Assumption of the Virgin into Heaven

The Holy Mother Ever Virgin whose Immaculate Conception gave her the special rite to rise above mere mortals and ascend into heaven to be crowned with stars and with the moon at her feet is the legend of Asherah goddess of the Canaanites (who was forced into an unwilling “marriage” with the Apiru’s agricultural god YHWH), Astarte of the Assyrians, Ashtoreth of the Sidonians and Bowaney of the Hindoos and more virgins (as numerous as the Virgins in Latin America) held the place that Mary occupies in the church of Rome. But none merited this distinction more than the divinely favored Diana of the Ephesians, a female, from whose body in every part there seemed to be issuing all the various animals of creation, symbolizing the conception and creation of all things, and for that reason was also known as “Eve” or the Mother of Creation who was never created.  She made a mistake only once–and that was the creation of “man” who became a warrior to master the earth and was known as “Adam” (Masters of the Earth). While Diana is best known, in the majority of cities throughout Greece the Queen of Heaven was known as Hestia.

The Egyptians, where the Queen of Heaven was called styled Athor, i.e., the Habitation of God, and the Etrurians had their Isis (a female divinity) whom they regarded as “the mother of the gods,” a term that traveled to the Middle East by the wandering Hindu Apiru (who would later be known as Hebrews), who loved Isis so much that they made special food for her and her progeny (even though she stayed “forever a virgin”). 

The  Hebrew prophet Jeremiah describes the Jews who had rebelled against God as making cakes to “the queen of heaven” (Jer 7:18; 44:17), the very same title that was given to the goddess Juno in ancient Scandinavian and Roman theology. But the ultimate Virgin whose Assumption into Heaven is not one but all tightly woven into the ontology of the Babylonian’s Mary. It is she who is the prototype for the paganism of the Roman Catholic church, for Babylon’s Mary made her spectacular ascent into heaven on August 15–the Feast of the Assumption.

The Babylonian Mary had miraculous powers all on her own–without the need for any intervention by her son/lover who was the god of the people he banded together in quest of war (a “Messiah” for the word means Warrior–not Savior–for he was to lead his people into battle carrying a sword; see: Matthew 10:34), for Babylon’s Mary (See: Hislop, Alexander (1858), The Two Babylons [n.p.]; reissued London, A. &. C. Black, 1932; the Babylonian Mary’s name was Semiramis, wife of King Nimrod, who was reputed to give birth to Zero-ashta, who was destined to bruise the serpent’s head, and in so doing, was to have his own heel bruised.” pp. 58-59) was iconized so that it miraculously shed blood when struck by a stone–identical to the mythology of a painting in Saint Peter’s in the Vatican.  Then, too, not to be outnumbered or outpaced, and to match numerous other miraculous pictures and statues of a mother and child deemed to be the Queen of Heaven and Her Divine Son, there is a picture of a mother and child at Lucca, Italy, which many believed and still confess that when anyone flings a stone at the face of the child the weaping Mother transfers the child to the other arm and thus saves it from injury.  (See: Seymour, M[ichael]. Hobart (1854), Evening with the Romanists, London, p. 254; cp. Seymour, M[ichael]/ Hobart (1848).  A pilgrimage to Rome: containing some account of the high ceremonies, the monastic institutions, the religious services, the sacred relics, the miraculous pictures, and the general state of religion in that city. London: Seeleys.)  The Jesuits, long on piety and short on science, defend this.

Once crowned with stars, and the moon made obedient to her voice, “Mary” became the incarnate of the Egyptian “Mother of God” and Christianity gave birth to a new cult of the theotokos [Θεοτόκος or “God bearer” Ο Θεός στον κομιστή, i.e., “Mother of God” Μητέρα του Θεού, Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D.] restoring the most ancient of myths–the power of a Mother of God whose powers would be greater than any son she would bear as an Ever Virgin.  Pope Martin I at the Lateran Council in 469 declared “if anyone does not confess in harmony with the holy Fathers that the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary is really and truly the mother of God, [sanctus quod umquam virgo quod immaculate Mary est vere quod verum matris of Deus] inasmuch as she in the last times and without semen by the Holy Spirit conceived God the Word himself specially and truthfully, who was born from God the Father before all ages, and she bore him uncorrupted, and after his birth her virginity remaining indissoluble, let him be condemned.” In 1555, the Council of Trent confirmed this dogma in the Constitution of Pope Paul IV known as Cum Quorundam. This ex cathedra (from the chair of St. Peter) declared, furthermore, that anyone who rejected, refuted or wrote against “”the same blessed Virgin Mary is not truly the Mother of God, and did not remain always in the integrity of virginity, i. e., before birth, in birth, and perpetually after birth” would be forever damned to hell.  (See: Benko, Stephen (1993). The Virgin Goddess: Studies in the pagan and Christian roots of Mariology. Leiden: E.J. Brill. p. 203.)

