Lives of the Saints
First Latin Form
Concerning The Passing Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
In that time before the Lord came to His passion, and among many words which the
mother asked of the Son, she began to ask Him about her own departure, addressing
Him as follows: — O most dear Son, I pray Thy holiness, that when my soul goes out
of my body, Thou let me know on the third day before; and do Thou, beloved Son,
with Thy angels, receive it. Then He received the prayer of His beloved mother, and
said to her: O palace and temple of the living God, O blessed mother, O queen of all
saints, and blessed above all women, before thou carriedst me in thy womb, I
always guarded thee, and caused thee to be fed daily with my angelic food, as thou
knowest: how can I desert thee, after thou hast carried me, and nourished me, and
brought me down in flight into Egypt, and endured many hardships for me? Know,
then, that my angels have always guarded thee, and will guard thee even until thy
departure. But after I undergo suffering for men, as it is written, and rise again on
the third day, and after forty days ascend into heaven, when thou shall see me
coming to thee with angels and archangels, with saints and with virgins, and with
my disciples, know for certain that thy soul will be separated from the body, and I
shall carry it into heaven, where it shall never at all have tribulation or anguish.
Then she joyed and gloried, and kissed the knees of her Son, and blessed the
Creator of heaven and earth, who gave her such a gift through Jesus Christ her Son.
In the second year, therefore, after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most
blessed Virgin Mary continued always in prayer day and night.
And on the third day before she passed away, an angel of the Lord came to her, and
saluted her, saying: Hail, Mary, full of grace! the Lord be with thee. And she
answered, saying: Thanks to God. Again he said to her: Receive this palm which the
Lord promised to thee. And she, giving thanks to God, with great joy received from
the hand of the angel the palm sent to her. The angel of the Lord said to her: Thy
assumption will be after three days. And she answered: Thanks to God.
Then she called Joseph of the city of Arimathaea, and the other disciples of the Lord;
and when they, both relations and acquaintances, were assembled, she announced
her departure to all standing there. Then the blessed Mary washed herself, and
dressed herself like a queen, and waited the advent of her Son, as He had promised
to her. And she asked all her relations to keep beside her, and give her comfort. And
she had along with her three virgins, Sepphora, Abigea, and Zael; but the disciples
of our Lord Jesus Christ had been already dispersed throughout the whole world to
preach to the people of God. Then at the third hour there were great thunders, and
rains, and lightnings, and tribulation, and an earthquake, while queen Mary was
standing in her chamber. John the evangelist and apostle was suddenly brought from
Ephesus, and entered the chamber of the blessed Mary, and saluted her, and said to
her: Hail, Mary, full of grace! the Lord be with thee. And she answered: Thanks to
God. And raising herself up, she kissed Saint John. And the blessed Mary said to
him: O my dearest son, why hast thou left me at such a time, and hast not paid
heed to the commands of thy Master, to take care of me, as He commanded thee
while He was hanging on the cross? And he asked pardon with bended knee. Then
the blessed Mary gave him her benediction, and again kissed him. And when she
meant to ask him whence he came, and for what reason he had come to Jerusalem,
behold, all the disciples of the Lord, except Thomas who is called Didymus, were
brought by a cloud to the door of the chamber of the blessed Mary. They stood and
went in, and saluted the queen with the following words, and adored her: Hail, Mary,
full of grace! the Lord be with thee. And she eagerly rose quickly, and bowed herself,
and kissed them, and gave thanks to God. These are the names of the disciples of
the Lord who were brought thither in the cloud: John the evangelist and James his
brother, Peter and Paul, Andrew, Philip, Luke, Barnabas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
Matthias who is called Justus, Simon the Chananaean, Judas and his brother,
Nicodemus and Maximianus, and many others who cannot be numbered. Then the
blessed Mary said to her brethren: What is this, that you have all come to
Jerusalem? Peter, answering, said to her: We had need to ask this of thee, and dost
thou question us? Certainly, as Ithink, none of us knows why we have come here
today with such rapidity. I was at Antioch, and now I am here. All declared plainly
the place where they had been that day. And they all wondered that they were there
when they  heard these things. The blessed Mary said to them: I asked my Son,
before He endured the passion, that He and you should be at my death; and He
granted me this gift. Whence you may know that my departure will be tomorrow.
