Altar mosaic, St. Sophia Orthodox Church Canada – from 6th century church detail; St. Vitale, Ravenna, Italy.
Early Christianity frescoes and mosaics show the peacock… a bird of Paradise… a symbol of immortality. Sometimes it stands beside the Tree of Life. The eyes on the peacock’s tail feathers symbolise our all-seeing God. A peacock drinking from a vase signifies a Christian drinking the waters of eternal life. The peacock also represents the cosmos with its tail of many eyes as the vault of heaven, dotted by the sun, moon, and stars. Joyfully associated with the Resurrection of Christ, the peacock sheds its old feathers and grows newer and brighter ones each year.
What is dying? It is as if putting off a garment. For the body is about the soul as a garment; and after laying this aside for a short time by means of death, we shall resume it again with more splendour. ~ St. John Chrysostom
We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. I was an infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white, I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom! ~ St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
The agony of dying is the effort made by the soul to free herself and run towards the Lord. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with him: for grace and mercy is to his saints, and he hath care for his elect. ~ Wisdom of Solomon 3: 1-9