In this episode of our volunteer-driven research project “Walking The Way with The Saints”, we focus on St. Mary Magdalene, the “Apostle to the Apostles”.
Daniel Michalski presents his research into her life, and how an encounter with Christ can heal and transform us today.
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 was 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 the 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. He is the 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 waiting and longing for His presence with us and in us.
St. Mary Magdalene’s icon shows 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 with after His death.
“Behold, O Mary, I am the Gardener;Paschal Procession Hymn of the Syriac Orthodox Church
I am the Great One who planted paradise;
Behold, O Mary I am the Revival,
The Resurrection, and the Life of all things
Mary, I am He Who was crucified.
Do not come near Me, for I have not ascended,
But go and announce to all the Apostles
That I have risen from the tomb in glory.”
Stay tuned for the next episode as laymen and clergy present their research on the saints of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
May God bless all of you!
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