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Assumption, Feast of the

ASSUMPTION, FEAST OF THE: A festival of the Roman Catholic Church, commemorating the assumption, or corporal translation, of the Virgin Mary into heaven after her death. This doctrine, which the Greek Church also teaches (Synod of Jerusalem, 1672), has never been made the object of a dogmatic papal definition, but the attitude of the Church toward it and the general teaching of theologians class it among those truths which it would be rash to deny; at the Vatican Council over two hundred bishops desired a decree making the Assumption an article of faith. The Assumption can not be proved from Holy Scripture, and is based entirely upon tradition, though the scriptural prerogatives of Mary are invoked to prove the propriety of such an occurrence. About the year 600 the emperor Maurice ordered the celebration of the feast on Aug. 15; and at about the same time Gregory the Great fixed the same date for the West, where it had previously been observed on Jan. 18, for a reason which can not now be ascertained. The Gallican Church held to Jan. 18 down to the ninth century. The most that can be said for the antiquity of the feast is that its general solemn observance in East and West at the end of the sixth century would seem to justify the belief that its beginnings date from at least a century earlier. The word “assumption,” at one time applied generally to the death of saints, especially martyrs, and their entry into heaven, has come to have an exclusive application to the Blessed Virgin. See Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

John T. Creagh.

« Associate Reformed Synod of the South Assumption, Feast of the Assumption,, Augustinians of the »
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