Watch and pray with me, that when the Lord comes to receive my soul, He may find
you watching. Then all promised that they would watch. And they watched and
prayed the whole night, with psalms and chants, with great illuminations.
And when the Lord’s day came, at the third hour, just as the Holy Spirit descended
upon the apostles in a cloud, so Christ descended with a multitude of angels, and
received the soul of His beloved mother.
For there was such splendor and perfume of sweetness, and angels singing the
songs of songs, where the Lord says, As a lily among thorns, so is my love among
the daughters, that all who were there present fell on their faces, as the apostles
fell when Christ transfigured Himself before them on Mount Thabor, and for a whole
hour and a half no one was able to rise. But when the light went away, and at the
same time with the light itself, the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken up into
heaven with psalms, and hymns, and songs of songs. And as the cloud went up the
whole earth shook, and in one moment all the inhabitants of Jerusalem openly saw
the departure of St. Mary.
And that same hour Satan entered into them, and they began to consider what they
were to do with her body. And they took up weapons, that they might burn her body
and kill the apostles, because from her had gone forth the dispersions of Israel, on
account of their sins and the gathering together of the Gentiles. But they were
struck with blindness, striking their heads against the walls, and striking each other.
Then the apostles, alarmed by so much brightness, arose, and with psalms carried
the holy body down from Mount Zion to the valley of Jehoshaphat. But as they were
going in the middle of the road, behold, a certain Jew, Reuben by name, wishing to
throw to the ground the holy bier with the body of the blessed Mary. But his hands
dried up, even to the elbow; whether he would or not, he went down even to the
Valley of Jehoshaphat, weeping and lamenting because his hands were raised to the
bier, and he was not able to draw back his hands to himself. And he began to ask
the apostles that by their prayer he might be saved and made a Christian. Then the
apostles, bending their knees, asked the Lord to let him loose.
And he, being healed that same hour, giving thanks to God and kissing the feet of
the queen of all the saints and apostles, was baptized in that same place, and
began to preach the name of our God Jesus Christ.
Then the apostles with great honor laid the body in the tomb, weeping and singing
through exceeding love and sweetness. And suddenly there shone round them a light
from heaven, and they fell to the ground, and the holy body was taken up by angels
into heaven.
Then the most blessed Thomas was suddenly brought to the Mount of Olivet, and
saw the most blessed body going up to heaven, and began to cry out and say: O
holy mother, blessed mother, spotless mother, if I have now found grace because I
see thee, make thy servant joyful through thy compassion, because thou art going to
heaven. Then the girdle with which the apostles had encircled the most holy body
was thrown down from heaven to the blessed Thomas. And taking it, and kissing it,
and giving thanks to God, he came again into the Valley of Jehoshaphat. He found
all the apostles and another great crowd there beating their breasts on account of
the brightness which they had seen. And seeing and kissing each other, the blessed
Peter said to him: Truly thou hast always been obdurate and unbelieving, because
for thine unbelief it was not pleasing to God that thou shouldst be along with us at
the burial of the mother of the Savior.
And he, beating his breast, said: I know and firmly believe that I have always been
a bad and an unbelieving man; therefore I ask pardon of all of you for my obduracy
and unbelief. And they. all prayed for him. Then the blessed Thomas said: Where
have you laid her body? And they pointed out the sepulcher with their finger. And he
said: The body which is called most holy is not there. Then the blessed Peter said to
him: Already on another occasion thou wouldst not believe the resurrection of our
Master and Lord at our word, unless thou went to touch Him with thy fingers, and
see Him; how wilt thou believe us that the holy body is here? Still he persists
saying: It is not here. Then, as it were in a rage, they went to the sepulcher, which
was a new one hollowed out in the rock, and took up the stone; but they did not find
the body, not knowing what to say, because they had been convicted by the words of
Thomas. Then the blessed Thomas told them how he was singing mass in India —
he still had on his sacerdotal robes. He, not knowing the word of God, had been
brought to the Mount of Olivet, and saw the most holy body of the blessed Mary
going up into heaven, and prayed her to give him a blessing. She heard his prayer,
and threw him her girdle which she had about her. And the apostles seeing the belt
which they had put about her, glorifying God, all asked pardon of the blessed
Thomas, on account of the benediction which the blessed Mary had given him, and
because he had seen the most holy body going up into heaven. And the blessed
Thomas gave them his benediction, and said: Behold how good and how pleasant it
is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
And the same cloud by which they had been brought carried them back each to his
own place, just like Philip when he baptized the eunuch, as is read in the Acts of the
Apostles; and as Habakkuk the prophet carried food to Daniel, who was in the lions’
den, and quickly returned to Judaea.
