Descent of The Dormition of Theotokos Icon to Gethsemane
On Monday the 12th/25th of August 2013, a procession took place intended for the descent of the icon of Theotokos from the Dependency of Gethsemane opposite the All-holy Church of the Resurrection, to the Church of the Dormition of Theotokos in Gethsemane, wherein lies the Tomb of the Virgin Mary.
As is well-known, this particular icon of Theotokos in the type of the Dormition is kept at the chapel of Gethsemane opposite the Church of the Resurrection.
From there it is received on the 12th of August each year, to be taken to Gethsemane, where it lies until the 23rd of the same month, at which it is returned to its initial position.
In keeping with this order, the procession of the holy icon of Theotokos began this year at 4:00 am/5:00 am (summer time) from the Dependency. The icon was carried close to the bosom of the Hegoumen of Gethsemane, Archimandrite Nektarios, in the midst of their Eminences, the Archbishops of Ioppi and Lydda, Damaskinos and Demetrios, priests of the Holy Sepulcher and sojourner priests of the Orthodox Churches, long rows of monks and nuns, and a great crowd eager to venerate the sacred icon, placing their problems, adversities, agonies, pains and illnesses onto Theotokos for help, protection, support and cure, whilst chanting “Apostles from the ends of the earth” and “In Giving Birth You Kept Your Virginity”, in Greek, Arabic and all languages of the Orthodox.
As the procession moved across the Via Dolorosa from the Church of the Resurrection to Gethsemane, it paused for supplication before the Holy Monasteries of St Alexander Nevsky, Praetorium, St Anne and St Stephanos.
Eventually, the sacred icon was lowered down to the Church of the Dormition of Theotokos in Gethsemane and placed behind the Tomb of the Virgin Mary next to the Platytera for veneration by the faithful. There it shall remain for the duration of the divine Liturgy today, but also for the following days and hours until the Eve, on which the Engomia [Lamentations] are chanted, of the day of the Dormition of Theotokos, in anticipation of the Completion of the feast on the 23rd of August, when the procession is resumed, this time from Gethsemane toward the chapel.
After the descent of the icon, a divine Liturgy was also held at the chapel of Theotokos on the Mount of Olives in Little Galilee where it is believed that Theotokos was announced her Dormition by an angel.