Problem with The Assumption of Mary

Someone wrote, “Regarding the assumption of Mary, Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power. Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.”

This is interesting, because Epiphanius of Salamis stated in AD 377 that no one knew Mary’s fate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_Mary ). It was not until the 4th or 5th century that the idea of Mary having been assumed into heaven began to be propogated when apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae (which was falsely attributed to the apostle John) , and Transitus, id est Assumptio sanctae Mariae was circulated. It was not until the the mid 600s that the idea was mentioned in Roman Catholic writings, and not until the 700s that the idea was mentioned in the writings of Orthodox Catholics. In 495 A.D., Pope Gelasius issued a decree which rejected the book which taught the assumption of Mary as heresy, labeling those who put forward the idea as heretics (see Liber qui appellatur Transitus, id est Assumptio sanctae Mariae, apocryphus under books to not be received http://www.christiantruth.com/gelasiusdecretum.html ). In 520 AD, Pope Hormisdas issued his own decree reaffirming the one put forth by Gelasius also condemning the book which taught the the assumption of Mary and its authors as heretical (http://www.christiantruth.com/hormisdasdecretum.html ).

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2 Responses

  1. I came across your blog. Great information. I just wanted to add a few things. As for assumption into heaven, that was a really really rare event, very supernatural and definitely should be worth recording…but its never mentioned by anyone…in fact no one is ever recorded as a witness(1)…if no one saw Mary assume, then how did anyone know that it happened?

    John, the last surviving apostle, who took care of Mary (probably the entire time of her supposed assumption) makes no mentions of that incredible historical miracle!
    Both the early church fathers, Polycarp and Ignatius were direct disciples of John the apostle and probably got all their information from him through apostolic tradition…however, they record everything about Mary which can also be found in the Gospels but nothing about a coronation or assumption. Isn’t that strange??? Why would they leave that miracle out?

    Even Irenaeus who got his info from Polycarp continues to be silent about Mary’s assumption or coronation but mentions everything else about Mary. I’m sure that one can agree that rather sounds unusual to say everything else but leave those events out of the picture. That sounds highly suspicious withholding that information.

    The only reason why they believed she was assumed was because her tomb was supposedly empty on the third day just like Christ. Of course, everything is exactly like Christ. In fact, they even have a widely celebrated feast called the Dormition of Mary celebrated by Eastern Christians to this day stating that she died first and then assumed.

    *** St. John of Damascus (P.G., I, 96) thus formulates the tradition of the Church of Jerusalem:

    (1)St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; where from the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.

    At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. 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.”

    Like I mentioned earlier, there were no eyewitnesses of her assumption and it was based on speculation and not direct observation.
    In other cases, both Jesus and Elijah who were taken into heaven certainly had numerous eyewitnesses.
    With that in mind, how does one know all the details that upon Mary’s assumption she was glorious crowned and all the angels were rejoicing?

    Its like reading a biography of Lincoln that covers his childhood, early life, but leaves his presidency and assassination out of the picture….

    The only thing that would make sense is that it was completely foreign and made up along the way.

    (1) The Passing of Mary was a Latin work in the 7th century with the author claiming to be Joseph of Arimathea and stating that St Thomas was a witness to her assumption
    (1) Catholic Encyclopedia

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