In order for Mary to be divine, it would require her to give birth to divine children, but only her first son has been considered “divine” by Christianity. Yet, the Bible does not even accept this, for Jesus was not considered or ascribed as being divine until after the Resurrection: “My Lord and my God” (John 1:28). Jesus was “flesh.” (1 John 4:2) like any other mortal. And during Jesus’ “incarnation” 

Jesus was not divine during his human incarnation, but “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself ….” (Phi 2:7-8a).

But the mythology of the Queen of Heaven and her Assumption does not stop here, for in every area of the globe where this fantasy took hold of indigenous religions, the Queen of Heaven has a unique symbol:  the Dove, “identified her with the Spirit of all grace …the Holy Ghost.” Mary was a part of the most pagan of all mythologies: the Trinity. The true Trinity was known, even among the various sects of christianity in the first two hundred years as  “God the Father, the Son, and the Virgin Mother.” Only after the conclusion of the fourth century was “the Virgin Mother” transmogrified into “the Holy Ghost.”  To further elevate the status of the Queen of Heaven, the goddess quickly became known as “Co-Redemptrix,” thereby making her an object of idolatrous worship (e.g., the rosary has ten prayers to Mary for each two directed to God). In 1923, Pope Pius XI sanctioned Pope Benedict XV’s (1914-1922) pronouncement that Mary suffered with Christ, and that with Him, she redeemed the human race. And Pope Pius XII officially designated Mary the “Queen of Heaven” and “Queen of the World.”

The early Christian church was divided over the role of Mary. Rome, relying on tithes from rich Romans who adored female goddesses, continued to countenance the veneration and even the worship of Mary. But in 428 CE Archbishop Nestorius, the newly elected Patriarch of Constantinople, began to teach that Mary was indeed the Mother of Christ but was not the Mother of God, a title freely used in the Church over the protestations of numerous bishops and teachers. Although attempting to remain faithful to the Creed, that is professing belief in Christ’s true divinity and humanity, Nestorius’ writings, suggested that in Christ there was more of a moral unity of two persons, the Word and Jesus. In addition to the rebellion of the clergy and people, Nestorius had to contend with the attacks of one of the most venal bishops of the church, St. Cyril of Alexandria, who finally submitted both Nestorius’ writings and his own defenses to Pope St. Celestine. Celestine succeeded St. Boniface I as pope, 10 September, 422 and died 26 July, 432.  He condemned Nestorius as a heretic in subservience to the dictates of Augustine of Hippo who had initially sought Celestine’s aid in composing his difficulties with Antonius, Bishop of Fessula in Africa. This made Augustine suspect–not only of the numerous errors in his theological treatises but questions arose as to whether or not he was even spiritual or just, for Augustine attacked one of the foremost theological scholars of the day: Pelagius who wrote voluminously and spiritedly, supporting his commentaries from Scripture and Tradition.

When Augustine died in 430, Celestine wrote a long letter to the bishops of Gaul on the sanctity, learning and zeal of the bishop of Hippo, forbidding all attacks upon Augustine’s memory on the part of the Semipelagians, who under the leadership of the famous ascetic, John Cassian, were then beginning to gain influence. The Semiplegians, like the Pelagians, led by the saintly Irish priest Pelagius who opposed all forms of Mariology and argued that the church was to minister to the needs of the faithful and not store up wealth, were quickly attacked by this nefarious pontiff.  In this Celestine was aided by Placidia, who, in the name of her youthful son, Valentinian III, banished from Rome the far-more Christian Manichæans and others that Celestine and his female admirer and “close friend” labeled as heretics, slandering them as “heretics who are disturbing the peace.” Celestine not only excluded Coelestius, the companion and chief disciple of Pelagius, from Italy, but procured the further condemnation of the religious group and their congregations from the Council of Ephesus.