And so also the apostles quickly returned to where they had at first been, to preach
to the people of God. Nor is it to be wondered at that He should do such things, who
went into the virgin and came out of her though her womb was closed; who, though
the gates were shut, went in to His disciples; who made the deaf to hear, raised the
dead, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, and did many other wonderful
things. To believe this is no doubtful matter.
I am Joseph who laid the Lord’s body in my sepulcher, and saw Him rising again; and
who, before the ascension and after the ascension of the Lord, always kept his most
sacred temple the blessed ever-virgin Mary, and who have kept in writing and in my
breast the things which came forth from the mouth of God, and how the things
mentioned above were done by the judgment of God. And I have made known to all,
Jews and Gentiles, those things which I saw with my eyes, and heard with my ears;
and as long as I live I shall not cease to declare them. And her, whose assumption
is at this day venerated and worshipped throughout the whole world, let us
assiduously entreat that she be mindful of us in the presence of her most pious Son
in heaven, to whom is praise and glory through endless ages of ages. Amen.

Second Latin Form
Here Beginneth The Passing Of The Blessed Mary

1. THEREFORE, when the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was hanging on the tree
fastened by the nails of the cross for the life of the whole world, He saw about the
cross His mother standing, and John the evangelist, whom He peculiarly loved above
the rest of the apostles, because he alone of them was a virgin in the body. He gave
him, therefore, the charge of holy Mary, saying to him: Behold thy mother! and
saying, to her: Behold thy son! From that hour the! holy mother of God remained
specially in the care of John, as long as she had her habitation in this life. And when
the apostles had divided the world by lot for preaching, she settled in the house of
his parents near Mount Olivet.
2. In the second year, therefore, after Christ had vanquished death, and ascended up
into heaven, on a certain day, Mary, burning with a longing for Christ, began to weep
alone, within the shelter of her abode. And, behold, an angel, shining in a dress of
great light, stood before her and gave utterance to the words of salutation saying:
Hail! thou blessed by the Lord, receive the salutation of Him who commanded safety
to Jacob by His prophets. Behold, said He a palm branch — I have brought it to thee
from the paradise of the Lord — which thou wilt cause to be carried before thy bier,
when on the third day thou shalt be taken up from the body. For, lo, thy Son awaits
thee with thrones and angels, and all the powers of heaven. Then Mary said to the
angel: I beg that all the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ he assembled to me.
To whom the angel said: Behold, today, by the power of my Lord Jesus Christ, all the
apostles will come to thee. And Mary says to him: I ask that thou send upon me thy
blessing, that no power of the lower world may withstand me in that hour in which
my soul shall go out of my body, and that I may not see the prince of darkness. And
the angel said: No power indeed of the lower world will hurt thee; and thy Lord God,
whose servant and messenger I am, hath given thee eternal blessing; but do not
think that the privilege of not seeing the prince of darkness is to be given thee by
me, but by Him whom thou hast carried in thy womb; for to Him belongeth power
over all for ever and ever. Thus saying, the angel departed with great splendor. And
that palm shone with exceeding great light. Then Mary, undressing herself, put on
better garments. And, taking the palm which she had received from the hands of the
angel, she went out to the mount of Olivet, and began to pray, and say: I had not
been worthy, O Lord, to bear Thee, unless Thou hadst had compassion on me; but
nevertheless I have kept the treasure which Thou entrustedst to me. Therefore I ask
of Thee, O King of glory, that the power of Gehenna hurt me not. For if the heavens
and the angels daily tremble before Thee, how much more man who is made from
the ground, who possesses no good thing, except as much as he has received from
Thy benignant bounty! Thou art, O Lord, God always blessed for ever. And thus
saying, she went back to her dwelling.
