Assumption of Mary
In 1950, Pope Pius XII formally declared the Assumption of Mary to be dogma in an Apostolic Constitution: Munificentissimus Deus. Though only declared a dogma in modern times, the belief has existed in the Catholic Church for hundreds of years. The dogmatic Apostolic Constitution definitively closed henceforth all debate regarding the doctrine, finally declaring it to be an official certainty beyond all possible doubting by the Christian faithful, all uncertainty of speculative theological debate and doubt about it henceforth illicit and heretical. The Assumption of Mary is celebrated as the Feast of the Assumption on August 15.
The Assumption of Mary is also a teaching in the Eastern Orthodox Church (Called the "Dormition" in that Church) and several other churches, but it is not part of those denominations' dogma.
One of the Mysteries of the Rosary is a meditation on The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Fourth Glorious Mystery, the Fourteenth Mystery of the whole Fifteen Decade Rosary. This meditation precedes the final Mystery of the Rosary: The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Queen of Heaven.
Tradition and probable date
Sometime during A.D. 40 to 48, according to a tradition preserved in the east and the west, Mary the mother of Jesus completed the course of her life on earth, and fell asleep; and she was laid in a tomb by John. Then according to ancient tradition, the Lord Jesus took her, body and soul, out of the tomb and assumed her into heaven. Her body has never been found. Two tombs are claimed: one in Jerusalem, at the foot of the Mount of Olives in the Church of the Assumption; and one in Ephesus, the final home of John the Apostle, a claim which has been disputed.
The fact of the assumption of Mary was clarified at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 (mid-5th century), when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople. Emperor Marcian requested that the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Juvenal, bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople so that they could be enshrined in the capitol. But there were no relics. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that
- “Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later ... was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven.”
There has been no universal agreement on whether she actually died. The dogma proclaimed by Pope Pius XIII in 1950 in accordance with the ancient apostolic Christian tradition in the East and the West holds that Mary the mother of Jesus "having completed the course of her life on earth" was taken body and soul into heaven by her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The dogma does not state that she died, it does not state that she did not die, only that she was assumed body and soul into heaven when she had completed the course of her life on earth.
- Genesis 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:11
- The classic form of the Rosary consists of meditation on fifteen "mysteries" of the lives of Jesus and Mary in three sets of Mysteries: the Five Joyful, Five Sorrowful, and Five Glorious Mysteries; the Fourteenth Mystery is the Fourth Glorious Mystery, the Assumption. Pope John Paul II authorized five additional Mysteries, the five Mysteries of Light, making a total of twenty Mysteries, making the Mystery of the Assumption of Mary the nineteeth Mystery of the alternative Twenty Decade Rosary.
- A.D. 40-44, reading between Acts 11:30 and Acts 12:1, together with an apparent allusion in 1 Corinthians 15:51 "Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed". Compare Romans 8:30.
- Tomb of Mary - See the Holy Land (seetheholyland.net)
- See Dormition (orthodoxwiki.org) and Assumption (ewtn.com)
- Apocryphal Works on the Assumption of Mary (newadvent.org) from the Ante-Nicene Fathers
—The Account of St. John the Theologian of the Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God (St. John the Apostle)
—The Passing of Mary:
—First Latin Form Concerning the Passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary
—Second Latin Form Here Begins the Passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Feast of the Assumption (newadvent.org)
- St. Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem (oca.org)
- Did Virgin Mary Die Before Assumption? by Scott P. Richert (thoughtco.com)