international sales

Advanced Search
Username:

Password:



Statuary St. Mary Magdalene

Filter By:   New Antique View All View Related Projects

St. Mary Magdalene

St Mary Magdalene or Magdalen was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important female disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", sometimes interpreted as referring to complex illnesses. She became Jesus' close friend. She is patroness of apothecaries, penitent women, glove makers and contemplative life.

She was most prominent during his last days. When Jesus was crucified by the Romans, Mary Magdalene was there supporting him in his final terrifying moments and mourning his death. She stayed with him at the cross after the male disciples (excepting John the Beloved) had fled. She was at his burial. In all four New Testament Gospels, Mary Magdalene is the first (either alone or with a group of women) to arrive at Jesus' tomb, where she encounters an angel (or a pair of angels) who instructs her to go tell the disciples that Jesus has risen. She was the first person to see Jesus after his Resurrection, according to both John 20 and Mark 16:9. She was there at the "beginning of a movement that was going to transform the West". Because of her pivotal role in the Resurrection, she became known as "the apostle to the apostles".

Few characters in the New Testament have been as sorely miscast as Mary Magdalene. From the sixth century until fairly late in the twentieth century, she has been portrayed as a prostitute. Nowhere in the New Testament is she described in any but the most positive terms. Her reputation as a fallen woman originated not in the Bible but from a now-declared misstatement in a sixth-century sermon by Pope Gregory the Great.

Mary Magdalene is considered by the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, the Orthodox equivalent of the Western Three Marys.

Name

Historically, the Greek Orthodox church Fathers, as a whole, distinguished among what they believed to be three Marys:

the "sinner" of Luke 7:36–50;

the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Luke 10:38-42 and John 11; and

Mary Magdalene.

Consistently in the four Gospels, Mary Magdalene seems to be distinguished from other women named Mary by adding "Magdalene" (η Μαγδαληνή) to her name. Traditionally, this has been interpreted to mean that she was from Magdala, a town thought to have been on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Luke 8:2 says that she was actually "called Magdalene." In Hebrew מגדל Migdal means "tower", "fortress"; in Aramaic, "Magdala" means "tower" or "elevated, great, magnificent". Talmudic passages speak of a Miriam "hamegadela se'ar nasha", "Miriam, the plaiter of women's hair" (Hagigah 4b; cf. Shabbat 104b), which could be a reference to Mary Magdalene serving as a hairdresser.

In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene is also referred to simply as "Mary" at least twice. Gnostic writings use Mary, Mary Magdalene, or Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene's given name Μαρία (Maria) is usually regarded as a Latin form of Μαριὰμ (Mariam), which is the Greek variant used in Septuagint for Miriam, the Hebrew name for Moses' sister. The name had become very popular during Jesus' time due to its connections to the ruling Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties.

Sources

Primary sources about Mary Magdalene can be divided into canonical texts that are collected into the Christian New Testament and apocryphal texts that were left out from the Bible, being judged as heretical during the development of the New Testament canon. These apocryphal sources are usually dated from the end of the 1st to the early 4th century, all possibly written well after Mary's death. (The canonical gospels are often dated from the second half of the 1st century.)

New Testament

Misnamed a prostitute

Mary Magdalene is mentioned in each of the four gospels in the New Testament, but not once does it say that she was a prostitute or a sinner.

In contrast, the Western (Catholic) church taught for many centuries that Mary Magdalene was the person mentioned in the Gospels as both Mary of Bethany and the "sinful woman" who anoints Jesus in Luke. Therefore, the repentant prostitute became the dominant element in Mary Magdalene's reputation depiction in Western art and religious literature. In art, she is "often semi-naked, or an isolated hermit repenting for her sins in the wilderness: an outcast. Her primary link with Jesus is as the woman washing and anointing his feet. But we know her best as a prostitute."

The erroneous image goes back to a sermon by Pope Gregory the Great in the year 591. Pope Gregory's homily on Luke's gospel dated 14 September 591 made it an official interpretation of the Church that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute:

She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. And what did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices? ... It is clear, brothers, that the woman previously used the unguent to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts."

— Pope Gregory the Great (homily XXXIII)

In 1969 the Vatican, during the papacy of Paul VI, without commenting on Pope Gregory's reasoning, implicitly rejected it by separating Luke's sinful woman, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdala via the Roman Missal.

After so long, the reputation still lingers. Since the error was so widely held and taught for 15 centuries, it became the dominant belief not only in the Western church, but also in some Protestant churches having once been part of the Roman Catholic tradition. The misidentification of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute was followed by many writers and artists until the 20th century. Even today it is promulgated by some secular groups. It is reflected in Martin Scorsese's film adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's novel The Last Temptation of Christ, in Jose Saramago's The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Jesus Christ Superstar, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, Jean-Claude La Marre's Color of the Cross and Hal Hartley's The Book of Life.