Nestorius was among the few authentic Christians preaching about the basic goodness in mortals at the time of Celestine and Augustine were arguing for predestination and the depravity of man. This quickly aroused suspicions of Nestorius’ orthodoxy when he generously received and gave basic hospitality to the Pelagians banished from Rome by its bishop. A little later rumours of Nestorius “heretical teaching” concerning the twofold personality of Christ reached Rome, compelled Celestine to commission Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, to investigate and make a report. Cyril, a subservient sycophant, having found Nestorius openly professing his ideas sent a full account to Celestine, who at a synod of western bishops in Rome (430), condemned the “errors” of Nestorius, and ordered Cyril in his name to proceed against Nestorius by excommunicating and deposing the patriarch unless Nestorius would issue, in writing, within ten days a solemn retractation of his teachings and delete their biblical justification.

In letters written the same day to Nestorius, to the clergy and people of Constantinople, and to John of Antioch, Juvenal of Jerusalem, Rufus of Thessalonica, and Flavian of Philippi, Celestine announced the sentence passed upon Nestorius and the commission given to Cyril to execute it. At the same time he restored all who had been excommunicated or deprived by Nestorius as an attack on the collegiality of bishops (Constantinople was a far older See than Rome) and the beginning of Rome’s audacity in assuming, without real evidence that it was the Primary Seat of Christendom.

Pelagius was one of the truly enlightened heroes of the early Christian church. Augustine (De peccat. orig., xxiv) testifies that he lived in Rome “for a very long time” and won the affection of the laborers and “common” people. Tall in stature and portly in appearance (Jerome, Praef. in Jerem., lib. I and III, “grandis et corpulentus”), Pelagius was highly educated, spoke and wrote Latin as well as Greek with great fluency and was well versed in theology.   (See: Fletcher, Richard (1989). Who’s Who in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England. Shepheard-Walwyn. pp. 11–12.  Cf. The Letters of Pelagius: Celtic Soul Friend; edited by Robert Van de Weyer. (Little Gidding books.) Evesham: Arthur James, 1995.   Cp. Pelagius’s Expositions of the Thirteen Epistles of St. Paul; edited by A. Souter. (Texts and Studies; 9.) 3 vols. in 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922-1931 1: Introduction – 2: Text – 3: Pseudo-Jerome interpolations.)  Though a monk and consequently devoted to practical asceticism, he never was a priest (cleric) which made many bishops who were more warriors than soul saviors and whose mistresses and children were more numerous than most of the laity–and whose advance to the episcopacy was frequently bought or obtained in exchange for friendship with the more venal popes (as was the case with Augustine of Hippo who initially called Pelagius a “saintly man“, vir sanctus) more concerned about Pelagius’ orthodoxy than his scriptural soundness, since Pelagius, rightfully (with full support of Sacred Scripture) denied the novel invention of Augustine: “original sin.” Instead, Pelagius taught that mortals had free will.  (See: Pelagius, Defense of the Freedom of the Will at http://www.seanmultimedia.com/Pie_Pelagius_Defense_Of_The_Freedom_Of_The_Will.html). 

While Rome condemned Pelagius (citing the works of Augustine of Hippo condemning Pelagianism in “De peccatorum meritis et remissione libri III” (Three Books on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins; original Latin in Patrologia…Latina, XLIV, 109 sqq.) in 412, “De spiritu et litera” (On the Spirit and the Letter; ibid., 201 sqq.), and “Definitiones Caelestii” (Caelestius’s Definitions; reconstructed in Garnier, Marii Mercatoris Opera, I, 384 sqq., Paris, 1673) in 414, and “De natura et gratia” (On Nature and Grace; P.L., XLIV, 247 sqq. in response to a letter written by Pelagius to a “virgin”–see: P.L., XXX, 15-45) in 415, in which Augustine staunchly affirmed the existence of original sin, the need for infant baptism, the impossibility of a sinless life without Christ, and the necessity of Christ’s grace), the Eastern Orthodox church, steeped in Scripture and with the majority of Early Church Fathers, remained silent, tacitly agreeing to the Pelagian thesis. When Celestine demanded that Pelagius be silenced, the Synod of Diospolis (Lydda) rejected the bishop of Rome’s call and concluded: “Now since we have received satisfaction in respect of the charges brought against the monk Pelagius in his presence and since he gives his assent to sound doctrines but condemns and anathematises those contrary to the faith of the Church, we adjudge him to belong to the communion of the Catholic [universal] Church.”  (For the text of this synod, see: http://www.seanmultimedia.com/Pie_Pelagius_Synod_Lydda_415AD.html). 

