Dormition of Mary, A.D. 41

The Dormition and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Mary, the Mother of God (Theotokos):

The Dormition and Assumption of The Blessed Virgin, Mary, the Mother of God (Theotokos): Dormition means “falling asleep” (according to widely held Christian apostolic tradition, Mary had not personally sinned and therefor she did not “taste death”, she “fell asleep”). Assumption means that her living body was taken up to heaven (i.e., it was not subjected to the corruption being placed in the soil).

According to the non-canonical Gospel of James (written about A.D. 154, and not to be confused with the canonical Epistle of James) Mary was the daughter of Joachim and Anne. Before Mary’s conception, Anne had been barren and was far advanced in years. Mary was given to serve as a consecrated virgin in the Temple in Jerusalem when she was three years old, much like Hannah took Samuel to the Tabernacle as recorded in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 1:28).

Mary is thought to have been quite young (around 14 years of age) when she was betrothed to Joseph (who is thought to have been around 30 years old), and then conceived Jesus by the grace of the Holy Spirit, while she was still a virgin.

Mary appears in the New Testament repeatedly during Jesus’ earthly ministry. She was present at the Crucifixion of Christ (John 19:25). Mary was also present, with the 11 surviving apostles, when Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9), and she was also named as being with the apostles who are praying in the upper room in Jerusalem immediately after Christ’s Ascension (Acts 1:14). This is the last time she is mentioned by name in the Bible.

According to the widely accepted oral tradition of the early church Mary lived 11 years after the Ascension of Christ. The Gospel of John states that Mary went to live with “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, (John 19:27) who is also identified as Saint John the Evangelist (a.k.a. Saint John the Apostle). Irenæus of Lugdunum and Eusebius of Caesarea wrote in their histories that John later went to Ephesus, and that he was the first Bishop of Ephesus. This is in keeping with the early belief that Mary also lived in Ephesus with John. Hyppolitus of Thebes claims that Mary lived for 11 years after the death of her Son, and that she passed away (or fell asleep) in A.D. 41 (so she was 58 or 59 years old at the time of her dormition). According to the anonymous and non-canonical book the Acts of Thomas (which was written no later than c. A.D. 200), Mary’s assumption was witnessed only by Thomas the Apostle (who was miraculously transported from the Indo-Parthian Capital City of Taxila {in the Punjab region of modern-day Pakistan} to Mary’s tomb to witness the event).

The orthodox Christians hold Mary in great esteem (appropriately), not only because she conceived Christ with the Holy Spirit, but also because of the relationship which she must have had with God in her womb (i.e., having the unborn Christ in her womb) which is a level of mystical closeness (union) with God that no other human has experienced !! The first recorded use of term Theotokos (Mother of God) for the virgin Mary is found in the writings of Origen of Alexandria.