3. And, behold, suddenly, while St. John was preaching in Ephesus, on the Lord’s
day, at the third hour of the day, there was a great earthquake, and  a cloud raised
him and took him up from the eyes of all, and brought him before the door of the
house where Mary was. And knocking at the door, he immediately went in. And when
Mary saw him, she exulted in joy, and said: I beg of thee, my son John, be mindful
of the words of my Lord Jesus Christ, in which He entrusted me to thee. For, behold,
on the third day, when I am to depart from the body, I have heard the plans of the
Jews, saying, Let us wait for the day when she who bore that seducer shall die, and
let us burn her booty with fire. She therefore called St. John, and led him into the
secret chamber of the house, and showed him the robe of her burial, and that palm
of light which she had received from the angel, instructing him that he should cause
it to be carried before her couch when she was going to her tomb.
4. And St. John said to her: How shall I alone perform thy funeral rites, unless my
brethren and fellow-apostles of my Lord Jesus Christ come to pay honor to thy body?
And, behold, on a sudden, by the command of God, all the apostles were snatched
up, raised on a cloud, from the places in which they were preaching the word of God,
and set down before the door of the house in which Mary dwelt. And, saluting each
other, they wondered, saying: What is the cause for which the Lord hath assembled
us here?
5. Then all the apostles, rejoicing with one mind, finished their prayer. And when
they had said the Amen, behold, on a sudden, there came the blessed John, and told
them all these things. The apostles then, having entered the house, found Mary, and
saluted her, saying: Blessed art thou by the Lord, who hath made heaven and earth.
And she said to them: Peace be with you, most beloved brethren! How have you
come hither? And they recounted to her how they had come, each one raised on a
cloud by the Spirit of God, and set down in the same place. And she said to them:
God hath not deprived me of the sight of you. Behold, I shall go the way of all the
earth, and I doubt not that the Lord hath now conducted you hither to bring me
consolation for the anguish which is just coming upon me. Now therefore I implore
you, that without intermission you all with one mind watch, even till that hour in
which the Lord will come, and I shall depart from the body.
6. And when they had sat down in a circle consoling her, when they had spent three
days in the praises of God, behold, on the third day, about the third hour of the day,
a deep sleep seized upon all who were in that house, and no one was at all able to
keep awake but the apostles alone, and only the three virgins who were there. And,
behold, suddenly the Lord Jesus Christ came with a great multitude of angels; and a
great brightness came down upon that place, and the angels were singing a hymn,
and praising God together. Then the Savior spoke, saying: Come, most precious
pearl, within the receptacle of life eternal.
7. Then Mary prostrated herself on the pavement, adoring God, and said: Blessed be
the name of Thy glory, O Lord my God, who hast deigned to choose me Thine
handmaid, and to entrust to me Thy hidden mystery. Be mindful of me, therefore, O
King of glory, for Thou knowest that I have loved Thee with all my heart, and kept
the treasure committed to me.
Therefore receive me, Thy servant, and free me from the power of darkness, that no
onset of Satan may oppose me, and that I may not see filthy spirits standing in my
way. And the Savior answered her: When I, sent by my Father for the salvation of
the world, was hanging on the cross, the prince of darkness came to me; but when
he was able to find in me no trace of his work, he went off vanquished and trodden
under foot.
But when thou shall see him, thou shall see him indeed by the law of the human
race, in accordance with which thou hast come to the end of thy life; but he cannot
hurt thee, because I am with thee to help thee. Go in security, because the heavenly
host is waiting for thee to lead thee in to the joys of paradise. And when the Lord
had thus spoken, Mary, rising from the pavement, reclined upon her couch, and
giving thanks to God, gave up the ghost. And the apostles saw that her soul was of
such whiteness, that no tongue of mortals can worthily utter it; for it surpassed all
the whiteness of snow, and of every metal, and of gleaming silver, by the great
brightness of its light.
