Assumption of the Virgin Mary

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Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Christian belief that Mary was taken body and soul into heaven at the end of her life. The doctrine first emerged in various New Testament apocrypha of the 4th cent., and on the strength of a passage in pseudo-Dionysius became accepted in orthodox circles by the 7th cent. Finally in 1950 Pope Pius XII, in the decree Munificentissimus Deus, defined it as a divinely revealed dogma. In Orthodox Churches, the belief is generally held but with less precise definition. Feast day in the W., 15 Aug.