It was because of this association of Mary Magdalene having been a prostitute that she became the patroness of "wayward women", and "Magdalene houses" became established to help save women from prostitution.

Seven demons

The four Gospels included in the New Testament have little to say about Mary Magdalene. With a single exception in the Gospel of Luke, there is no mention of her in the Gospels before the crucifixion.

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out—and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

— Luke 8:1-3

According to Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9, Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons". Some contemporary scholars contend this concept means healing from illness. Some scholars regard the reference in Mark as a late addition, and the reference is possibly based on the Gospel of Luke.

According to the apocryphal Gospel of Mary, they may refer to "the seven powers of wrath" spoken of in 8:18-19:

"When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, which took seven forms. The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven powers of wrath."

At the crucifixion

It is at the time of the crucifixion and resurrection that Mary Magdalene comes to the fore in the gospels. Uniquely among the followers of Jesus, she is specified by name (though not consistently by any one gospel) as a witness to three key events: Jesus' crucifixion, his burial, and the discovery of his tomb to be empty. Mark 15:40, Matthew 27:56 and John 19:25 mention Mary Magdalene as a witness to crucifixion, along with various other women. Luke does not name any witnesses, but mentions "women who had followed him from Galilee" standing at a distance. In listing witnesses who saw where Jesus was buried by Joseph of Aramathea, Mark 15:47 and Matthew 27:61 both name only two people: Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary", who in Mark is "the mother of James". Luke 23:55 describes the witnesses as "the women who had come with Jesus from Galilee". John 19:39-42 mentions no other witness to Joseph's burial of Jesus except for Joseph's assistant Nicodemus. John 20:1 names Mary Magdalene in describing who discovered the tomb to be empty. Mark 16:1 says she was accompanied by Salome and Mary the mother of James, while Matthew 28:1 omits Salome. Luke 24:10 says the group who reported to the disciples the finding of the empty tomb consisted of "Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them" (it is not said they all visited the tomb, nor exclude that some might have joined the group on the way back).

At the resurrection

In Mark, Matthew, and John, Mary Magdalene is first witness to the resurrection. John 20:16 and Mark 16:9 both straightforwardly say that Jesus' first post-resurrection appearance was to Mary Magdalene alone. New Testament scholar Frank Stagg points out that Mary's role as a witness is unusual because women at that time were not considered credible witnesses in legal proceedings. Because of this, and because of extra-biblical traditions about her subsequent missionary activity in spreading the Gospel, she is known by the title, "Equal of the Apostles". In Matthew 28:9, Mary Magdalene is with the other women returning from the empty tomb when they all see the first appearance of Jesus. In Luke 24 the resurrection is announced to the women at the tomb by "two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning" who suddenly appeared next to them.

The first actual appearance by Jesus that Luke mentions is later that day, when Cleopas and an unnamed disciple walked with a fellow traveler they later realized was Jesus. Mark 16 describes the same appearance as happening after the private appearance to Mary Magdalene. The gospels of Mark and Luke record that the rest of the disciples did not believe Mary's report of what she saw, and neither Mary Magdalene nor any of the other women are mentioned by name in Paul's catalog of appearances at 1 Cor 15:1. Instead, Paul writes that Jesus "appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve". Indeed, after her disbelieved first report of a resurrection vision, Mary Magdalene disappears from the New Testament. She is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, and her fate remains undocumented.

The Gospel of John and the Gospel of Luke also mention a "Mary of Bethany", who in some Christian traditions is regarded the same person as Mary Magdalene. Mary of Bethany was the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Mary and Martha are among the most familiar sets of sisters in the Bible. Both Luke and John describe them as friends of Jesus. Luke's story, though only four verses long, has been a complex source of inspiration, interpretation, and debate for centuries. John's account, which says the sisters had a brother named Lazarus, spans seventy verses. Though some earlier interpreters blended the person of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalene and the sinful woman of Luke 7:36-50, current scholars believe she was a different person.

Among the women who are specifically named in the New Testament of the Bible, Mary Magdalene's name is one of the most frequently found. In Matthew 27:56, the author names three women in sequence: "Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children." In the Gospel of Mark, the author lists a group of women three times, and each time, Mary Magdalene's name appears first. Finally, in the Gospel of Luke, as already remarked, the author enumerates the women who reported the tomb visit, writing that, "It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them," which once again places Mary Magdalene at the head of the list. According to Carla Ricci, "The place she occupied in the list cannot be considered fortuitous," because over and over Mary Magdalene's name is placed at the head of specifically named women, indicating her importance. The significance of this is further strengthened when one examines the lists of the named apostles. In Luke, the author writes that Jesus "took Peter, John and James." Ricci writes that because Peter occupies the first position in the list, that place can be considered the position of highest importance. As a result, it can be argued that Mary Magdalene must have held a very central position among the followers of Jesus, whether as disciple or in some other capacity.

