spirit of God, and set down in the same place. And she said to them: God hath not deprived me of
the sight of you. Behold, I shall go the way of all the earth, and I doubt not that the Lord hath now conducted you hither
to bring me consolation for the anguish which is just coming upon me. Now therefore I implore you, that without intermission
you all with one mind watch, even till that hour in which the Lord will come, and I shall depart from the body.
6. And when they had sat down in a circle consoling her, when they had spent three days in the praises of God, behold, on
the third day, about the third hour of the day, a deep sleep seized upon all who were in that house, and no one was at all
able to keep awake but the apostles alone, and only the three virgins who were there. And, behold, suddenly the
Lord Jesus Christ came with a great multitude of angels; and a great brightness came down upon that place, and the angels
were singing a hymn, and praising God together. Then the Saviour spoke, saying: Come, most precious pearl, within the
receptacle of life eternal.
7. Then Mary prostrated herself on the pavement, adoring God, and said: Blessed be the name of Thy glory, O Lord my God,
who hast deigned to choose me Thine handmaid, and to entrust to me Thy hidden mystery. Be mindful of me, therefore,
O King of glory, for Thou knowest that I have loved Thee with all my heart, and kept the treasure committed to me.
Therefore receive me, Thy servant, and free me from the power of darkness, that no onset of Satan may oppose me, and that
I may not see filthy spirits standing in my way. And the Saviour answered her: When I, sent by my Father for the salvation
of the world, was hanging on the cross, the prince of darkness came to me; but when he was able to find in me no trace
of his work, (3) he went off vanquished and trodden under foot. But when thou shall see him, thou shall see him indeed
by the law of the human race, in accordance with which thou hast come to the end of thy life; but he cannot hurt thee,
because I am with thee to help thee. Go in security, because the heavenly host is waiting for thee to lead thee in to
the joys of paradise. And when the Lord had thus spoken, Mary, rising from the pavement, reclined upon her couch, and
giving thanks to God, gave up the ghost. And the apostles saw that her soul was of such whiteness, that no tongue of
mortals can worthily utter it; for it surpassed all the whiteness of snow, and of every metal, and of gleaming silver,
by the great brightness of its light.
8. Then the Saviour spoke, saying: Rise, Peter, and take the body of Mary, and send it to the right hand side of the
city towards the east, and thou wilt find there a new tomb, in which you will lay her, and wait until I come to you.
And thus saying, the Lord delivered the soul of St. Mary to Michael, who was the ruler of paradise, and the prince of
the nation of the Jews; (4) and Gabriel went with them. And immediately the Saviour was received up into heaven along
with the angels.
9. And the three virgins, who were in the same place, and were watching, took up the body of the blessed Mary, that they
might wash it after the manner of funeral rites. And when they had taken off her clothes, that sacred body shone with so
much brightness, that it could be touched indeed for preparation for burial, but the form of it could not be seen for
the excessive flashing light: except that the splendour of the Lord appeared great, and nothing was perceived, the body,
when it was washed, was perfectly clean, and stained by no moisture of filth. (5) And when they had put the dead-clothes
on her, that light was gradually obscured. And the body of the blessed Mary was like lily flowers; and an odour of great
sweetness came forth from it, so that no sweetness could be found like it.
10. Then, accordingly, the apostles laid the holy body on the bier, and said to each other: Who is to carry this palm
before her bier? Then John said to Peter: Thou, who hast precedence of us in the apostleship, shouldst carry this palm
before her couch. And Peter answered him: Thou wast the only virgin among us chosen by the Lord, and thou didst find so
great favour that thou didst recline upon His breast. (1) And He, when for our salvation He was hanging upon the stem of
the cross, entrusted her to thee with His own mouth. Thou therefore oughtest to carry this palm, and let us take up that
body to carry it even to the place of sepulture. (2) After this, Peter, raising it, and saying, Take the body, began to
sing and say: Israel hath gone forth out of Egypt. Alleluiah. And the other apostles along with him carried the booty of
the blessed Mary, and John bore the palm of light before the bier. And the other apostles sang with a most sweet voice.
11. And, behold, a new miracle. There appeared above the bier a cloud exceeding great, like the great circle which is wont
to appear beside the splendour of the moon; and there was in the clouds an army of angels sending forth a sweet song,
(3) and from the sound of the great sweetness the earth resounded. Then the people, baring gone forth from the city, about
fifteen thousand, wondered, saying; What is that sound of so great sweetness? Then there stood up one who said to them:
Mary has departed from the body, and the disciples of Jesus are singing (4) praises around her. And looking, they saw the
couch crowned with great glory, and the apostles singing with a loud voice. And, behold, one of them, who was chief of the
priests of the Jews in his rank, filled with fury and rage, said to the rest: Behold, the tabernacle of him who disturbed
us and all our race, what glory has it received? And going up, he wished to overturn the bier, and throw the body down to
the ground. And immediately his hands dried up from his elbows, and stuck to the couch. And when the apostles raised the
bier, part of him hung, and part of him adhered to the couch; and he was vehemently tormented with pain, while the apostles
were walking and singing. And the angels who were in the clouds smote the people with blindness.
