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Assumption of Mary
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Assumption of Mary

According to Catholic theology and the ancient traditions of the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches, Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was taken into Heaven along with her soul after her death. This doctrine was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950. The Eastern Orthodox do not recognize the pope's claim to authority over all Christians, nor the dogma of papal infallibility, however they do accept the essence of the dogma of the Assumption.

Mary's passage into heaven is called the Assumption of Mary by Catholics and the Dormition of the Theotokos by the Greek Orthodox Church. Both churches commemorate the event on August 15; in the Roman Catholic Church, that date is known as the Feast of the Assumption, while in the Eastern Orthodox Church it is more often known as the Feast of the Dormition, which means "falling asleep", emphasizing the belief that Mary did bodily die before her Assumption. In Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma he states that "the fact of her death is almost generally accepted by the Fathers and Theologians, and is expressly affirmed in the Liturgy of the Church," to which he adduces a number of helpful citations, and concludes that "for Mary, death, in consequence of her freedom from original sin and from personal sin, was not a consequence of punishment of sin. However, it seems fitting that Mary's body, which was by nature mortal, should be, in conformity with that of her Divine Son, subject to the general law of death" (Bk. III, Pt. 3, Ch. 2, 6). The point of her bodily death has not been dogmatically defined, and accordingly it is not a theological error to hold that, like Enoch and Elijah, she did not die at all, and was Assumed directly into heaven.

The Assumption is important to many Christians as the Virgin Mary's heavenly birthday (the day that Mary was received into heaven). Her acceptance into the glory of heaven is seen as the confirmation of the promise made by Jesus to all enduring Christians that they too will be received into paradise. The Feast of the Assumption, celebrated on August the 15th in both the Eastern and Western Churches, is a Public Holiday in many countries, including France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. In many places, religious parades, and popular festivals are held to celebrate this day.