Liturgy at the tomb of Most Holy Theotokos in Gethsemane

Ye, Apostles gathered from around the world, here at Gethsemane, burry my body and Ye, my Son and God take my spirit

There are wonderful words endowed with the nectar of heavenly sweetness which cherishes your heart and mind so gracefully, making them susceptible to spiritual beauty; words which easily elevate the soul to the heavenly realms of untouchable beauties. But, is there, we wonder, a worthy human word which could make our reason, restricted and confused by sin, to get closer to the event and place where the One who was nectar herself, feeding the Word of God and which is the inexplicable joy of the angels, transferred with her body and soul, from this corruptible word to the place where she truly belongs with her immaculate purity – the Kingdom of eternal light and glory, in the proximity of the Holy Trinity. How wonderful are thy mysteries, o Mother of God! You have revealed to be a throne of the Almighty, dear Heavenly Empress; transferring from the Earth to Heavens. Your dignified glory blazes with God-worthy miracles, your Dormition is celebrated by the angels, the powerful Cherubs and terrifying Seraphs…To be able to accompany this heavenly choir, to participate in this mysterious praise, in the very place of the Dormition of the One glorified by God – that is something really sublime and holy.

That is the inexplicable mercy which we have been honoured today by the Immaculate Virgin, who had prepared a feast for us, both holy and mysterious, with the purest body and the life-giving blood of her Son and our God, Lord Jesus Christ. Her invitation to co-celebrate the Divine Liturgy came from the especially kind Abbot of her honourable Tomb in Gethsemane, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joachim of Elenopolis, whose heart has turned into a home for Theotokos and who was first sent by her to the most glorious Church of the Resurrection, to meet us at the beginning of our pilgrimage. Thus today, at the tomb of the One who gave birth to the Deliverer from the graves, our beloved Elder, the Bishop of Antania, Parthenius, co-celebrated with Metropolitan Joachim during the most sublime and touching Liturgy which elevated our souls to the graceful embrace of the Emperess Mother. Besides these two children of the Mother of God, who are immensely attached to Her, the Liturgy was celebrated also by the Archimandrite Dositheus and the hieromonks Cyril and Anatholius from the Bigorski Monastery, and also four other priests from the Orthodox Church of Serbia.

Human language does not have enough power to describe the graceful tide and experience of the souls of the priests and the faithful, gathered around the Tomb which the Mother of Life rose from. During the Eucharist at that holy place, one feels that in some mysterious, ineffable way he is in his true home and homeland. Or, as our most beloved Elder once said:

“God had been waiting for a long time for such a person to appear, who, with her super-reasonable and super-angelic purity and with her unconditional and flawless love for Him, could open the door for Him, so that He could enter the human nature and its history. That person was undoubtedly the Blessed Virgin Mary, the humble and Immaculate Virgin of Nazareth. She is the new redemptive ark of Noah, in whom all mankind is saved; She is a “bridge and ladder between Heaven and Earth”, between God and man; She was not a “fruit of sin”, but a “the new flower of righteousness”; She became the abode of the Inabodable, “the New Heaven and Earth” – as St. Nicholas Kavasila so beautifully expresses about Her; “The Promised Land”, “the Homeland of the Eternally-living”. The Most Holy Mother of God, as the One who is broader than Heavens, is our guide who leads the faithful of all ages to Christ. At the same time, she is the giver of all Divine gifts to people and creation. Therefore, the attempt to show the greatness of the Mother of God exceeds human powers.”