This coming Saturday marks the Solemnity of the Assumption of the BVM. It is the day on which Our Lady died and was taken, body and soul, up to heaven--it is the glorious transportation that is emphasized in the traditions of the Western Church. Meanwhile, in the traditions of the Eastern Church, it is Our Lady's bodily death that is emphasized--the title of the Feast Day is the 'Dormition' or 'falling asleep'.
Icons that depict the Dormition tend to have broad similarities with those of the Nativity. Indeed, the concept of the Assumption/Dormition is an inversion of the Nativity--death as opposed to life, to heaven as opposed to from heaven &c. In these icons, one can see Our Lady's body on brier, surrounded by the Apostles and various Patriarchs. Standing above the brier is a curious image of Jesus holding a baby in swaddling clothes. In fact, the baby is a depiction of Our Lady's soul.
Closely mirroring the classic 'Virgin and Child' pose, such iconography emphasizes the peculiarity of the relationship between Our Lady and the omnipotent Divine Son in whose Incarnation she played such a vital role.
Music: G.P. da Palestrina
Words: Offertory on the Feast of the Assumption
Artists: The Sixteen/Harry Christophers
Assumpta est Maria in Caelum: gaudent angeli, collaudantes benedicunt Dominum, Alleluia.
Mary is taken up into heaven: the angels rejoice, praising, they bless the Lord, Alleluia.