1. Who was at this major event?
  2. What happened?
  3. When did it happen?
  4. Where did it happen?


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Read the story, using the icons of the Nativity, Crucifixion, and Dormition:

Mary was the Mother of Jesus, the Theotokos. God was His Father. When Jesus was a baby, Mary cared for Him and fed Him and gave Him His bath. But, all that time, she knew that this baby was different from other babies: He was the Son of God. Mary spent thirty years doing all the things a mother and wife must do. She cooked and cleaned and scrubbed and sewed. Her bare feet were dusty from the hard work of her little home in Nazareth.

Later, when Jesus was grown, He left home to begin His life’s work. Mary saw little of her Son during the years of His teaching and miracles. But, she still loved Him as  mother loves her child. Mary was at the foot of the cross when her Son, Jesus, was dying there. Jesus saw her and knew how sad His pain and suffering made His mother. He called out to His disciple, John. John was to care for Mary as if she were his own mother. And so, for the rest of her life, he cared for the Theotokos as a loving son.

      After the day of Pentecost, Mary stayed in the city of Jerusalem, living with the disciple John.  She comforted and worked lovingly with the new Christian church. 

      When Mary was about 50 years old, she was sick and dying. She told her friends that she wanted to be buried in Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus prayed.  At that time, all of the apostles were scattered around the world preaching the Gospel.  When they heard of Mary’s dying, they all returned to Jerusalem. Some made the journey by foot; others were miraculously transported by the Lord Himself.  All arrived in time except St. Thomas, also known as Doubting   Thomas.  The apostles are pictured on either side of Mary, St. Peter at the head of the bier and St. Paul at the foot of the bier. With everyone gathered, Mary “fell asleep” in Christ. She died peacefully, knowing that the resurrection of her Son would also be hers.

      Below the bier in the icon we see Antoninus the Jew.  He was an enemy of the Christian community and tried to break up the burial of Mary by dumping over the bier.  An archangel appeared and cut off the hands of Antoninus to keep him from dishonoring the Theotokos.

When Thomas arrived, the other disciples took Thomas to the tomb in Gethsemane where Mary had been buried near her parents, Joachim and Anna.  But the tomb was empty!  The Church believes that Mary was resurrected bodily and taken to heaven, just as we all will be in the future.



  1. Discuss the association of flowers with this feast.  According to tradition, when the apostles went to visit the tomb of Mary, instead of finding her body, they found only the burial cloths and the tomb was filled with the fragrance of flowers.  We bring flowers to church to be blessed and place them at the icon of the Theotokos.  We can then take home the flowers to give her fragrance to our homes.
  2. Why do we fast before Dormition? In a family, when the mother is dying, normal life comes to a halt. Parties, TV – they seem wrong at such a time. All gather around the dying mother. So, in the church, as the Mother of God is on her deathbed, we also come to her deathbed and our focus is away from such things as fancy meals, personal wants, and daily routines. We spend time reflecting on she who gave us Christ, contemplation of her life, and preparing ourselves to live a life like hers.


  1. Play a learning game: Don’t Make a Move – Write numbers 1-12 each on a popsicle stick. Dump the sticks together in a pile on the table. Each student in turn must draw a stick without moving the others. If he moves the other sticks, he loses his turn and the stick is dropped back on the pile. If he does not move the sticks, he must answer a question from today’s lesson. If he answers, he keeps the stick; if he does not know the answer, the stick goes back in the pile. Student with the most sticks in the end is the winner. Possible questions:

Who were the parents of Mary?

Where did Mary grow up?

Who was Mary’s husband?

What is the name of the feast of the falling asleep of the Virgin Mary?

Where did Mary live in Jerusalem?

How old was Mary when she died?

Where did she want to be buried?

Who was present at her death?

Which disciple was not present at Mary’s death?

Who tried to turn over the bier?

Who cut off the hands of the Jew?

What did Thomas smell at the tomb?


  1. Make a Popsicle theater. Background could be a gift box or a 12x18 piece of construction paper folded in half to stand up or a shoebox or shoebox lid. Decorate background with flowers. Then cut out the icon pieces on the next page. Color and tape a Popsicle stick behind each figure. Tell the story with your puppets.


  1. Close with prayer: Lord, help me this week to feel the closeness that Mary felt with You and the love she had for You.