49 Facts About St Mary Magdalene


Mary Magdalene was a woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion and resurrection.

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St Mary Magdalene is mentioned by name twelve times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the apostles and more than any other woman in the gospels, other than Jesus's family.

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Mary Magdalene is a central figure in later Gnostic Christian writings, including the Dialogue of the Savior, the Pistis Sophia, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Mary.

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Pope Gregory's Easter sermon resulted in a widespread belief that Mary Magdalene was a repentant prostitute or promiscuous woman.

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Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran denominations.

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Unlike Paul the Apostle, Mary Magdalene left behind no known writings of her own.

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St Mary Magdalene was never mentioned in any of the Pauline epistles or in any of the general epistles.

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That seven demons had possessed St Mary Magdalene is repeated in Mark 16:9, part of the "longer ending" of that gospel – this is not found in the earliest manuscripts and is actually a second-century addition to the original text, possibly based on the Gospel of Luke.

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In either case, St Mary Magdalene must have suffered from severe emotional or psychological trauma for an exorcism of this kind to have been perceived as necessary.

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Since St Mary Magdalene is listed as one of the women who supported Jesus's ministry financially, she must have been relatively wealthy.

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Carla Ricci notes that, in lists of the disciples, Mary Magdalene occupies a similar position among Jesus's female followers as Simon Peter does among the male apostles.

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St Mary Magdalene did not see anyone, but immediately ran to tell Peter and the "beloved disciple", who came with her to the tomb and confirmed that it was empty, but returned home without seeing the risen Jesus.

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St Mary Magdalene says that the story of Mary Magdalene discovering the empty tomb is independently attested in the Synoptics, the Gospel of John, and in the Gospel of Peter.

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St Mary Magdalene contends that the story of the empty tomb was invented by either the author of the Gospel of Mark or by one of his sources, based on the historically genuine fact that the women really had been present at Jesus's crucifixion and burial.

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St Mary Magdalene concludes that the idea that early Christians would have had "no motive" to make up the story simply "suffers from a poverty of imagination" and that they would have had all kinds of possible motives, especially since women were overrepresented in early Christian communities and women themselves would have had strong motivation to make up a story about other women being the first to find the tomb.

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St Mary Magdalene does conclude later that Mary Magdalene must have been one of the people who had an experience in which she thought she saw the risen Jesus, citing her prominence in the gospel resurrection narratives and her absence everywhere else in the gospels as evidence.

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At one point, Jesus says, "St Mary Magdalene, 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".

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Simon Peter said to them: Let St Mary Magdalene go forth from among us, for women are not worthy of the life.

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Gospel of St Mary Magdalene is the only surviving apocryphal text named after a woman.

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St Mary Magdalene answered and said, "What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you".

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Borborites, known as the Phibionites, were an early Christian Gnostic sect during the late fourth century who had numerous scriptures involving Mary Magdalene, including The Questions of Mary, The Greater Questions of Mary, The Lesser Questions of Mary, and The Birth of Mary.

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Mary Magdalene has the reputation in Western Christianity as being a repentant prostitute or loose woman; however, these statements are not supported by the canonical gospels, which at no point imply that she had ever been a prostitute or in any way notable for a sinful way of life.

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St Mary Magdalene had coveted with earthly eyes, but now through penitence these are consumed with tears.

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St Mary Magdalene displayed her hair to set off her face, but now her hair dries her tears.

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St Mary Magdalene had spoken proud things with her mouth, but in kissing the Lord's feet, she now planted her mouth on the Redeemer's feet.

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St Mary Magdalene turned the mass of her crimes to virtues, in order to serve God entirely in penance.

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In subsequent religious legend, St Mary Magdalene's story became conflated with that of St Mary Magdalene of Egypt, a repentant prostitute who then lived as a hermit.

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Not only John Chrysostom in the East, but Ambrose in the West, when speaking of Mary Magdalene after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, far from calling her a harlot, suggest she was a virgin.

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Modestus, the Patriarch of Jerusalem from 630 until 634, describes a slightly different tradition that Mary Magdalene had come to Ephesus to live with the apostle John following the death of Mary the mother of Jesus.

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Some manuscripts of the sermon record that St Mary Magdalene's parents were named Syrus and Eucharia and one manuscript goes into great detail describing her family's purported land holdings in Bethany, Jerusalem, and Magdala.

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Honorius mentions that, out of love for Jesus, St Mary Magdalene repented and withdrew into a life of quiet isolation.

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In western Europe, elaborate and conflicting legends began to develop, which said that Mary Magdalene had travelled to southern France and died there.

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St Mary Magdalene persuades the governor of the city not to offer sacrifices to a pagan god and later persuades him to convert to Christianity after she proves the Christian God's power by successfully praying to Him to make the governor's wife pregnant.

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St Mary Magdalene herself spends the last thirty years of her life alone as a penitent ascetic in a cave in a desert in the French region of Provence.

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St Mary Magdalene was the Samaritan woman to whom He said, "Call thy husband".

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St Mary Magdalene 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.

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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 after which John the Evangelist received his calling from Jesus.

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John Calvin not only rejected the composite St Mary Magdalene, but criticized Catholics as ignorant for having ever believed in it.

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St Mary Magdalene is portrayed as one in Nikos Kazantzakis's 1955 novel The Last Temptation of Christ and Martin Scorsese's 1988 film adaptation of it, in which Jesus, as he is dying on the cross, has a vision from Satan of what it would be like if he married Mary Magdalene and raised a family with her instead of dying for humanity's sins.

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St Mary Magdalene is likewise portrayed as a reformed prostitute in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's 1971 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.

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Lady Gaga's song "Judas" is sung from St Mary Magdalene's perspective, portraying her as a prostitute who is "beyond repentance".

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The latter depictions represent the Penitent St Mary Magdalene, according to the medieval legend that she had spent a period of repentance as a desert hermit after leaving her life as a follower of Jesus.

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St Mary Magdalene's story became conflated in the West with that of Mary of Egypt, a fourth-century prostitute turned hermit, whose clothes wore out and fell off in the desert.

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In particular, St Mary Magdalene is often shown naked in the legendary scene of her "Elevation", where she is sustained in the desert by angels who raise her up and feed her heavenly manna, as recounted in the Golden Legend.

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Apart from the Crucifixion, St Mary Magdalene was often shown in scenes of the Passion of Jesus, when mentioned in the Gospels, such as the Crucifixion, Christ Carrying the Cross and Noli me Tangere, but usually omitted in other scenes showing the Twelve Apostles, such as the Last Supper.

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Mary Magdalene was the first eyewitness of the Risen Christ, and for this reason she was the first to bear witness to him before the Apostles.

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St Mary Magdalene's left hand relic is kept in the Simonopetra Monastery on Mount Athos.

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Dan Brown's 2003 bestselling mystery thriller novel The Da Vinci Code popularized a number of erroneous ideas about Mary Magdalene, including that she was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, that she was Jesus's wife, that she was pregnant at the crucifixion, and that she gave birth to Jesus's child, who became the founder of a bloodline which survives to this very day.

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The extremely late Greater Questions of St Mary Magdalene, which has not survived, allegedly portrayed St Mary Magdalene not as Jesus's wife or partner, but rather as an unwilling voyeur.

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