In art

The early misidentification of Mary Magdalene as prostitute and adulteress is perpetuated by much Western medieval Christian art. In many such depictions, Mary Magdalene is shown as having long hair which she wears down over her shoulders, while other women follow contemporary standards of propriety by hiding their hair beneath headdresses or kerchiefs. The Magdalene's hair may be rendered as red, while the other women of the New Testament in these same depictions ordinarily have dark hair beneath a scarf. This disparity between depictions of women can be seen in works such as the Crucifixion paintings by the Meister des Marienlebens.

There are depictions of her also showing how various artists viewed her and Jesus' relationship. According to Robert Kiely, "No figure in the Christian Pantheon except Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and John the Baptist has inspired, provoked, or confounded the imagination of painters more than the Magdalene." Paintings can offer a deep insight as to what popular culture believed about an individual at a certain point in history. See Fra Angelico's painting Noli me tangere.

New Testament Apocrypha and Gnostic texts

In apocryphal texts, she is portrayed as a visionary and leader of the early movement whom Jesus loved more than he loved the other disciples. Several Gnostic gospels, such as the Gospel of Mary, written in the early 2nd century, see Mary as the special disciple of Jesus who has a deeper understanding of his teachings and is asked to impart this to the other disciples.

Several Gnostic writings, usually dated to 2nd and 3rd centuries, paint a drastically different picture of Mary Magdalene from that of the canonical Gospels.

In Gnostic writings Mary Magdalene is seen as one of the most important of Jesus' disciples whom he loved more than the others. The Gnostic Gospel of Philip names Mary Magdalene as Jesus' companion. Gnostic writings describe tensions and jealousy between Mary Magdalene and other disciples, especially Peter.

Legend of Mary Magdalene

There is evidence that between the time of Pope Gregory I (590-604 AD), until Voragine's Golden Legend and Jacques Lefevre d'Etaples (Concerning Mary Magdalene) in 1519 AD, various versions of the Legend of Mary Magdalene circulated in the south of France and Germany. Odo of Cluny wrote a version in the 900s AD that described Mary's family as nobility. Some of the legends speak of a Mary that went into monastic retreat in a cave for thirty years, communicating with angels. Some of the manuscripts speak of Mary's father being called Syrus and her mother Eucharia, owners of property in Bethany, in others she is depicted as a "sinner" for not marrying John.

Gospel of Mary

In her introduction in The Complete Gospels, Karen King names the manuscripts available for the Gospel of Mary. She writes that only three fragmentary manuscripts are known to have survived into the modern period, two 3rd-century fragments (P. Rylands 463 and P. Oxyrhynchus 3525) published in 1938 and 1983, and a longer 5th-century Coptic translation (Berolinensis Gnosticus 8052,1) published in 1955.

First discovered in 1896, the Gospel of Mary exalts Mary Magdalene over the male disciples of Jesus. The Gospel of Mary provides important information about the role of women in the early church, although it is missing six pages from the beginning, and four from the middle. It is usually dated to about the same period as that of the Gospel of Philip.

The identity of "Mary" appearing as the main character in this Gospel is sometimes disputed, but she is generally regarded to be Mary Magdalene. The Gospel of Mary presents her as one of the disciples, says she has seen a private vision from the resurrected Jesus and describes it to other disciples:

Peter said to Mary, "Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them." Mary answered and said, "What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you." And she began to speak to them these words: "I," she said, "I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to Him, Lord I saw you today in a vision."

Almost all of Mary's vision is within the lost pages.

When Mary had said these things, she fell silent, since it was up to this point that the Savior had spoken to her.

Mary is then confronted by Andrew and Peter, who do not take for granted what she says, because she is a woman:

"Did he then speak secretly with a woman, in preference to us, and not openly? Are we to turn back and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?" Then Mary grieved and said to Peter, "My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart or that I am lying concerning the Savior?"

Mary is defended by Levi:

"But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you to reject her? Surely the Savior knew her very well. For this reason he loved her more than us."

The repeated reference in the Gnostic texts of Mary as being loved by Jesus more than the others has been seen as supporting the theory that the Beloved Disciple in the canonical Gospel of John was originally Mary Magdalene, before being later redacted in the Gospel.

Gospel of Philip

Gospel of Philip, dating from the 2nd or 3rd century, survives in part among the texts found in Nag Hammadi in 1945. In a manner very similar to John 19:25-26, the Gospel of Philip presents Mary Magdalene among Jesus' female entourage, adding that she was his koinonos, a Greek word variously translated in contemporary versions as partner, associate, comrade, companion.

