Was Mary present at the Ascension

According to the hymn from Evening Prayer on Universal today Mary was present at the Ascension:
“The holy Apostolic band
Upon the Mount of Olives stand,
And with the Virgin Mother see
Jesu’s resplendent majesty”

Is anyone familiar with the basis for this? Was it simply a long standing tradition? Acts states only that Mary was with the Apostles in the upper room after they returned to the city and the Synoptics make no mention of her. I found some current writers who take the approach, given Mary’s relationship with Jesus, “of course she was” or “why wouldn’t she have been

Interesting question. Mary was in the care of John. John was at the Ascension. I would believe Mary was with John.

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Where else would she be?


At home/with relatives/tending to daily chores/elsewhere?

I guess we can ask her when we get there. Certainly the lack of comment by the Gospel writers was not indicative of anything in particular. In fact, there is precious little said about Christ with Mary after the wedding feast until the crucifixion.

It is a bit like asking if the Apostles were the only ones in the upper room on Holy Thursday. I think not, because of what happened Sunday evening; two disciples on the road to Emmaus; and the writer tells us they recognized the risen Christ in “the breaking of the bread” - which to my thinking means they had seen the “breaking of the bread” on Holy Thursday as well as the Apostles. Certainly arguments could be made that since only the Apostles were mentioned, only they were present -whcih doesn’t answer how the disciples would “get it”.

Was Mary there at the Ascension? Possibly yes, or maybe not. There really is nothing said about Christ interacting with his mother after he gave her to John - which doesn’t mean he didn’t’ but that was not part of the kerygma.

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Given the nature of their mission, it was certainly more important for the evangelists who describe the Ascension to emphasize the witness of the Apostles and Jesus’ commands to them. There is some indication that other “companions” or a broader group of “disciples” may also have been present, who are mentioned as with them before and after. Jesus tells them to wait for the descent of the Holy Spirit. This larger group, explicitly including Mary, is then said to join in prayer for the Holy Spirit between the Ascension and Pentecost. It’s not unreasonable to assume it was the same group, including Mary, for the whole timeline described.


Not unreasonable, yes, but still just an assumption (no pun intended here), correct?

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For what it’s worth, she’s also quite clearly in the middle of the Ascension icon:

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For any Orthodox, this would be proof enough.

If I am understanding Orthodox theology correctly, icons are created through their painters, not by them, so any truth they contain would be regarded at least as private revelation, and possibly public revelation as well. I hope any Eastern Christians will forgive my possibly-clumsy language in describing this.

Incidentally, that is an amazing icon, and I saved a copy of the image. I have an Orthodox icon (a copy, not a painted one) in the dining area of my great room, and the gold background picks up any light, even the slightest bit of it, and magnifies it. I never cease to be amazed how I can be walking in here in the middle of the night, with only a small nightlight in the kitchen area, and the icon glows beautifully in the night darkness.

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(Sorry, OP, for going slightly off-topic here)

Of course. Icons are “theology in color” to us. And for illiterate Christians (probably the majority of people in many centuries), they were the only Bible they could “read”.

How beautiful! That is wonderful :+1:

It is indeed. It was an inexpensive ($12-$13 IIRC) icon reproduction that I got at an Orthodox church’s Greek Festival.

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Not at all; in fact it fits in exactly with what I was wondering about. I find icons beautiful as an art form and valuable as sacramentals and actually have a copy of one that was gifted to me resting on a shelf right above the desk where I’m sitting now. I agree that the icon pictured above is further evidence that there exists the belief that Mary was present at the Ascension. I am not suggesting that Mary was not or should not have been. To me it is reasonable and certainly would have been appropriate. I was just struck by how matter-of-factly it was stated in the hymn I came across and was asking (and still am) if this belief is based on an ancient tradition or some other source other than an individual sense of “sure makes good sense to me”

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IMO, it is perfectly logical that mother Mary was there, yes. Just like it’s perfectly logical that she was the first one to see Jesus after the resurrection. My Protestant relatives will scream No! in outrage at both of these opinions, but who cares.

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Mary was at Jesus’ Crucifixion too.
Apostle John became her guardian.
RE: The Ascension - no one was noted by Name …


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