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Catholic Dictionary




The passing from mortal life into eternity of the Virgin Mary. Although reliable records are lacking on the time, place, and circumstances of Mary's death, the fact was accepted by the early Church. Sts. Ephrem, Jerome, and Augustine take her death for granted. But Epiphanius (315-403), who had made a careful study of the documents, concluded: "Nobody knows how she departed this world." In the absence of a dogmatic pronouncement, modern theologians generally believe that Mary died. They admit that she was not bound by the law of mortality because of her exemption form sin, but it was fitting that Mary's body, by nature mortal, should conform to that of her Son, who allowed himself to die for the salvation of men.