Assumption of the Virgin Mary

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Assumption of the Virgin (oil painting by Titian, around 1518)

Assumption of the Virgin Mary ( Latin Assumptio Beatae Mariae Virginis , Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary ), also Assumption of the Virgin Mary or Latin Dormition , Dormition , is the feast of the physical Assumption of Mary into Heaven on August 15 , which is held by several Christian denominations is celebrated and is also a public holiday in some states . It has been celebrated since at least the 5th century. Other names are "Consummation of Mary" or "Passage of Mary". At the center of the festival is the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus , takes part in the resurrection form of Christ as the "first redeemed" because of her unique connection with the act of redemption of Jesus Christ , and that with her the future of the whole person with body and soul in an eternal life with God already promised by God is anticipated.

In the Eastern Churches the festival is called “Solemnity of the Dormition of the All Holy Theotokos”, in the Syrian Orthodox Church it is also called “Dormition of Our Most Holy Master, the Theotokos”. The Eastern Churches celebrate the feast on August 15th of the Greek Orthodox and Gregorian calendars or, like the Russian Orthodox Church and the so-called Altkalendarier , on August 15th of the Julian calendar (which in the 21st century was August 28th of the Gregorian calendar is equivalent to). The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates it on the Sunday closest to August 15th. In the general calendar of the Roman Catholic Church it has the status of a solemn festival .

Theological background

Dormition of Mary, unknown Czech master (around 1340-1345)

The feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was introduced in the 5th century by Bishop Cyril of Alexandria . In the course of Christianization, he put it on August 15, the important Roman festival feriae Augusti , the holidays of Augustus : In the middle of August, the Roman emperor Augustus celebrated his victories over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium and Alexandria with a three-day triumph . The anniversaries, and later only August 15, were from then on public holidays throughout the Roman Empire .

The New Testament reports nothing of a bodily acceptance of Mary into heaven. Some scriptures are interpreted as references to this (compare e.g. Rev 12 :EU and the Coronation of Mary ). Belief in the bodily acceptance of Mary into heaven has been attested since the 6th century and was established in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. proclaimed as dogma in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus . The invocation “Queen, taken into heaven” has been inserted into the Lauretanian litany . That of Pope Pius XII. The feast of Mary Queen , introduced in 1954, was moved to August 22nd, the octave day of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary , in 1969 .

The Apocryphal Gospels contain detailed accounts of Mary's dormition: the apostles were raptured from their places of mission through the air to Mary's deathbed; different traditions call Jerusalem or Ephesus . They would have buried Mary after her death - the funeral procession with punitive and healing miracles to Jewish spectators is also described - and the grave was closed with a large stone; but immediately Christ appeared with the angels, rolled away the stone and Christ called out Mary. This writing, which can probably be traced back to the lost writing Transitus Mariae (“Transition of Mary”, written around 400), became particularly important for the liturgical texts of the Byzantine churches .

Even if the expression “Assumption of Mary” is used colloquially in German, the festive secret of the Assumption of Mary into heaven is to be distinguished from that of the Ascension of Christ . In many languages ​​two different terms are used, for example in Latin: Ascensio Domini , "Ascension of the Lord", and Assumptio Mariae , "Admission of Mary". The Romance languages derive their fixed designation from this. However, the Greeks who do not speak of “Assumption of Mary” (see below) use the term ἡ Ἀνάληψις τοῦ Κυρίου for “Ascension of Christ” , which means Assumptio Domini in Latin .

The festival also bears the previously attested name Dormitio Mariae (Latin), Koimesis (Greek) or “Dormition of the Virgin”. In the Orthodox Church, which has never dogmatized the bodily acceptance of Mary into heaven, this term is used exclusively. On the festival icon, Christ receives the soul of Mary (depicted as a baby). In the contact of the festival it says: "The indefatigable in intercessions the Theotokos [...] did not overcome grave and death, because as the mother of life he brought her over to life."

With the after-celebration of this festival, the church year ends in the Eastern Churches, which begins on September 1st with the pre-celebration of the birth of the Theotokos (September 8th).

regional customs

Catholic Church

Assumption of the Virgin Mary, high altar painting by Eduard von Steinle in the princely house chapel of Löwenstein Castle
Assumption of Mary in Novara di Sicilia

The day has the liturgical status of a solemn festival , which takes precedence over a Sunday , so that the liturgical texts of the Marian festival are used at Holy Mass and in the prayer of the hours if the festival falls on a Sunday (as in 2021). In old calendars the festival can be found as Requies Mariae, Pausatio Mariae, our frawn day of divorce , our vrowen day of divorce, our woman's day of divorce, us women's day of divorce, our dear frawn day of divorce, our dear women day Divorce, holy day of divorce through Gots dear vnd the junckfrawen Maria, or in transcriptions as our women's day of divorce or our dear women's day of divorce . In Bavaria it is called the “big women's day” (in contrast to the “little women's day” on September 8th, the feast of the birth of the Virgin Mary).