8. Then the Savior spoke, saying: Rise, Peter, and take the body of Mary, and send it
to the right hand side of the city towards the east, and thou wilt find there a new
tomb, in which you will lay her, and wait until I come to you. And thus saying, the
Lord delivered the soul of St. Mary to Michael, who was the ruler of paradise, and the
prince of the nation of the Jews; and Gabriel went with them. And immediately the
Savior was received up into heaven along with the angels.
9. And the three virgins, who were in the same place, and were watching, took up
the body of the blessed Mary, that they might wash it after the manner of funeral
rites. And when they had taken off her clothes, that sacred body shone with so much
brightness, that it could be touched indeed for preparation for burial, but the form of
it could not be seen for the excessive flashing light: except that the splendor of the
Lord appeared great, and nothing was perceived, the body, when it was washed, was
perfectly clean, and stained by no moisture of filth. And when they had put the dead-
clothes on her, that light was gradually obscured. And the body of the blessed Mary
was like lily flowers; and an odor of great sweetness came forth from it, so that no
sweetness could be found like it.
10. Then, accordingly, the apostles laid the holy body on the bier, and said to each
other: Who is to carry this palm before her bier? Then John said to Peter: Thou, who
hast precedence of us in the apostleship, shouldst carry this palm before her couch.
And Peter answered him: Thou wast the only virgin among us chosen by the Lord,
and thou didst find so great favor that thou didst recline upon His breast. And He,
when for our salvation He was hanging upon the stem of the cross, entrusted her to
thee with His own mouth. Thou therefore oughtest to carry this palm, and let us take
up that body to carry it even to the place of sepulture. After this, Peter, raising it,
and saying, Take the body, began to sing and say: Israel hath gone forth out of
Egypt. Alleluiah. And the other apostles along with him carried the booty of the
blessed Mary, and John bore the palm of light before the bier. And the other apostles
sang with a most sweet voice.
11. And, behold, a new miracle. There appeared above the bier a cloud exceeding
great, like the great circle which is wont to appear beside the splendor of the moon;
and there was in the clouds an army of angels sending forth a sweet song, and from
the sound of the great sweetness the earth resounded. Then the people, baring gone
forth from the city, about fifteen thousand, wondered, saying; What is that sound of
so great sweetness? Then there stood up one who said to them: Mary has departed
from the body, and the disciples of Jesus are singing praises around her.
And looking, they saw the couch crowned with great glory, and the apostles singing
with a loud voice. And, behold, one of them, who was chief of the priests of the Jews
in his rank, filled with fury and rage, said to the rest: Behold, the tabernacle of him
who disturbed us and all our race, what glory has it received? And going up, he
wished to overturn the bier, and throw the body down to the ground. And
immediately his hands dried up from his elbows, and stuck to the couch. And when
the apostles raised the bier, part of him hung, and part of him adhered to the couch;
and he was vehemently tormented with pain, while the apostles were walking and
singing. And the angels who were in the clouds smote the people with blindness.
12. Then that chief cried out, saying: I implore thee, Saint Peter, do not despise me,
I beseech thee, in so great an extremity, because I am exceedingly tortured by great
torments. Bear in mind that when, in the praetorium, the maid that kept the door
recognized thee, and told the others to revile thee, then I spoke good words in thy
Then Peter answering, said: It is not for me to give other to thee; but if thou
believest with thy whole heart on the Lord Jesus Christ, whom she carried in her
womb, and remained a virgin after the birth, the compassion of the Lord, which with
profuse benignity saves the unworthy, will give thee salvation.
To this he replied: Do we not believe? But what shall we do? The enemy of the
human race has blinded our hearts, and confusion has covered our face, lest we
should confess the great things of God, especially when we ourselves uttered
maledictions against Christ, shouting: His blood be upon us, and upon our children.
Then Peter said: Behold, this malediction will hurt him who has remained unfaithful
to Him; but to those who turn themselves to God mercy is not denied. And he said: I
believe all that thou sayest to me; only I implore, have mercy upon me, lest I die.
