Of The Falling Asleep of Mary

The risen Christ comes in a chariot to visit His disciples, who worship His hands and His feet (VII). Before the death of Mary, he sends Peter to get the “pure garments” which the Father had sent from heaven (IX). The mention of these garments recurs frequently in the text, and from it we gather that they are holy garments, invested with some sort of supernatural power, made of white linen (VII-IX). Mary offers a prayer at the request of the Savior, in the tongue of heaven. She offers the Amen and the manuscript informs us that the Apostles “were following her” in the prayer (Fragment II, footnote c). The Twelve Apostles as well as women encircle Mary and Jesus, singing the songs of heaven, “even as [they] were taught” (XI). The garments seem to be given in preparation for entrance to heaven, and before Mary is clothed with them her individual body parts are blessed by the Lord (XIII-XIV). Before the blessing, Jesus declares Mary’s purity and as a result the disciples begin to worship Mary. Later, the commission is given to the apostles to preach the gospel in all the world (XVIII).

The text closes with an antiphonal hymn, with ‘Alleluia’ closing each line.


Translation – Forbes Robinson, Coptic Apocryphal Gospels (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1896), 65.

Full Text