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Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles

When you hear the word “apostle,” what image immediately springs to mind? Is it that of the 12 Apostles, handpicked by Jesus to carry forth His teachings? Did you know that there was a large group of women who, too, journeyed alongside the Lord Jesus silently and steadfastly, bearing witness to His profound ministry and sharing in His transformative message?

Today, we are going to learn about one such woman disciple named St. Mary Magdalene, the only woman named in all four Gospels.

St. Mary Magdalene, called by the Orthodox Church both Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostle, has a special place in church history. Born in the town of Magdala in Galilee, she played an important role during Christ’s ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection.

At one point in her life, she met the Lord Jesus Christ, who miraculously delivered her from seven demons which were tormenting her (St. Luke. 8:2). Since then she became one of the most faithful disciples of the Lord, who faithfully followed Christ, even to His death on the Cross.

The Gospels relate that St. Mary Magadalene followed the Lord as He and the Apostles travelled across the towns and villages of Judea and Galilee teaching about the coming Kingdom of God. She served Him out of her own resources, along with Susanna, Joanna, and other devout women (St. Luke 8:1-3).

According to the Gospels, St. Mary Magdalene was present at the Lord’s crucifixion, witnessing His terrible death (Matthew 27:55-56 & 61). She remained boldly at the Cross with the Mother of God and the Apostle John when all the Savior’s disciples fled.

Holy Tradition testifies that St. Mary Magdalene remained in Jerusalem with the Mother of God after the Pentecost. After the Theotokos fell asleep in the Lord, Mary Magdalene accompanied St. John the Evangelist to Ephesus and assisted him in his evangelical labors and preaching. There the saint finished her earthly life and was buried.

St. Mary Magdalene is known as the Apostle to the Apostles because she was the first one to see the risen Christ and the one who announced the resurrection of Christ to the Eleven (St. Mark 16:9-10). She holds the utmost prominence among Christ’s female disciples and, in fact, stands as the most significant female figure in the Christian Church, second only to the Mother of God.

In conclusion, St. Mary Magdalene’s title as “Apostle to the Apostles” serves as a powerful reminder that everyone, whether male or female, has a vital role in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. As we reflect on the significance of the apostles’ lent, let us not overlook the significant contributions of women like St. Mary Magdalene. Their unwavering dedication to proclaiming the gospel through both their words and deeds is an inspiration for all believers. May we honor their legacy by recognizing and celebrating the important role of women in spreading the love of Jesus Christ to all corners of the world.

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