Solid Coptic Theology


Yes, August 15, Dormition of the Mother of God (East) and the Assumption (West) are the same feast, different name.



If only name is different, how do you not believe same thing we do?


I would say the only difference is that Byzantine Catholics teach that the Theotokos did in fact die prior to being assumed into Heaven, while Latin Catholics are more inclined to leave that question unanswered.


Funnily enough, proclamation of dogma states that Theotokos did in fact die prior to being assumed into Heaven. It was clarified via Papal Infallibility by Pope Pius XII this way;

By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory

As Pope Pius XII was Latin Catholic I believe we, in-fact, believe same thing in very same way.


I was speaking earlier of the Immaculate Conception. Byzantine Catholics/Eastern Orthodox have a different explanation of the Immaculate Conception than the Latin one.

From the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton:



My apologies, I missread it. From your scource it seems to me that we understand Feast differently yet we hold that she was free from inclination towards sin. However what I am interested in is particulary this:

"She did not become holy in the temple – she brought the grace of God with her. When and how did she acquire it? Human reasoning does not help us there. "

Yet dogmatically binding sentence is:
We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

Now as Eastern Catholics are fully Catholic as much as Latin Catholics, they are faithful. They are members of the Church. Papal Infallibility therefore requires all faithful to hold this if they are to be in union with Rome. I think therefore while Human Reason does not help us to find out where she acquired the grace, God revealed truth to us through His Vicar on the Earth.

While understanding of Original Sin may vary between Traditions, it is nevertheless Truth held by all Catholics. One can not say Original Sin is a lie and be in line with Catholic teaching (of any rite), as one can not say that leavened bread is wrong matter for Eucharist and be in line with Catholic teaching (again, of any rite). We respect our distinctive views on the matter. We live with one view according to our rites, but we do not deny the other- if anything, we accept both but adhere to one.


I’d actually flip that.

The West seems to suggest the lack of death, while the East is OK either way. She went to sleep in the Lord, and that is consistent with both death or not . . .

That is consistent with both death and not–and was designed that way before the statement was made!


I disagree. “Falling asleep” is a euphemism for death. It is not ambiguous. The liturgical texts of the Dormition refer to the Theotokos being laid in a grave.

Apolytikion (First Tone)
In birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As mother of life, you departed to the source of life, delivering our souls from death by your intercessions.

Kontakion (Second Tone)
Neither the grave nor death could contain the Theotokos, the unshakable hope, ever vigilant in intercession and protection. As Mother of life, He who dwelt in the ever-virginal womb transposed her to life.

And from Vespers:

O strange wonder, great and marvelous! * For the fount of life is * laid within a sepulcher; * a
ladder to Heaven’s heights doth the small grave become. * Be glad, O Gethsemane, * the
sanctuary of her that gave birth to God. * Ye faithful, let us cry out, * possessing as our
commander great Gabriel: * Maiden Full of Grace, rejoice thou, * with thee is the Lord our God,

  • Who abundantly granteth * His Great Mercy to the world through thee.


That’s my understanding. My pastor is very emphatic in preaching that the Byzantine Church is unambiguous in teaching that the Blessed Theotokos did in fact die. He emphasizes this every year on the Feast of the Dormition.


Mine points out annually that both death and assumption while alive are consistent with the underlying theology . .


If the question is unanswered then your perspective is not discounted.


I would suspect that her coming was what made the Temple holy.


Oh of course it was her comming, but where did her grace that came with her to the temple come from? That’s solved by dogma of Immaculate Conception.

Also, if Eastern liturgies really implied her death then I believe West should acknowledge that and believe she died aswell. If they do not, I guess it is left to our interpretations.

I mean as much as Eastern Catholics are not just “Orthodox in formal union with Rome”, Latin Catholics are not just “in formal union with Eastern Catholics”. It is perfect union of Church, Christ’s bride. Union of Faith, not perspective.


Kind of, sort of. There are two levels of theology–the theologia prima (first level theology) and theologia secunda (second level theology); in Greek, the two are called, more significantly, “theologia” and “theoria”. The former is the essential, dogmatic level of theology as contained in the Church’s rule of prayer, which is to say, in the liturgy of the Church, for “lex orandi lex credendi”, the rule of prayer is the rule of belief.

Theologia secunda, on the other hand, is the result of contemplation and reflection upon the theologia prima, and its elaboration into doctrine. Doctrine, however, is culturally, historically, and linguistically conditioned–the experience of each particular Church shapes how it understands the theologia prima. So, as Pope Saint John Paul II noted, doctrine is variable, but the underlying dogmatic faith is transcendent; we simply have to be careful not to conflate the two.

Unfortunately, for a number of centuries, the Church of Rome thought of itself in exclusionary terms as the ONLY true Church; therefore, the doctrinal pronouncements of the Church of Rome were often labeled as “dogmatic”, when, in fact, they were particular ONLY to the Church of Rome. Therefore, not everything Roman Catholics consider “dogmatic” really is. It is now understood that, as long as there is agreement on the level of the theologia prima, variety in the theologia secunda is both acceptable and desirable, for a Church that is uniformly Roman (or for that matter, uniformly Byzantine or Coptic) can make no pretension to ecumenicity or catholicity.



This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit