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The Dormition of St. Mary | Asteriyo Mariyam

The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo church commemorates the death of St. Mary on Tiri 21 (January 29). The day is known as Asteriyo which means mean appearance/Revelation/Epiphany. It coincides with the season the church devoted to remember the different manifestations of Christ's glory and Divinity, especially the Nativity, the Baptism as well as the miracle at Cana.

The term Asteriyo is more popular in the commemoration of the death of St. Mary on the stated day in view of the fact that God came with thousands of His angels to comfort her, as is recorded in Synaxarium. The 21st day of each Geez month is dedicated to commemorate Our Lady’s death and to venerate her.

According to the Synaxarium, the Holy Spirit informed Our Lady Virgin St. Mary at her usual praying site in the Holy Sepulchre that she was about to depart from this temporal world. When the time of her departure came, the virgins of the Mount of Olives came to her with the apostles, who were still alive, and surrounded her bed.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory, came to her with a host of thousands and thousands of angels and comforted her. He told her about the eternal joy that awaited her in heaven, and she rejoiced.

The apostles prepared her body in a fitting manner and carried it to Gethsemane. Some Jews who were unfriendly to the apostles blocked their way to prevent them from burying the body. One of the Jews seized the coffin with his hands which were cut off instantly from his body and remained attached to the coffin. He regretted his evil deed and wept bitterly. Through the supplications of the saintly apostles, his hands were reattached to his body miraculously, and he believed in the Lord Christ. After the apostles placed St. Mary’s body in the tomb, the Lord hid it from them.

May the blessings and intercession of our Lady Virgin Mary, Full of Grace, Mother of all, Covenant of Mercy be with us all!

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