Infuriated by the synod’s ruling, Augustine called on Pope Innocent I, a crafty and easily bribed bishop, to undo the confirmation of Pelagius as “belonging to the communion of the Catholic Church.” One of the reasons for Augustine’s increasingly brittleness towards Pelagius is because Augutine also gave voice to the growing idea of Mary playing a special role in the church–as part of it.  Augustine wrote: “Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her–did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.”  Therefore, he argued, all women were to model themselves after her, be subservient not only to the Lord but to man (in keeping with the misogynism of Paul the Apostle). But he would not go further and declare Mary to be in heaven–as a god: ”

“The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent–the most eminent–member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. The body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine–our head is God.” (See:  St. Augustine, Sermo 25, 7-8: PL 46, 937-938; compare with the greater Mariology of St.  Irenaeus’ argument in Against Heresies: “For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.” chap 22.4)

This Innocent did quickly. Fortunate for history of the church, Innocent I did not live long, and Pelagius wrote another defense that he sent to Rome.

The new pope, Zosimus, was duly impressed and declared Pelagius innocent. Feeling personally betrayed, Augustine of Hippo began a campaign against Pelagius determined to destroy a great thinker he had admired in the past. Still the pope would not ban the Irish monk, so Augustine turned to the civil authority of the state to exile Pelagius as a “disturber of the peace.” Augustine revealed himself to be vain, a power-seeker, and weak in knowledge of Scripture and Tradition who was determined to reshape the church into his own mode that had little in common with the teachings of the Biblical Jesus.

The issue settled around whose virgin supporters could do the most, and with it came the increasing need to have an Ever Virgin in Heaven to help settle the score in favor of Rome. The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholics celebrate the Dormition of the Theotokos (the falling asleep of the Mother of God) on the same date as the West–August 15, but in the East the Feast is preceded by a 14-day fast period (See: Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, in: Festal Menaion [London: Faber and Faber, 1969], p. 64).

How the christian church can justify the Assumption basing its arguments on the Bible is difficult to understand. The Gospel of Mark, generally taken to be the earliest of the four Gospels, mentions Mary only once (Mark 6:3), and the earliest record of the Christian Church, the Acts of the Apostles, also has only one reference to her (Acts 1:14). 

The earliest references to Mary (like Mark’s gospel, the first to be written, or Paul’s letter to the Galatians) don’t mention anything unusual about the conception of Jesus. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke do say Mary was a virgin, but internal evidence suggests that that part of Luke, in particular, may have been added later by someone else (it is written, for example, in a different form or hand of Greek than the rest of that gospel).  See: Pelikan, Jaroslav (1996). Mary through the centuries : her place in the history of culture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

All Biblical references cited by Pope Pius XII are from the Old Testament and/or are taken out of context–the other “assumptions” (Moses, Abel, and so forth) are fables well-known before the Bible was written. It is only after the Council of Ephesus in 431 that we see a dramatic increase in devotion to the Virgin Mary.   A few years after the Council of Ephesus the first Church in the city of Rome was dedicated to the Virgin.   Marian shrine was apparently a sanctuary near Constantinople, where there is a record that the “veil of the Virgin” was venerated from about the middle of the sixth century onward, but this “veil of the Virgin” was a popular myth that dates back to the second century BCE and is a reference to the goddess Hestia.  Only at the Council of Chalcedon, the fourth Ecumenical Council of the Church was The Virgin officially given the title Aeiparthenos: ἀειπάρθενος (ever-virgin) and her virginity at the conception, in partu (during birth: κατά τη διάρκεια της γέννησης; the belief that Mary’s hymen was not ruptured despite giving birth to Christ), and post partum (after birth: μετά τη γέννηση: the belief that Mary abstained from sexual intercourse even after the birth of Christ) affirmed.   Some two hundred years later, in 649, at the Fourth Lateran Council, Pope Martin I (d. 655) declared Mary’s perpetual virginity a dogma of the Church.

The First Jesuit said it succinctly.  The sixteenth century Roman Catholic warrior, Ignatius Loyola, wrote in his Spiritual Exercises, “To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see is black, if the Hierarchial Church so decides it.” (This is the Thirteenth Rule, which is online at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/loyola-spirex.html).

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