Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Was the Assumption of Mary a belief in the early church? If so, where's the evidence?

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, exercising papal infallibility, declared in Munificentissimus Deus that it is a dogma of the Church "that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." As a dogma, the Assumption is a required belief of all Catholics; anyone who publicly dissents from the dogma, Pope Pius declared, "has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith."

The question is asked because the Bible is silent about this matter.

share|improve this question
What is you definition of "early church?" Do you mean the 1rst 1000yrs...500yrs...100yrs? –  Charles Alsobrook Jul 11 at 19:43
That's because Catholicism created a dogma which cannot be correlated with the Word of God. It's, henceforth, a Catholic tradition and not a biblical fact. Besides, Jesus states only worship God and God only. –  Buhake Sindi Jul 12 at 21:12
@BuhakeSindi Catholics do not worship Mary as a God; they only revere her for her works. –  Matthew Moisen Jul 13 at 0:25
@Matthew Moisen I never said they worshiped Mary. I am saying that their dogma doesn't correlate with the Word of God. Besides, Mary is not a mother of God. Jesus never called Mary mother, but he called her woman. –  Buhake Sindi Jul 14 at 14:27
@BuhakeSindi how do you know Jesus never called Mary mother? I'm sure that's what he learned to call her as a baby, he didn't just call her woman as soon as he learned to talk. –  Bobo Jul 14 at 23:41

4 Answers 4

The belief that Mary was “taken up” i.e. the assumption, after her earthly life was held originally by gnostics and later by Roman Catholics.

Epiphanius in A.D. 377 said that “no one knows if Mary died or not”

Gregory of Tours in A.D. 590 taught the Assumption of Mary not from the Bible nor from the tradition of the church but from an apocryphal gospel Transitus Beatae Mariae of Psedo-Melito of Sardis.

Pope Gelasius in A.D. 494-496 rejected the Transitus Beatae Mariae as heretical and should be avoided by the church.


In the 4th century, the church is unaware of the Assumption of Mary as Epiphanus shows and the first one to teach the Assumption of Mary was Gregory of Tours in the 6th Century who used the Transitus writing of the assumption of Mary which was already rejected as heretical in the 5th century by Pope Gelasius.


The Assuption of Mary is neither patristic nor biblical but heretical per se.

share|improve this answer
Not quite. The original source of the story seems to be the Liber Requiei Mariae, which apparently was in existence by the late 3rd or early 4th century. The Gelasian Decree did not reject this as heretical, it classified the De Transitu Mariae as apocryphal (which allows the possibility that it is derived from inspired belief). –  Matt Gutting Jul 11 at 18:22
"...held originally by gnostics" who believed that Mary was the archangel Michael in disguise as a woman and not a real woman at all. –  david brainerd Jul 12 at 5:04
Please provide sources. –  Geremia Sep 2 at 18:16

Pope Pius XII's 1 Nov. 1950 Apostolic Constitution defining the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mother, Munificentissimus Deus, says "that, since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege." He then mentions the Roman liturgy, Gallican sacramentary, Byzantine liturgy of the Dormition and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mother. St. Anthony of Padua, St. Damascene, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Peter Canisius, and Suarez all never denied it and wrote about it, either directly or indirectly.

share|improve this answer

This article The Assumption of Mary | by Father William Saunders states that [t]he belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother has been longstanding in our Church, and that [i]n Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII cited various Church Fathers to trace the longstanding tradition of the belief of the Assumption.

This would be a starting point.

A similar argument to Peter's on Pentecost for the Resurrection of the LORD, can also be used i.e. absence of a grave.

Please see also Apocryphal Works on the Assumption of Mary | New Advent and The Early Church Fathers on the Assumption [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus], etc.

share|improve this answer

If Mary was really assumpted and if it was of any biblical consequence then why is it not mentioned anywhere in the Bible? in John 19:26-27, Jesus clearly entrusted his mother Mary to the care of his beloved disciple John. John is also the author of the book of Revelation as well as the gospel according to John. He seems to have outlive all the other apostles.

It seems that the gospel of John was written around 90-100 AD (see the following wikipedia article in authorship section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John) . Therefore John who was taking care of Mary would have witnessed her assumption if she was indeed assumpted. If it has not happened then it is of no consequence to the christian faith. On the other hand if it happened but the Holy Spirit did not inspire any of the writers of the new testament to record it, especially John who took Mary home with him from the time of Jesus crucifixion and whose name is associated to five books in the New Testament (the gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation) then it is still of no consequence to the christian faith.

share|improve this answer
Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. This answer needs more support. It needs sources, and citations, if necessary, to support what you are saying. Otherwise, it just looks like your opinion. Please add more to it to make a truly academic answer. Thank you. Resources: Guidelines for writing effective answers and What is a well-sourced, dispassionate answer? –  fredsbend the Grinch Jul 13 at 5:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.