The Dormition of the Theotokos — Part 2: The Arrival of Gabriel
The Theotokos has lived her days out in the home of St John and often prayed on the Mount of Olives where her Son ascended. It was here that the archangel Gabriel came to her with the message. The same Gabriel who had once told her that she would give birth to the Christ, now stood in front of her to tell her that she would soon be taken to heaven. “Thus sayeth thy Son: ‘the days are approaching when I will take My Mother unto Me,’ Creator’s most immaculate Mother, thine only0begotten Son and God sent me to tell thee that He calls thee unto Him, to the right hand of His throne. He awaitith thee. Therefore, do not be troubled over these words, but receive it with delight, for thou shalt be translated to life eternal.”
Tradition holds that this message came to the Virgin on Friday, three days later would have then been a Sunday. As the Lord had foretold, the archangel gave the Virgin a palm branch from paradise. It signified that bodily death would also not have power over her. She would fall asleep, and then rise and shake death off like sleep from her eyes. The branch was to be carried in front of her bier of her body.