13. Then Peter made the couch stand still, and said to him: If thou believest with all
thy heart upon the Lord Jesus Christ, thy hands will be released from the bier. And
when he had said this his hands were immediately released from the bier, and he
began to stand on his feet; but his arms were dried up, and the torture did not go
away from him. Then Peter said to him: Go up to the body, and kiss the couch, and
say: I believe in God, and in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom she bore, and I
believe all whatsoever Peter the apostle of God has said to me. And going  up, he
kissed the couch, and immediately all pain went away from him, and his hands were
healed. Then he began greatly to bless God, and from the books of Moses to render
testimony to the praises of Christ, so that even the apostles themselves wondered,
and wept for joy, praising the name of the Lord.
14. And Peter said to him: Take this palm from the hand of our brother John, and
going into the city thou wilt find much people blinded, and declare to them the great
things of God; and whosoever shall believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt put
this palm upon their eyes, and they shall see; but those who will not believe shall
remain blind. And when he had done so, he found much people blinded, lamenting
thus: Woe unto us, because we have been made like the Sodomites struck with
Nothing now is left to us but to perish. But when they heard the words of the chief
who had been cured speaking, they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and when he
put the palm over their eyes, they recovered sight.
Five of them remaining in hardness of heart died. And the chief of the priests going
forth, carried back the palm to the apostles, reporting all things whatsoever had
been done.
15. And the apostles, carrying Mary, came to the place of the Valley of Jehoshaphat
which the Lord had showed them; and they laid her in a new tomb, and closed the
sepulcher. And they themselves sat down at the door of the tomb, as the Lord had
commanded them; and, behold, suddenly the Lord Jesus Christ came with a great
multitude of angels, with a halo of great brightness gleaming, and said to the
apostles: Peace be with you!
And they answered and said: Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped
in Thee. Then the Savior spoke to them, saying: Before I ascended to my Father I
promised to you, saying that you who have followed me in the regeneration, when
the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His majesty, will sit, you also, upon
twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Her, therefore, did I choose out
of the tribes of Israel by the command of my Father, that I should dwell in her.
What, therefore, do you wish that I should do to her? Then Peter and the other
apostles said: Lord, Thou didst choose beforehand this Thine handmaid to become a
spotless chamber for Thyself, and us Thy servants to minister unto Thee. Before the
ages Thou didst foreknow all things along with the Father, with whom to Thee and
the Holy Spirit there is one Godhead, equal and infinite power. If, therefore, it were
possible to be done in the presence of the power of Thy grace, it had seemed to us
Thy servants to be right that, just as Thou, having vanquished death, reignest in
glory, so, raising up again the body of Thy mother, Thou shouldst take her with Thee
in joy into heaven.
16. Then the Savior said: Let it be according to your opinion. And He ordered the
archangel Michael to bring the soul of St. Mary. And, behold, the archangel Michael
rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb; and the Lord said: Arise, my
beloved and my nearest relation; thou who hast not put an corruption by intercourse
with man, suffer not destruction of the body in the sepulcher. And immediately Mary
rose from the tomb, and blessed the Lord, and falling forward at the feet of the Lord,
adored Him, saying: I cannot render sufficient thanks to Thee, O Lord, for Thy
boundless benefits which Thou hast deigned to bestow upon me Thine handmaiden.
May Thy name, O Redeemer of the world, God of Israel, be blessed for ever.
17. And kissing her, the Lord went back, and delivered her soul to the angels, that
they should carry it into paradise. And He said to the apostles: Come up to me. And
when they had come up He kissed them, and said: Peace be to you! as I have
always been with you, so will I be even to the end of the world. And immediately,
when the Lord had said this, He was lifted up on a cloud, and taken back into
heaven, and the angels along with Him, carrying the blessed Mary into the paradise
of God. And the apostles being taken up in the clouds, returned each into the place
allotted for his preaching, telling the great things of God, and praising our Lord Jesus
Christ, who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in perfect unity,
and in one substance of Godhead, for ever and ever. Amen.
[1] Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8.
The Passing Of Mary