12. Then that chief cried out, saying: I implore thee, Saint Peter, do not despise me, I beseech thee, in so great an
extremity, because I am exceedingly
tortured by great torments. Bear in mind that when, in the praetorium, the
maid that kept the door (5) recognised thee, and told the others to revile
thee, then I spoke good words in thy behalf. Then Peter answering, said: It is
not for me to give other to thee; but if thou believest with thy whole heart
on the Lord Jesus Christ, whom she carried in her womb, and remained a virgin
after the birth, the compassion of the Lord, which with profuse benignity
saves (6) the unworthy, will give thee salvation. (7)
To this he replied: Do we not believe? But what shall we do? The enemy of the human race has blinded our hearts,
and confusion has covered our face, lest we should confess the great things of God, especially when we ourselves
uttered maledictions against Christ, shouting: His blood be upon us, and upon our children. (8) Then Peter said:
Behold, this malediction will hurt him who has remained unfaithful to Him; but to those who turn themselves to God
mercy is not denied. And he said: I believe all that thou sayest to me; only I implore, have mercy upon me, lest I die.
13. Then Peter made the couch stand still, and said to him: If thou believest with all thy heart upon the
Lord Jesus Christ, thy hands will be released from the bier. And when he had said this (9) his hands were immediately
released from the bier, and he began to stand on his feet; but his arms were dried up, and the torture did not go away
from him. Then Peter said to him: Go up to the body, and kiss the couch, and say: I believe in God, and in the
Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom she bore, and I believe all
whatsoever Peter the apostle of God has said to me. And going up, he kissed
the couch, and immediately all pain went away from him, and his hands were
healed. Then he began greatly to bless God, and from the books of Moses to
render testimony to the praises of Christ, so that even the apostles
themselves wondered, and wept for joy, praising the name of the Lord.
14. And Peter said to him: Take this palm from the hand of our brother
John, and going into the city thou wilt find much people blinded, and declare
to them the great things of God; and whosoever shall believe in the Lord Jesus
Christ, thou shalt put this palm upon their eyes, and they shall see; but
those who will not believe shall remain blind. And when he had done so, he
found much people blinded, lamenting thus: Woe unto us, because we have been
the Sodomites struck with blindness. (1) Nothing now is left to us but to perish.
But when they heard the words of the chief who had been cured speaking, they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ;
and when he put the palm over their eyes, they recovered sight. Five of them remaining in hardness of heart died.
And the chief of the priests going forth, carried back the palm to the apostles, reporting all things whatsoever
had been done.
15. And the apostles, carrying Mary, came to the place of the Valley of
Jehoshaphat which the Lord had showed them; and they laid her in a new tomb,
and closed the sepulchre. And they themselves sat down at the door of the
tomb, as the Lord had commanded them; and, behold, suddenly the Lord Jesus
Christ came with a great multitude of angels, with a halo of great brightness
gleaming, and said to the apostles: Peace be with you! And they answered and
said: Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in Thee. (2) Then the
Saviour spoke to them, saying: Before I ascended to my Father I promised to
you, saying that you who have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of
man shall sit upon the throne of His majesty, will sit, you also, upon twelve
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (3) Her, therefore, did I choose
out of the tribes of Israel by the command of my Father, that I should dwell
in her. What, therefore, do you wish that I should do to her? Then Peter and
the other apostles said: Lord, Thou didst choose beforehand this Thine
handmaid to become a spotless chamber for Thyself, and us Thy servants to
minister unto Thee. Before the ages Thou didst foreknow all things along with
the Father, with whom to Thee and the Holy Spirit there is one Godhead, equal
and infinite power. If, therefore, it were possible to be done in the presence
of the power of Thy grace, it had seemed to us Thy servants to be right that,
just as Thou, having vanquished death, reignest in glory, so, raising up again
the body of Thy mother, Thou shouldst take her with Thee in joy into heaven.
16. Then the Saviour said: Let it be according to your opinion. And He ordered the
archangel Michael to bring the soul of St. Mary. And, behold, the archangel Michael (
4) rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb; and the Lord said:
Arise, my beloved and my nearest relation; thou who hast not put an corruption by
intercourse with man, suffer not destruction of the body in the sepulchre.
And immediately Mary rose from the tomb, and blessed the Lord, and falling forward at the feet of the Lord,
adored Him, saying: I cannot render sufficient thanks to Thee, O Lord, for Thy boundless benefits
which Thou hast deigned to bestow upon me Thine handmaiden. May Thy name, O Redeemer of the world,
God of Israel, be blessed for ever.
17. And kissing her, the Lord went back, and delivered her soul to the angels, that they should
carry it into paradise. And He said to the apostles: Come up to me. And when they had come up He kissed them,
and said: Peace be to you! as I have always been with you, so will I be even to the end of the world.
And immediately, when the Lord had said this, He was lifted up on a cloud, and taken back into heaven,
and the angels along with Him, carrying the blessed Mary into the paradise of God.
And the apostles being taken up in the clouds, returned each into the place allotted (
5) for his preaching, telling the great things of God, and praising our Lord Jesus Christ,
who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in perfect unity,
and in one substance of Godhead, for ever and ever. Amen.