The Doxastikon, also called the “Glory-Both now” hymn from Great Vespers for the Dormition of the Theotokos
This most compunctionate hymn to the Theotokos is chanted at the end of the verses for Psalm 140, which is also called “Lord I have cried” or the Kekragaria ( from the Greek for I have cried). This hymn is chanted in the eight traditional modes of Byzantine chant.
Glory, Both Now. First Tone.
By Divine command, the God-bearing apostles were caught up and brought from over the world by the clouds on high.
Pl. of 1st Tone.
Reaching thine all-immaculate body, the source of Life, they kissed it with exceeding honour.
The highest powers of the Heavens stood by with their own Master.
Pl. of 2nd Tone.
Seized with dread, they accompanied thine inviolate body that had held God, and in a manner transcending that of this world, they went on before thee crying unseen to the hierarchies on high: Behold, the Queen of all, the Maid of God, is come.
Lift ye up the gates, and in a manner transcending that of this world receive the Mother of the everlasting Light.
For through her the salvation of all mortals hath come. We have not the strength to look upon her, and it is not possible to render her worthy honour.
For her excellence is past all understanding.
Pl. of 4th Tone.
Wherefore, O immaculate Theotokos, who livest forever with thy Son, the life-bearing King, ever intercede that He guard and save from all adverse assault His new people, for we possess thy protection.
And unto the ages we bless thee in beauty and light.
Concerning the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos
From Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky (1888-1988)
As for the tradition concerning the assumption of the body of the Mother of God: the belief in the assumption of her body after its burial does exist in the Orthodox Church. It is expressed in the content of the service for the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, and also in the Confession of the Jerusalem Council of the Eastern Patriarchs in 1672. St. John Damascene in his second homily on the Dormition relates that once the Empress Pulcheria (5th century), who had built a church in Constantinople, asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Juvenalius, a participant in the Council of Chalcedon, for relics of the Most Holy Virgin Mary to place in the church. Juvenalius replied that, in accordance with ancient tradition, the body of the Mother of God had been taken to heaven, and he joined to this reply the well-known account of how the Apostles had been assembled in miraculous fashion for the burial of the Mother of God, how after the arrival of the Apostle Thomas her grave had been opened and her body was not there, and how it had been revealed to the Apostles that her body had ascended to heaven. Written church testimonies on this subject date in general to a relatively late period (not earlier than the 6th century), and the Orthodox Church, with all its respect for them, does not ascribe to them the significance of a dogmatic source…
Editor’s note: The heterodox take great issue with the veneration of the Theotokos in the Orthodox Church. Though today’s feast is not retold in the Sacred Scripture, this in no way diminishes its significance. The Orthodox Church holds this feast in high regard, reverencing the Theotokos as the example, par excellence, for all of humanity. In her submission to the will of God, she became the Throne of the Most High when He-Who-fashioned-all-things dwelt within her womb. She reposed in a peaceful manner and her body was translated by her Son and our God. This is the hope for all Christians in fulfillment of the Lord’s promise on the great day of the Resurrection.
Excerpt from the The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God, by St. John Maximovitch
THE VENERATION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD DURING HER EARTHLY LIFE.
FROM APOSTOLIC TIMES and to our days all who truly love Christ give veneration to Her Who gave birth to Him, raised Him and protected Him in the days of His youth. If God the Father chose Her, God the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, and God the Son dwelt in Her, submitted to Her in the days of His youth, was concerned for Her when hanging on the Cross – then should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinity venerate Her?
Still in the days of Her earthly life, the friends of Christ, the Apostles, manifested a great concern and devotion for the Mother of the Lord, especially the Evangelist John the Theologian, who, fulfilling the will of Her Divine Son, took Her to himself and took care for Her as for a mother from the time when the Lord uttered to him from the Cross the words: “Behold thy mother.”
The Evangelist Luke painted a number of images of Her, some together with the Pre-eternal Child, others without Him. When, he brought them and showed them to the Most Holy Virgin, She approved them and said: “The grace of My Son shall be with them,” and repeated the hymn She had once sung in the house of Elizabeth: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and My spirit hath rejoiced in God My Saviour.”
However, the Virgin Mary during Her earthly life avoided the glory which belonged to Her as the Mother of the Lord. She preferred to live in quiet and prepare Herself for the departure into eternal life. To the last day of Her earthly life She took care to prove worthy of the Kingdom of Her Son, and before death She prayed that He might deliver Her soul from the malicious spirits that meet human souls on the way to heaven and strive to seize them so as to take them away with them to Hades. The Lord fulfilled the prayer of His Mother and in the hour of Her death Himself came from heaven with a multitude of angels to receive Her soul.
Since the Mother of God had also prayed that She might bid farewell to the Apostles, the Lord gathered for Her death all the Apostles, except Thomas, and they were brought by an invisible power on that day to Jerusalem from all the ends of the inhabited world, where they were preaching, and they were present at Her blessed translation into eternal life.
The Apostles gave Her most pure body over to burial with sacred hymns, and on the third day they opened the tomb so as once more to venerate the remains of the Mother of God together with the Apostle Thomas, who had arrived then in Jerusalem. But they did not find the body in the tomb and in perplexity they returned to their own place; and then, during their meal, the Mother of God Herself appeared to them in the air, shining with heavenly light, and informed them that Her Son had glorified Her body also, and She, resurrected, stood before His Throne. At the same time She promised to be with them always.
The Apostles greeted the Mother of God with great joy and began to venerate Her not only as the Mother of their beloved Teacher and Lord, but also as their heavenly helper, as a protector of Christians and intercessor for the whole human race before the Righteous Judge. And everywhere the Gospel of Christ was preached, His Most Pure Mother also began to be glorified.