On this day, herbs are also widely blessed in the Catholic Church ("consecration of herb bushes"), regionally also called Würzbüschel , Weihbüschel, Marienwisch, Würzwisch, Würzbürde or Sangen. Already in documents from the 14th century it says "Our Lady Root consecration". On the Assumption of Mary, the woman in her thirties, which is considered particularly suitable for collecting medicinal plants, begins .

Especially in southern Germany and in Tyrol, solemn pontifical offices with subsequent processions take place in the evenings . One of the most important is the Fatima ship procession in Lindau on Lake Constance with seven ships and around 4,000 visitors. By far the largest pontifical mass with a light procession is celebrated in the Bavarian-Swabian pilgrimage site of Maria Vesperbild . In the summer of 2009 alone, 18,000 believers came.

Since 1640 pilgrimages have been taking place for the miraculous images in St. Marien and St. Laurentius in Warendorf in the Münsterland . The festival is celebrated on the weekend after the festival with a large city procession. In the East Westphalian town of Ostenland near Delbrück, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary has been celebrated with a large procession of lights on the following Sunday since 2010.

In Italy , August 15, the day of the Assumption, is traditionally a non-working holiday called Ferragosto , which dates back to the Roman Emperor Augustus.

Orthodox churches

In the Orthodox churches, before the feast of the Dormition of Mary, the two-week Marian fast takes place, in which meat, fish, dairy products and, as a rule, wine and oil are to be avoided. On the festival day it is customary in some places to pick a bouquet of flowers when going to church for Vespers and to decorate the festival icon with them.

Armenian Apostolic Church

In the Armenian Apostolic Church , the grape harvest is blessed immediately after the festival, which takes place on Sunday between August 12th and 18th. Only then do you start processing the grapes. The origin of the blessing lies in the worship of the ancient Armenian mother goddess Anahit, who developed from the Iranian Anahita . For the Urartian kings in the 1st millennium BC As a sign of their abundance of power, it was imperative that they found a vineyard when they took office. For the following Armenians, viticulture developed into a symbol of national identity, which is why it was linked to a Christian tradition.

National holiday

At the Mainz Synod of 813 , under the direction of Archbishop Richulf, the feast of the Assumption of Mary was added to the Roman general calendar despite a previous standardization of the holidays . Assumption Day is a public holiday in Austria ( Section 7 Rest of Work Act ), the state holiday in Liechtenstein (Labor Act Art. 18 Para. 2), a public holiday in eight cantons of Switzerland (according to Art. 20a Para. 1 ArG ) and in seven other cantons one, at least in some communities, non-working day , in two countries, Germany is at least partially a public holiday; in Saarland according to § 2 SFG and in Bavaria according to Article 1 Paragraph 1 of the Law on the Protection of Sundays and Holidays (FTG) in communities with a “predominantly Catholic population”. According to Art. 1 Para. 3 FTG, “predominantly” is not defined by the absolute or relative majority of the population, but only by comparing the number of members of the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran Church in the respective community. Therefore, the day is a public holiday in Munich, for example, although the Catholic population in Munich is just under a third. According to the population statistics, Assumption Day is currently a public holiday in 1704 out of 2056 (~ 83%) Bavarian municipalities.

The Assumption of Mary is also a public holiday in a number of other predominantly Catholic countries, such as Belgium , France , Italy , Croatia , Lithuania , Luxembourg , Malta , Poland , Portugal , Slovenia and Spain , as well as in the predominantly Orthodox countries of Greece , Georgia and Romania and Cyprus .

In the federal state of Tyrol , the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was declared a national holiday in 1959 to commemorate the liberation of Tyrol in 1809 with the name High Women's Day .


Coat of arms of Santa Maria in Calanca

The Mother of God taken into heaven appears, among other things, in the coat of arms of the parish of Santa Maria in Calanca .


Mass compositions with the title Assumpta est Maria are written for this festival; they refer to the alleluia of the feast “Assumpta est Maria in caelum, gaudet exercitus angelorum” “ The Virgin Mary is taken up into heaven. The company of angels rejoices. ' . Such are z. B.

Marian commemoration day of Protestant churches

August 15th is also associated with Mary by some Protestant churches. Since the idea of ​​a bodily acceptance of Mary into heaven is not compatible with Protestant theology, the day is simply the day of death and thus the day of Mary's remembrance, which is officially included in the saints calendars of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod as well as the Anglican Churches . Before the introduction of the Protestant name calendar , this date was also found in regional Protestant calendars in German-speaking countries under names such as “Mariä Verscheiden”.

