Saint Mary Magdalene Coptic Orthodox Church

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About St. Mary Magdalene

St. Mary Magdalene was a Galilean Jew and close disciple of the Lord Jesus. Her name comes from Magdala, an ancient town by the coast of the Sea of Galilee. We do not know the details of her early life, but she was evidently wealthy. She was under the power of demons until she met Christ. Christ cast out seven demons from her and she became His disciple. She followed Him from town to town (she and other holy women such as Susanna and Joanna were patronesses, supporting Him and the Twelve financially) as He and the Twelve preached the Gospel. She would have heard His parables, seen His miracles, and learned whatever teachings concerning the Gospel of the Kingdom Christ was teaching all the disciples (Luke 8:1-2).

When Christ was crucified, St. Mary Magdalene, in pure devotion to the Lord who had delivered her from the power of the Wicked One, stood by His Cross. She went with other holy women to anoint His Body on that Sunday morning. When she found no Body in the tomb and the tomb opened she went and told the Apostles, who also found no Body. Forlorn she stayed in the Garden near the tomb and became the first to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection. He comforted her and sent her to tell the Apostles He has risen. She told them of the Resurrection, and therefore she is called the “Apostle to the Apostles”.

St. Mary Magdalene preached the Gospel and ministered with the Apostles. She went with St. John the beloved disciple to Ephesus and ministered there. She died and was buried in Ephesus. Later her relics were taken to Constantinople. It is claimed that at least some of her relics are in France as well, where part of her body may have been taken.

St. Mary Magdalene teaches us through her life about the renewing power of God. Just as He took her out from under the power of the demons and transformed her into a minister of Christ and a preacher of the Resurrection, He can do the same with any of us. He can deliver our souls and bodies from demons and their intrigues. We then become fit ministers of Christ – servants in the Holy Church of God.

St. Mary Magdalene also inspires us through her life to have a deep devotion to and love for the Savior, for He is Good and Philanthropic One. Once we see the amazing humility and love He showed us, coming among us and destroying the power of death and of the Devil, we should be moved to have a deep love and affection for Him. Just as St. Mary Magdalene waited at the tomb of Christ, longing for Him, so we should stay awake and pray, awaiting and longing for His presence with us and in us.

Different renderings of the icon of St. Mary Magdalene show her holding an egg and myrrh. The egg is a symbol of the resurrection and the myrrh is what she brought with the other women to anoint Christ’s Body after His death.


Doxology of Saint Mary Magdalene

My weak and sinful tongue | will not be able to speak | of the honor of the holy | Mary Magdalene.

Who first followed | Christ our Lord | He cast out of her | seven demons.

Who served our Savior | and His holy disciples | and witnessed His suffering | and His life-giving death.

She came early to the tomb | carrying the myrrh | and stood outside | with lamentations and weeping.

She saw two angels sitting | the Lord also appeared to her | and spoke with her like this | "Go to my brethren...

And say to them | I am ascending | to My Father and your Father | any My God and your God."

Hail to her who preached | the resurrection of the Lord to the disciples | hail to who was ordained | a deaconess by the apostles. 

Pray to the Lord on our behalf | O the disciple of Christ | St. Mary Magdalene | that He may forgive us our sins.