Venerable Brother fellow Bishops and my beloved children,
Orthodox Christians around the world and all of us here in Australia, come today with devotion to our churches, to venerate and honour the sacred image of our All-Holy Mother of God.
The Virgin Mary did not die but passed “into life”, as it is characteristically heard in the dismissal hymn of the feast: “When you gave birth you kept your virginity, when you fell asleep you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. You passed into life, you who are the mother of life.” With her dormition, She who gave birth to Life, our Lord Jesus Christ, goes forth to eternal life, which is the Kingdom of God.
Our most devout people, who have deep respect for the most sacred person of the Mother of God, experience today feelings of unfeigned and genuine joy.
It is a joy of vindication but also a joy of hope for all humankind. It is a joy of vindication, because the Mother of our Lord and God, and the Mother of us all, though mortal, like every human person on earth, tastes the divine gift of victory over death, the gift of eternal life.
And at the same time, it is a joy of hope, because with Her dormition and translation “the tomb becomes a ladder to heaven”. She who co-worked in the Birth of the God-man, having united heaven with earth, as a living ladder, now, for the second time, is transformed into an spiritual ladder, that offers to the perishable human person the possibility of eternal and true life.
It is true, my beloved sisters and brothers, that every day it is with great faith that we turn to our All-Holy Mother of God, asking for Her intercessions so that we may face the difficulties, trials and sorrows of this present life.
At the same time, however, let us keep in our minds and hearts the message of hope from today’s great feast. And let us make it the purpose of our present life to imitate the virtues of the Most-Holy Theotokos, so that we may be worthy to walk on that spiritual ladder that leads to heavenly life.
Wishing you many and blessed years!
† Makarios of Australia
Primate and Exarch of All Oceania