The commemoration of the death of Our Holy Mother Saint Virgin Mariam
Aster’eyo - አስተርዮ is a Ge’ez word meaning appearance or manifestation. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church commemorates the death of Our Holy Mother Saint Virgin Mariam. The Apostles commanded that, “all Christians should celebrate her commemoration in the month of Terr; on the day of her death, Terr 21 / January 30. The term ‘Aster’eyo’ is related more to the fact that God came with thousands of His Holy Angels to comfort Our Holy Mother Virgin Mariam at the time of her death, as is recorded in the Synaxarium. Here are some details of her life:
Born on Genbot 1 / May 9
3 years and 7 months in her parents house
12 years spent in the temple serving God
“Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your own people also, and your father’s house; ”
34 years and three months in Saint Joseph's house
14 years lived with St. John the Divine
“Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home”
In total, Our Holy Mother Virgin Mariam's life on earth was 64 years.
As the Holy Spirit informed Our Holy Virgin Mariam that she was about to depart from this world, she prayed saying, "My Lord and my God, Eyesus Kristos, hearken unto my prayer, and accept my petition and bring unto me thy disciples so that I may see them and be blessed by them before I go out from this world.” Before her prayer was ended, a cloud of light snatched them away in the Holy Spirit wherever they were. Some while they were preaching and some of them from being asleep! They were set before the holy and pure Virgin Mariam; and the blessed Disciples of Our Lord and Savior said to her, "Rejoice, O holy Virgin, for our Lord and God Who was born of thee shall translate thee from this world with great glory."
When her only son, Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Kristos, came with thousands of Holy Angels to receive her soul, a great light filled that place. There came forth a beautiful sweet fragrance and a voice came from heaven saying, "Blessed art thou, O blessed Queen of women."
The Holy Spirit said unto the Apostles, "Take Holy virgin Mariam, and carry her to Gethsemane.” They took her and seated her upon the couch and sang hymns.
Many Jews who saw the miracles gathered together and said unto Tafonya, “We know that you are strong. Now go and seize the couch of Mariam. Throw it on the ground and we will burn her body in the fire so that the disciples may not imagine that they have overcome the men of Jerusalem.” Then Tafonya rose up and stretched out his hand to break the couch. At that moment, the Angel of God came down and smote him with a sword of fire, and cut off his two hands and arms up to the shoulders, and they were hanging upon the couch. Tafonya regretted his evil deed. He wept bitterly and cried out to the Apostles, saying to them, "Have mercy upon me.” The Apostles answered, “Ask the Mother of God, whose couch you wish to break.” Tafonya said, “O Holy Virgin Mariam, Mother of God, have compassion upon me.” Our Merciful Mother answered and said unto Peter, “Let these limbs be restored to him.” Then Peter reattached his hands to his body in the name of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos, and in the name of Our Mother Virgin Mariam, the Holy woman.
Our Lord did not leave the body of His Holy Mother in this world but brought her with clouds of light into Paradise; the Garden of Delight with Saint John the Divine. There, He laid her down until the time of her resurrection (Nahashi 14 / August 20) and ascension (Nahashi 16 / August 22).
“Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir”. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
Saint John the Divine returned to the Mount of Sinai, being carried upon the clouds to the Apostles. And the Apostles commanded in one voice that all Christians should celebrate her commemoration in the month of Terr, on the day of her death.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church honors and venerates Our Holy Virgin Mariam as more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious and without compare to the Seraphim. Our Holy Mother Mariam's name is mentioned in every service, and her intercession before the throne of God is requested.
Our Holy Mother Mariam is preeminent in honor and intercession from all saints. Other women are honored for giving birth to prophets, saints and martyrs. But Our Holy Mother Mariam is honored as the Mother of God. Therefore, the honor accorded to Saint Mariam is below the Creator and above all His creations. As the Blessed Elizabeth witnessed "filled with the Holy Spirit".
“And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”.
In the story of Jacob, Saint Mariam is a symbol of the ladder; who by giving birth to Christ, made the inhabitants of the earth reach heaven.
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”
The Golden Censer of Aaron: The censer symbolizes the womb of Our Holy Mother Mariam. The fire symbolizes Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Kristos.
“Our God is a consuming fire”
As Noah’s Ark became the cause of saving the human race from extinction, our Lady is also the cause of God’s act of redemption by giving birth to the Savior Messiah.
The prayer and intercession of Holy Virgin Mariam, Mother of God, be with us now and at the hour of our death. AMEN.