See also


  • Assumption of Mary into heaven . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 1 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1993, Sp. 1214-1221 .
  • Stefan Bombeck: The story of St. Mary in an old Ethiopian manuscript. Introduction, critical apparatus, translation, notes and commentary. 2., verb. Edition. Verlag Praxiswissen, Dortmund 2012, ISBN 978-3-86975-068-2 , translation, chapter 8.13.10 f. (CANT No. 150-153) ( ).
  • Graham Greene : Assumption of Mary . In: Graham Greene: Vom Paradox des Christianentums (= Herder Library 31), Herder Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau 1958, pp. 63–79. [Essay]
  • Peter Högler, Petra Högler: Franconian customs around the Feast of the Assumption. In: Blickpunkt Heimat. 3, 1991.
  • Florian Kolfhaus : Stronger than Death - Why Maria did not die. Media Maria, Illertissen 2016, ISBN 978-3-945401-20-0 .
  • José-María Salvador-Gonzalez: Musical Resonances in the Assumption of Mary and Their Reflection in the Italian Trecento and Quattrocento Painting. In: Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography, Volume 44, No. 1–2, 2019, pp. 79–96, ISSN  1522-7464 .
  • Hermann Sasse : Maria and the Pope - remarks on the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. In: Hermann Sasse: In statu Confessionis. Edited by Friedrich Wilhelm Hopf . Volume 1. Verlag Die Spur, Berlin and others. 1966, pp. 205-217.
  • Stephen J. Shoemaker: Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary's Dormition and Assumption (= Oxford Early Christian Studies ). Oxford University Press, Oxford et al. 2002, ISBN 0-19-925075-8 .
  • Karl Spiegel : The Würzbüschel on the feast of the Assumption of Mary in Lower Franconia. In: Communications and surveys on Bavarian folklore. New episode. 26/27 (1911), ZDB -ID 551036-3 , pp. 201-212.

Web links

Commons : Assumption of the Virgin Mary  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gerhard Ludwig Müller : Catholic dogmatics: for study and practice of theology. 4th edition of the special edition (9th total edition). Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2012, p. 507.
  2. Franz Courth : Assumption of Mary in heaven. II. Systematic-theological . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 1 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1993, Sp. 1219 .
  3. Sergius Heitz (Ed.): Mysterium of Adoration. Part [1.]: Divine Liturgy and Liturgy of the Hours of the Orthodox Church. Luthe-Verlag, Cologne 1986, ISBN 3-922727-23-9 , p. 709.
  4. Marion Giebel : Augustus . 6th edition. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1984, ISBN 3-499-50327-1 , p. 59 .
  5. Klaus Schreiner : "Marias Heimgang" (Transitus Mariae) as a source of anti-Jewish pictorial forms. In: Ders .: rituals, signs, images. Forms and functions of symbolic communication in the Middle Ages. Böhlau, Köln / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-20737-3 , p. 244 ff. ( Preview in Google book search).
  6. a b message: Assumption of the Virgin: herb bushes as protection against misfortune. In: . August 15, 2020, accessed August 15, 2020.
  7. Christine Demel et al .: Leinach. History - saga - present. Self-published by the municipality of Leinach, Leinach 1999, p. 182.
  8. a b Georg Herrmann: Thoughts: The High Women's Day as a day of thanks in Tyrol. In: . August 14, 2020, accessed August 15, 2020.
  9. Ascension: Thousands make a pilgrimage on Lake Constance. In: Swabian newspaper . August 14, 2009, accessed August 11, 2014.
  10. ^ Assumption of the Virgin Mary - an Easter festival in summer. (No longer available online.) In: Augsburger Allgemeine . August 16, 2009, archived from the original on August 19, 2009 ; accessed on November 3, 2019 .
  11. Fabian Güth: Great Jubilee Light Procession in Ostenland on August 17, 2014. (No longer available online.) In: Pastoral Association Boke-Ostenland, July 16, 2014, archived from the original on August 10, 2014 ; accessed on August 5, 2014 .
  12. ^ Feasts Related to Mary ( April 19, 2014 memento in the Internet Archive ). In: The Armenian Church, accessed November 3, 2019.
  13. Hripsime Pikichian: Festival and Feast. In: Levon Abrahamian, Nancy Sweezy (Eds.): Armenian Folk Arts, Culture, and Identity. Indiana University Press, Bloomington 2001, p. 217.
  14. ^ Wilhelm Kohl: The cathedral monastery of St. Paul in Münster. Volume 1 (=  Germania Sacra . N. F., Volume 17). 1987, ISBN 3-11-011030-X , p. 413.
  15. Law on Sundays and Holidays. (PDF; 21 kB) In:, accessed on November 3, 2019.
  16. Law on the Protection of Sundays and Holidays. Art. 1 Statutory Holidays Paragraph 1 (1). (No longer available online.) In: Bavarian State Chancellery , June 1, 2015, archived from the original on December 24, 2015 ; accessed on November 3, 2019 .
  17. Assumption of the Virgin. Directory of the parishes in Bavaria with a predominantly Catholic or Protestant population. In: Bavarian State Office for Statistics, accessed on August 13, 2019.
  18. Overview: The high women's day: under the sign of immortal values. In: 2013-2020, accessed August 15, 2020.
  19. August 15. In: Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints . February 16, 2017, accessed November 3, 2019.