This question is addressed to East Orthodox or Catholics that hold to the teaching of Mary's assumption.

Is there any dogma or tradition concerning whether she was assumed while indoors? And if she was, how could this be achieved if her physical body rose? Surely she could not have just passed through the ceiling with ease.


1 Answer 1


Both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have their own particular aspects or traditions on the Assumption of Mary.

They both, more or less, share the tradition that at the time the Virgin Mary died (or fell asleep), she was placed in a tomb. However, St Thomas was not present when the time came for Mary to pass on from this life to the next. So he asked the other Apostles to see the body of the Mother of Jesus who had been laid to rest in the tomb for a number of days. When the tomb was opened the body was no longer there.

This tradition is quite common in both Churches. They differ primarily as to where these events took place. The Orthodox Church believes The Assumption of Mary occurred at Jerusalem, while the Catholic Church favors the option that it occurred at Ephesus.

St. John Damascene (d. 749) also recorded an interesting story concerning the Assumption: "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; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven." In all, the Patristic Fathers defended the Assumption on two counts: Since Mary was sinless and a perpetual virgin, she could not suffer bodily deterioration, the result of Original Sin, after her death. Also, if Mary bore Christ and played an intimate role as His mother in the redemption of man, then she must likewise share body and soul in His resurrection and glorification. - The Assumption of Mary

The Assumption of Mary into heaven is not a resurrection. In fact we do not even know if the Virgin Mary truly died. Both Churches have traditions on this issue also, but nothing has been defined.

Being assumed indoors should not pose a problem here. St Thomas Aquinas on his Seven Properties of the Glorified Body tells us that a glorified body would possess the characteristic of subtlety and thus be able to pass through material objects like doors:

5.Subtlety: On Easter Sunday night, Jesus appeared to His Apostles, who were hiding out in the upper room in Jerusalem. In Chapter 20 of his Gospel, St. John notes that the door behind which the Apostles were hiding was locked. Then Jesus appears before them in His glorified body. He is not a ghost! Because of the property known as subtlety, Jesus was able to pass through the door of the upper room. Earlier that same day, He had passed through the sealed tomb in His risen, glorified body. Our glorified bodies, while physical and tangible, will be completely under the direction of our souls, free from restraint or impediment. This is Subtlety indeed!

  • 1
    "Both Churches have traditions on this issue also, but nothing has been defined." The dogma of the Eastern Orthodox Church is that the Holy Virgin (Theotokos) definitely died physically. For that reason, what is called the Feast of the Assumption in the Roman Catholic Church is called the Feast of the Dormition (i.e. "Falling Asleep") by the Orthodox. Perhaps I am reading into your use of the word "tradition". "Tradition" in the Orthodox sense does not necessarily mean the same thing as undefined. The hymnography and the title of the feast itself testify to a belief that she died bodily.
    – guest37
    Mar 6, 2017 at 5:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .