MARY MAGDALENE

MARY MAGDALENE

Mary Magdalene, also known as Mary of Magdala, is one of the most important followers of Jesus. Her anniversary falls on July 22, and was elevated to the rank of liturgical feast by Pope Francis.

Several quotations and stories can be traced back to the New Testament; however, it is a poorly described figure, and a series of speculations and opaque beliefs surrounded her figure.

So, let’s see who Mary Magdalene was.

First, regarding the origins of the name there are two different hypotheses:

It may derive from the Biblical Greek Μαγδαλήνη Magdalene, "inhabitant of Magdala", a fishing village in Israel located on the western bank of the Tiberias River; or from ancient Aramaic, such as Magdal Torre, symbolizing the importance of Magdalene among her disciples.

Why does today’s tradition remember Mary Magdalene as a well-known prostitute?
Neither the apocryphal nor the canonical gospels bear witness to the fact that Mary Magdalene, the Magdalene, was a sinner of this type.


« Jesus rose, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. »

From this extract, Pope Leo I the Great in the fifth century made a famous homily, joining the Saint together with other women named Mary or even with other anonymous mentioned in the gospels of Luke, John and Mark:
• The different stories we find about an anonymous sinner whose story has come down to us in the text of Luke (7:36-50);
• With an adulteress, also anonymous, whose sins are forgiven by Jesus (Gospel of John (8:2-11);
• With Mary, sister of Lazarus, who had dried his feet in the story and finally with another anonymous woman who poured the ointment on Jesus' head before death (Mark (14:3-9)
Even though in all the previously recalled stories prostitution is never mentioned, the figure of Mary Magdalene was defined as a repentant sinner because of being a prostitute.
Then, what are the seven evils from which the Magdalene would have been freed?
The number seven in the biblical symbolism indicates the totality, the completeness; but nothing concrete is written about the demons from which she was afflicted, so it is not clear if we talk about a moral, mental, or religious illness.

Despite her fame, the saint is described as the "disciple of the disciples" who had a fundamental role in the life of Jesus, so much so that she played a privileged role in the eyes of the Messiah.
Not only she had been the first ever to receive the announcement of the resurrection, but among women she is always the first to be mentioned.
“The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” (Luke 8,2-3);

She is present during the passion of Jesus, on the tragic journey to Mount Calvary together with her mother Mary and her beloved disciple John. She was certainly a very important figure.

MARY MAGDALENE AND THE EASTER EGGS

For centuries, it has been the tradition of many Eastern Orthodox Christians to finish the Easter celebration by painting eggs and proclaiming "Christ is risen!". Eggs symbolize the new Life and Christ’s resurrection.
According to a tradition regarding Mary Magdalene, after the death of Jesus Christ she used her status to be invited to a banquet of the emperor Tiberius.
When she met him, she held an egg in her hands and exclaimed, "Christ is risen!", Tiberius laughed, and said that the probability of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death was equal to the probability that the egg in his hand would turn red.
Legend says that before he finished speaking, the egg in his hand turned red and she continued to proclaim the Gospel through the imperial house.

Discover our Wooden Statue of Saint Mary Magdalene

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