This is what the sacred tradition of the Orthodox Church of Christ teaches us. It goes without says that we won’t find any of these details in the Sacred Scripture, since these events took place long after the events described in the four Gospels and the other books of the New Testament. One could be forgiven for asking, however, why the Church, on this great feast of the Mother of God, chose a Gospel reading that not only has no immediate connection to the Dormition, but a Gospel reading in which the Virgin doesn’t feature at all. The Mary mentioned in the Gospel reading we just heard is not the Virgin, but the sister of Martha. The same Gospel passage is read on other feasts of the Mother of God. Why, then, do we read this particular passage, which at first sight might seem irrelevant? Of course, in the second part of the reading, which comes from a different chapter of the Gospel, we see a woman shouting, “blessed is the womb that bore Thee and the breasts which Thou didst suck”, but also here, the Lord doesn’t reply with reference to his Mother, but simply makes general reference to those who hear and keep the word of God.
Why didn’t the Church choose a passage that is directly related to the Virgin for today’s Divine Liturgy? I would say that the Church here wishes to emphasize the Virgin’s humanity. What do I mean by this? I mean that, all the various things we say to honor the blessed Virgin, we don’t say these simply because she’s the Mother of God — God didn’t just choose some girl, and then we honor that girl because of his choice. Quite the contrary, God chose her precisely because the blessed Virgin had the virtues and spiritual abilities that were needed in order for her to become the Mother of God. The blessed Virgin, more than any other human being in the world, had understood that “one thing is needful”, and the blessed Virgin “Mary chose this good part” (Luke 10:42). In other words, today’s Gospel, despite the fact that it makes no direct reference to our Lady, describes the virtues by which she became Mother of God. Therefore, when the woman cries out — “blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck” — the Lord’s answer — “blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” — does not mean that whoever hears the word of God is equal to his Mother. In no way! He means that our Lady, more than all others, was the one who heard the word of God, and by keeping this word in her heart, she became able to bear the pre-eternal Word of God in her womb. In other words, our Lady, as a human being, as a member of the human race, acquired the virtues, the faith, the humility, the love, avoided every sinful action, and became worthy of the indescribable work she was tasked with.