Join the summer reading group Monday evenings at 7:30 in the parish hall. We will be reading Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Copies are available at local bookstores or online. Dorothy Sayers’ translation is recommended. Food and beverage will be provided. All are welcome.
This St. Mary was one of the close disciples of the Lord. “Magdalene” identifies her as coming from the town of Magdala on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, and so distinguishes her from the several other Mary’s named in the New Testament. The Gospel of St. Luke says that Mary Magdalene was among some of the Lord’s women disciples “who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities” (Luke 8.2, and compare Mark 16.9). The Gospels likewise tell us that Mary Magdalene accompanied Jesus on his last journey to Jerusalem, that she was a witness to the Crucifixion (Mark 15.40); and St. John’s Gospel tells us that she was the first witness to the Lord’s Resurrection (John 20.1ff), and that she ran and told St. Peter and the Beloved Disciple. This her status as the first to bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus earned her the traditional epithet “Apostle to the Apostles”. Early tradition identified Mary Magdalene as the woman caught in adultery (John 8), and as the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet before his death (e.g. Matthew 26.6-13), but the Scriptures themselves do not make this identification, nor is there any suggestion in Scripture that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Still less is there any evidence in Scripture or tradition for the recent popular fantasy that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ bride of lover (as in The da Vinci Code). From the earliest centuries, however, St. Mary Magdalene was venerated because of her devotion to the Lord, and because she was seen as a model of penitent love. Likewise the early tradition of the Church, both East and West, was that St. Mary Magdalene died at Ephesus (cf. Gregory of Tours). Her relics are thought by Eastern Orthodox Christians to be preserved at Constantinople, while various churches in the south of France have claimed to possess her relics and have been centers of her cult. Her head is thought by many catholics to be preserved at La Sainte-Baume near Marseille, where a medieval tradition says that she lived as a hermit after fleeing persecution in the Holy Land with St. Lazarus and others of the disciples.