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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.

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What is you definition of "early church?" Do you mean the 1rst 1000yrs...500yrs...100yrs? –  Charles Alsobrook Jul 11 '14 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 '14 at 21:12
@BuhakeSindi Catholics do not worship Mary as a God; they only revere her for her works. –  Matthew Moisen Jul 13 '14 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 '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 '14 at 23:41

3 Answers 3

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 '14 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 '14 at 5:04
Please provide sources. –  Geremia Sep 2 '14 at 18:16

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