There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister, his mother and his companion were each a Mary.

Others' irritation from the love and affection presented by Jesus to Mary Magdalene is claimed in the apocryphal Gospel of Philip. The text is badly fragmented, and speculated but unreliable additions are shown in brackets:

And the companion of the saviour was Mary Magdalene. Christ loved Mary more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Saviour answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you like her?"

Gospel of Thomas

Gospel of Thomas, usually dated to the late 1st or early 2nd century, was also among the finds in the Nag Hammadi library in 1945. It has two short references to a "Mary", generally regarded as Mary Magdalene. The latter of the two describes the sentiment towards female members of the early Gnostics:

Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go forth from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

When the Gospel of Thomas was written, people commonly assumed that men were superior to women, an attitude consistent with the historical context.

The manuscript gives 114 "secret teachings" of Jesus. Mary is mentioned briefly in saying 21. Here, Mary asks Jesus, "Whom are your disciples like?" Jesus responds, "They are like children who have settled in a field which is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, 'Let us have back our field.' They (will) undress in their presence in order to let them have back their field and to give it back to them." Following this, Jesus continues his explanation with a parable about the owner of a house and a thief, ending with the common rhetoric, "Whoever has ears to hear let him hear."

Pistis Sophia

Pistis Sophia, possibly dating as early as the 2nd century, is the best surviving of the Gnostic writings. Pistis Sophia presents a long dialog with Jesus in the form of his answers to questions from his disciples. Of the 64 questions, 39 are presented by a woman who is referred to as Mary or Mary Magdalene. Jesus says of Mary:

"Mary, thou blessed one, whom I will perfect in all mysteries of those of the height, discourse in openness, thou, whose heart is raised to the kingdom of heaven more than all thy brethren."

There is also a short reference to a person named "Martha" among the disciples, possibly the same person who is named as the sister of Mary of Bethany.

In historical fiction

Edgar Saltus's historical fiction novel Mary Magdalene: A Chronicle (1891) depicts her as a heroine living in a castle at Magdala, who moves to Rome becoming the "toast of the tetrarchy", telling John The Baptist she will "drink pearls... sup on peacock's tongues."

Religious views

Eastern Orthodox tradition

The Eastern Orthodox Church maintains that Mary Magdalene, distinguished from Mary of Bethany and the "sinful woman" who anoints Jesus in Luke , had been a virtuous woman all her life, even before her conversion. They have never celebrated her as a penitent. This view finds expression both in her written life (βίος or vita) and in the liturgical service in her honor that is included in the Menaion and performed on her annual feast-day. There is a tradition that Mary Magdalene led so chaste a life that the devil thought she might be the one who was to bear Christ into the world, and for that reason he sent the seven demons to trouble her.

Mary Magdalene is honored as one of the first witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus, and received a special commission from him to tell the Apostles of his resurrection. She is often depicted on icons bearing a vessel of ointment, not because of the anointing by the "sinful woman", but because she was among those women who brought ointments to the tomb of Jesus. For this reason, she is called a Myrrhbearer.

According to Eastern traditions, she retired to Ephesus with the Theotokos (Mary, the Mother of God) and there she died. Her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are preserved there.

Apostle of the Apostles

Mary Magdalene is referred to as "the apostle to the apostles" from the 10th century. From the 12th century Abbot Hugh of Semur (died 1109), Peter Abelard (died 1142), and Geoffrey of Vendome (died 1132) all referred to Mary Magdalene as the sinner who merited the title apostolarum apostola, with the title becoming commonplace during the 12th and 13th centuries.

Bart D. Ehrman referred to a work by an early anonymous Christian writer (perhaps Hippolytus, a Christian leader in Rome around 200 AD) who in a commentary on the Old Testament book Song of Songs, wrote that Jesus first appeared to the women at the tomb. He instructed them to go and tell his disciples that he was risen from the dead. Then he appeared to his disciples and "upbraided them for not believing the women's report," referring to the women as apostles. Ehrman quotes the writer: "Christ showed himself to the (male) apostles and said to them, 'It is I who appeared to these women and I who wanted to send them to you as apostles.'" Ehrman concludes from this that Mary and the others could therefore be thought of as "apostles sent to the apostles," a title that Mary Magdalene herself came to bear in the Middle Ages (Latin: apostola apostolorum). Erhman further cites Mark 16:8 and Matthew 28:11 as evidence for his proposition.

Darrell Bock also takes the view that Mary Magdalene was not singled out, but was part of a group of women who shared the honour, that for Hippolytus "she was one of a few apostles", stating the term did not originate with Hippolytus.

