Ascension and Pentecost

Christ and Mary taken up into heaven, the apostles sent into the world

At the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles two events are described that are still commemorated today throughout the Christian world: the Ascension of Christ, and the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. The only event that is not described in the bible, but is celebrated in a way comparable to Christmas, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost, is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Many countries, certainly Roman-Catholic and Orthodox ones, reserve August 15th as a holiday.

The footprints of Christ and apostles speaking 'in tongues'

At the end of the fourth century a chapel was erected on the Mount of Olives. At its centre it has a rock, believed to show the footprints Christ left there when he was taken up to heaven. Many illuminations depicting the Ascension illustrate this tradition, as does the one shown above. Some 90 of our illuminated manuscripts contain a picture of Pentecost like the one included here. Rarely do we see the apostles begin their travels to spread the gospel to the world.

The Death of the Virgin Mary

The bible does not inform us about the circumstances of the death of the mother of Jesus. The stories about it took shape in the first centuries after her death and focussed on three events: her deathbed (Dormition), her body being carried to heaven by angels (Assumption), and her coronation in heaven. Of these three, the last one was most frequently represented in the West. The present database contains almost 50 examples.

The Ascension of Christ; he leaves his footprints on the Mount of Olives -More images

The Ascension of Christ; he leaves his footprints on the Mount of Olives -More images

Pentecost: the Holy Spirit descends upon Mary and the apostles -More images

Pentecost: the Holy Spirit descends upon Mary and the apostles -More images

The apostles depart in all directions to evangelize the nations -More images

The apostles depart in all directions to evangelize the nations -More images

The Dormition: the Virgin Mary on her deathbed -More images

The Dormition: the Virgin Mary on her deathbed -More images

The entombment of the Virgin Mary -More images

The entombment of the Virgin Mary -More images

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary -More images

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary -More images

The Coronation of the Virgin Mary -More images

The Coronation of the Virgin Mary -More images