According to Harvard theologian Karen King, Mary Magdalene was a prominent disciple and leader of one wing of the early Christian movement that promoted women's leadership. King cites references in the Gospel of John that the risen Jesus gives Mary special teaching and commissions her as an "Apostle to the Apostles." Mary is the first to announce the resurrection and to fulfill the role of an Apostle─someone sent by Jesus with a special message or commission, to spread the gospel ("good news") and to lead the early church. The first message she was given was to announce to Peter and the others that "He is risen!"(Mt. 28:7 Mk. 16:9-11 Lk. 24:10 Jn. 20:2) Although the term is not specifically used of her in the New Testament, Eastern Christianity refers to her as "Equal to the Apostles"), and later traditions name her as "the apostle to the apostles." King writes that the strength of this literary tradition makes it possible to suggest that historically Mary was a prophetic visionary and leader within one sector of the early Christian movement after the death of Jesus.

Asbury Theological Seminary Bible scholar Ben Witherington III confirms the New Testament account of Mary Magdalene as historical: "Mary was an important early disciple and witness for Jesus." He continues, "There is absolutely no early historical evidence that Mary's relationship with Jesus was anything other than that of a disciple to her Master teacher."

In his apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem ("On the dignity and vocation of women", part 67-69) dated 15 August 1988, Pope John Paul II dealt with the Easter events in relation to the women being present at the tomb after the Resurrection, in a section entitled 'First Witness of the Resurrection': "The women are the first at the tomb. They are the first to find it empty. They are the first to hear "He is not here. He has risen, as he said." (Mt 28:6). They are the first to embrace his feet (cf. Mt 28:9), They are also the first to be called to announce this truth to the Apostles (cf. Mt 28:1-10, Lk 24:8-11). The Gospel of John (cf. also Mk 16:9) emphasizes the special role of Mary Magdalene. She is the first to meet the Risen Christ. Hence she came to be called "the apostle of the Apostles". Mary Magdalene was the first eyewitness of the Risen Christ, and for this reason she was also the first to bear witness to him before the Apostles. This event, in a sense, crowns all that has been said previously about Christ entrusting divine truths to women as well as men."

On 23 July 2006 Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Mary Magdalene in his address before the Angelus, referring to her as "a disciple of the Lord who plays a lead role in the Gospels." "The story of Mary of Magdala reminds us all of a fundamental truth," Pope Benedict said. "A disciple of Christ is one who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him and has set out following closely after him, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love that is stronger than sin and death."

Roman Catholic tradition

Gregory of Tours, writing in Tours in the 6th century, supports the tradition that she retired to Ephesus, with no mention of any connection to Gaul.

How a cult of Mary Magdalene first arose in Provence has been summed up by Victor Saxer in the collection of essays in La Magdaleine, VIIIe – XIIIe siecle and by Katherine Ludwig Jansen, drawing on popular devotions, sermon literature and iconology. In Provence, Mary is said to have spent her last days alone in the wilderness, fasting and engaging in acts of penitential self-discipline, behavior that was rewarded with experiences of ecstatic union with the divine. Depictions of her last days became enormously popular in preaching and art.

Mary Magdalene's relics were first venerated at the abbey of Vezelay in Burgundy. Jacobus de Voragine gives the common account of the transfer of the relics of Mary Magdalene from her sepulchre in the oratory of Saint Maximin at Aix-en-Provence to the newly founded abbey of Vezelay; the transportation of the relics is entered as undertaken in 771 by the founder of the abbey, identified as Gerard, duke of Burgundy. The earliest mention of this episode is the notice of the chronicler Sigebert of Gembloux (died 1112), who asserts that the relics were removed to Vezelay through fear of the Saracens. There is no record of their further removal to the other St-Maximin; a casket of relics associated with Magdalene remains at Vezelay.

Afterwards, since September 9, 1279, the purported body of Mary Magdalene was also venerated at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, Provence. This cult attracted such throngs of pilgrims that the earlier shrine was rebuilt as the great Basilica from the mid-13th century, one of the finest Gothic churches in the south of France.

The competition between the Cluniac Benedictines of Vezelay and the Dominicans of Saint-Maxime occasioned a rash of miraculous literature supporting the one or the other site. Jacobus de Voragine, compiling his Legenda Aurea (Golden Legend) before the competition arose, characterized Mary Magdalene as the emblem of penitence, washing the feet of Jesus with her copious tears (although it is now believed that Mary of Bethany was the woman known for washing or anointing the feet of Jesus) protectress of pilgrims to Jerusalem, daily lifting by angels at the meal hour in her fasting retreat and many other miraculous happenings in the genre of Romance, ending with her death in the oratory of Saint Maximin, all disingenuously claimed to have been drawn from the histories of Hegesippus and of Josephus.

The French tradition of Saint Lazare of Bethany is that Mary, her brother Lazarus, and Maximinus, one of the Seventy Disciples and some companions, expelled by persecutions from the Holy Land, traversed the Mediterranean in a frail boat with neither rudder nor mast and landed at the place called Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer near Arles. Mary Magdalene came to Marseille and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalene is said to have retired to a cave on a hill by Marseille, La Sainte-Baume ("holy cave." baumo in Provencal), where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of Saint Maximinus, where she received the viaticum; her body was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin.

In 1279, when Charles II, King of Naples, erected a Dominican convent at La Sainte-Baume, the shrine was found intact, with an explanatory inscription stating why the relics had been hidden.

In 1518, on the brink of the Protestant Reformation, the leading French Renaissance humanist Jacques Lefevre d'Etaples wrote arguing against the Western conflation of Mary Magdalene, Mary of Brthany and the unnamed sinner in Luke. There was a flurry of books and phamplets, most opposing Lefevre d'Etaples, but others supporting him. In 1521 his views were formally condemned by the theology faculty of the Sorbonne, and debate died down, overtaken by the larger issues raised by Martin Luther.

During the Counter Reformation and Baroque periods (late 16th and 17th centuries), the cult of Mary Magdalene saw a great, new popularity as the Catholic Church publicized her as an attractive, persuasive model of repentance and reform, in keeping with the goals of the reform Council of Trent (1545–63). Numerous works of art and theater featuring the tearful penitent Magdalene appeared in the 17th century. As part of this new attention to the cult of the Magdalene, in 1600, her relics were placed in a sarcophagus commissioned by Pope Clement VIII, the head being placed in a separate reliquary. The relics and free-standing images were scattered and destroyed at the Revolution. In 1814, the church of La Sainte-Baume, also wrecked during the Revolution, was restored. In 1822, the grotto was consecrated afresh. The head of the saint now lies there and has been the centre of many pilgrimages.

The traditional Roman Catholic feast day dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene celebrated her position as a penitent. The Magdalene became a symbol of repentance for the vanities of the world to various sects. In 1969, the Catholic Church allegedly admitted what critics had been saying for centuries: Magdalene's standard image as a reformed prostitute is not supported by the text of the Bible. They reportedly have revised the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar, and now neither of those documents mention Mary Magdalene as a repentant sinner of ill repute. St. Mary Magdalene was the patron of Magdalen College, Oxford, and Magdalene College, Cambridge (both colleges pronounce her name as "maudlin"). In contrast, her name was also used for the Magdalen Asylum, institutions for "fallen women".

Protestant tradition

Protestants honor her as a disciple and friend of Jesus. Anglican and Lutheran Christians revere her as a saint and may call upon her for intercession. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America honors Mary Magdalene on July 22 as a Lesser Festival.

Easter Egg tradition

For centuries, it has been the custom of many Christians to share dyed and painted eggs, particularly on Easter Sunday. The eggs represent new life, and Christ bursting forth from the tomb. Among Eastern Orthodox Christians this sharing is accompanied by the proclamation "Christ is risen!"

One tradition concerning Mary Magdalene says that, following the death and resurrection of Jesus, she used her position to gain an invitation to a banquet given by the Roman Emperor Tiberius. When she met him, she held a plain egg in her hand and exclaimed, "Christ is risen!" The Emperor laughed, and said that Christ rising from the dead was as likely as the egg in her hand turning red while she held it. Before he finished speaking, the egg in her hand turned a bright red, and she continued proclaiming the Gospel to the entire imperial house.

Another version of this story can be found in popular belief, mostly in Greece. It is believed that after the Crucifixion, Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary put a basket full of eggs at the foot of the cross. There, the eggs were painted red by the blood of the Christ. Then, Mary Magdalene brought them to Tiberius Caesar.

Baha'i tradition

There are many references to Mary Magdalene in the sacred writings of the Baha'i Faith, where she enjoys an exalted status as a heroine of faith and the "archetypal woman of all cycles". `Abdu'l-Baha, the son of the founder of the religion, said that she was "the channel of confirmation" to Jesus' disciples, a "heroine" who "re-established the faith of the apostles" and was "a light of nearness in his kingdom." `Abdu'l-Baha also wrote that "her reality is ever shining from the horizon of Christ," "her face is shining and beaming forth on the horizon of the universe forevermore" and that "her candle is, in the assemblage of the world, lighted till eternity." `Abdu'l-Baha considered her to be the supreme example of how women are completely equal with men in the sight of God and can at times even exceed men in holiness and greatness. Indeed he claimed that she surpassed all the men of her time, and that "crowns studded with the brilliant jewels of guidance" were upon her head.

The Baha'i writings also expand upon the scarce references to her life in the canonical Gospels, with a wide array of extra-canonical stories about her and sayings which are not recorded in any other extant historical sources. `Abdu'l-Baha claimed that Mary travelled to Rome and spoke before the Emperor Tiberius, which is presumably why Pilate was later recalled to Rome for his cruel treatment of the Jews (a tradition also attested to in the Eastern Orthodox Church). According to the memoirs of Juliet Thompson, `Abdu'l-Baha also compared Mary to Juliet, one of his most devoted followers, claiming that she even physically resembled her and that Mary Magdalene was Juliet Thompson's "correspondence in heaven."

Baha'is have noted parallels between Mary Magdalene and the Babi heroine-poetess Tahirih. The two are similar in many respects, with Mary Magdalene often being viewed as a Christian antecedent of the latter, while Tahirih in her own right could be described as the spiritual return of the Magdalene; especially given their common, shared attributes of "knowledge, steadfastness, courage, virtue and will power", in addition to their importance within the religious movements of Christianity and the Baha'i Faith as female leaders.

Speculations

Name

The name Mary occurs numerous times in the New Testament. There are several people named Mary in the Gospels. There also are several unnamed women who seem to share characteristics with Mary Magdalene. At different times in history, Mary Magdalene has been confused or misidentified with almost every woman in the four Gospels, except the mother of Jesus.

"Beloved Disciple" in the Gospel of John

A group of scholars, the most familiar of whom is Elaine Pagels, have suggested that Mary Magdalene was a leader of the early Church. These scholars have even suggested that Mary might even be the unidentified "Beloved Disciple" to whom the Gospel of John is ascribed.

Raymond E. Brown suggests that to make this claim and maintain consistency with scriptures, Mary's separate existence in the two common scenes with the Beloved Disciple were modifications hastily added later to give validity to the gospel in the late 2nd century. Both scenarios contain internal inconsistencies, possibly stemming from rough editing to make Mary Magdalene and the Beloved Disciple appear as different persons.

Identification as Mary of Bethany

In Roman Catholic tradition, Mary of Bethany is identified as Mary Magdalene, while in Eastern Orthodox and Protestant traditions they are considered separate persons. "Mary of Bethany" itself is an anachronism, as she is just referred to as "Mary" both in Luke 10:38-42 and the Gospel of John.

The identification is mainly based on the Gospel of John. The Mary appearing in Bethany is introduced in John 11:1 only by her first name, as if her identity was self-evident. Jesus seems to know her family well and is described visiting them several times. In John 12:3-8, Mary anoints Jesus with expensive perfume and wipes his feet with her own hair, to which Jesus says that it was intended "she should save this perfume for the day of my burial". Following this, Mary of Bethany inexplicably disappears from the narrative, while the earlier unmentioned Mary Magdalene emerges without introduction at Jesus' crucifixion, finding later his tomb empty and being the first to be visited by him after the resurrection. Furthermore, also Mary Magdalene is referred to as "Mary" in the scenes certainly involving her.

The Gnostic texts commonly refer to Mary Magdalene as Mary.

Betrothed to John the Evangelist

The monk and historian Domenico Cavalca (c. 1270-1342), citing Jerome, suggested that Mary Magdalene was betrothed to St John the Evangelist: "I like to think that the Magdalene was the spouse of John, not affirming it... I am glad and blythe that St Jerome should say so." Dominican monk Jacobus de Voragine (c. 1230–1298) in his Golden Legend also suggested that John and Mary were betrothed and that John had left his bride at the altar to follow Jesus, dismissing it as a "false and frivolous tale".

In 1449 King Rene d'Anjou gave to Angers Cathedral the amphora from Cana in which Jesus changed water to wine, acquiring it from the nuns of Marseilles, who told him that Mary Magdalene had brought it with her from Judea, relating to the legend where she was the jilted bride at the wedding following John the Evangelist received his calling from Jesus.

A virgin after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Ambrose (De virginitate 3,14; 4,15) and John Chrysostom (Matthew, Homily 88) have suggested that Mary Magdalene was a virgin after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Buried at Iona

The author Fiona MacLeod reported "there's a story that Mary Magdalene lies in a cave in Iona" .

Relationship with Jesus

Gnostic texts

The Gospel of Philip depicts Mary as Jesus' Koinōnos (κοινωνός), a Greek term indicating a "close friend" or "companion". Mary Magdalene is mentioned as one of three Marys "who always walked with the Lord" and as his companion (Philip 59.6-11). The work also says that Lord loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often (63.34-36). Author John Dickson argues that it was common in early Christianity to kiss a fellow believer by way of greeting, and as such kissing would have no romantic connotations. Kripal writes that "the historical sources are simply too contradictory and simultaneously too silent" to make absolute declarations regarding Jesus' sexuality. Bart Ehrman concludes: "What does the historical evidence tell us about Mary and Jesus?..it tells us nothing at all - certainly nothing to indicate that Jesus and Mary had a sexual relationship of any kind.".

Mary Magdalene appears with more frequency than other women in the canonical Gospels and is shown as being a close follower of Jesus. Mary's presence at the Crucifixion and Jesus' tomb, has been suggested to be as at least consistent with the role of grieving wife and widow.

Proponents of a companionship with Jesus argue that it would have been unthinkable for an unmarried, adult male Jew to travel about teaching as a rabbi.

Medieval dualism

The 13th-century Cistercian monk and chronicler Peter of Vaux de Cernay claimed it was part of Catharist belief that the earthly Jesus Christ had a relationship with Mary Magdalene, described as his concubine. Quote: "Further, in their secret meetings they said that the Christ who was born in the earthly and visible Bethlehem and crucified at Jerusalem was 'evil', and that Mary Magdalene was his concubine – and that she was the woman taken in adultery who is referred to in the Scriptures; the 'good' Christ, they said, neither ate nor drank nor assumed the true flesh and was never in this world, except spiritually in the body of Paul. I have used the term 'the earthly and visible Bethlehem' because the heretics believed there is a different and invisible earth in which – according to some of them – the 'good' Christ was born and crucified."

A document, possibly written by Ermengaud of Beziers, undated and anonymous and attached to his Treatise against Heretics, makes a similar statement.

Also they teach in their secret meetings that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Christ. She was the Samaritan woman to whom He said, "Call thy husband." She was the woman taken into adultery, whom Christ set free lest the Jews stone her, and she was with Him in three places, in the temple, at the well, and in the garden. After the Resurrection, He appeared first to her.

The text in this box was generated from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the CC-BY-SA.

Read More

Title: 4' Carved Wood Or Marble Statue Of St. Mary Magdalene
Item Number: KRNM-A736
Description:
KRMUS-736: Hand carved wood statue of St. Mary Magdalene with high relief details. Shown with an extra rich finish, can also be painted or polychromed to your specificati...
Title: Beautiful Statue of Saint Magdalen
Item Number: KRSS-372
Description:
KRSS-372: Beautiful Statue of Saint Magdalen. These statues are considered by many church professionals to be the finest new statues available today. This statue is hand ...
Title: New Carved Wood St. Magdalene Statue
Item Number: KRCM-77
Description:
KRCM-77: Carved Wood St. Magdalene Statue. New carved wood statue of St. Magdalen with multi-colored paint finish. Also available in hand carved marble or cast bronze uti...
Title: New Wood or Marble Statue of St. Mary Magdalene
Item Number: KRNM-1057
Description:
KRNM-1057: New wood or marble statue of St. Mary Magdalene. All King Richard's furniture is hand crafted to order utilizing the finest quality materials and techniques. O...
Title: New Wood or Marble Statue of St. Mary Magdalene
Item Number: KRNM-1049
Description:
KRNM-1049: New wood or marble statue of St. Mary Magdalene. All King Richard's furniture is hand crafted to order utilizing the finest quality materials and techniques. O...
Title: Beautiful Statue of Mary Magdalene
Item Number: KRSS-60
Description:
KRSS-60: Beautiful Statue of Mary Magdalene. These statues are considered by many church professionals to be the finest new statues available today. This statue is hand m...
Title: Hand Carved Wood Or Marble Mary Magdalene
Item Number: KRNM-A900
Description:
KRMUS-900: Hand carved statue of Mary Magdalene which can be sculpted in wood or marble. Finishes and colors to your specifications. Available in any size over three feet...
Title: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of Mary Magdalene
Item Number: KRNM-A1070
Description:
KRMUS-1070: Hand Carved Wood or Marble Statue of St. Mary Magdalene. Hand carved statue of St. Mary Magdalene that can be sculpted in wood or marble. Finishes and colors ...
Title: Life Size Marble Statue St. Mary Magdalen
Item Number: KRMS-192
Description:
KRMS-192: Life Size Marble Statue St. Mary Magdalen. Traditional hand carved white marble statue of St. Mary Magdalene with high relief details. Dimensions:5, 6, 8, 10 or...
Title: Mary Magdalene at the Crucifixion Statue
Item Number: KROR-347
Description:
KROR-347: Statue of Mary Magdalene at the Crucifixion. Statue of Mary Magdalene at the Crucifixion made of fiberglass resin with stone finish suitable for indoor or outdo...
Title: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of St. Mary Magdalene
Item Number: KRNM-510
Description:
KRNM-510: New Hand Carved Marble or Wood Statue of St. Mary Magdalene. Finishes and colors to your specifications. Dimensions: 4, 5, 6, 8, or 10 feet in height. King Rich...