July 22 Holy Myrrhbearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene

Read the Life of St. Mary Magdalene here

The Gospel tells us nothing of Mary’s younger years, but Tradition informs us that Mary of Magdala was young and pretty, and led a sinful life.

The Gospel relates that Mary followed after the Lord, when He went with the Apostles through the cities and villages of Judea and Galilee preaching about the Kingdom of God.

Holy Scripture does not tell us about the life of Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection of Christ, but it is impossible to doubt, that if in the terrifying minutes of Christ’s Crucifixion she was at the foot of His Cross with His All-Pure Mother and St John, she must have stayed with them during the happier time after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Thus in the Acts of the Apostles St Luke writes that all the Apostles with one mind stayed in prayer and supplication, with certain women and Mary the Mother of Jesus and His brethren.

Tradition relates that in Italy Mary Magdalene visited Emperor Tiberias (14-37 A.D.) and proclaimed to him Christ’s Resurrection. According to Tradition, she brought him a red egg as a symbol of the Resurrection, a symbol of new life with the words: “Christ is Risen!” Then she told the emperor that in his Province of Judea the unjustly condemned Jesus the Galilean, a holy man, a miracleworker, powerful before God and all mankind, had been executed at the instigation of the Jewish High Priests, and the sentence confirmed by the procurator appointed by Tiberias, Pontius Pilate.

Mary repeated the words of the Apostles, that we are redeemed from the vanity of life not with perishable silver or gold, but rather by the precious Blood of Christ.

Thanks to Mary Magdalene the custom to give each other paschal eggs on the day of the Radiant Resurrection of Christ spread among Christians over all the world. In one ancient Greek manuscript, written on parchment, kept in the monastery library of St Athanasius near Thessalonica, is a prayer read on the day of Holy Pascha for the blessing of eggs and cheese. In it is indicated that the igumen in passing out the blessed eggs says to the brethren: “Thus have we received from the holy Fathers, who preserved this custom from the very time of the holy Apostles, therefore the holy Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene first showed believers the example of this joyful offering.”Liturgical Hymns in Honor of St. Mary Magdalene from the Menaion

Translations copyright by Br. Isaac E. Lambertsen, drawn from the Menaion of the Orthodox Church, in 12 volumes (in English), published by the St. John of Kronstadt Press, 1180 Orthodox Way, Liberty TN 37095; www.sjkp.org.  Authorized only for private devotional purposes.  Further distribution, reproduction, or incorporation into other documents is prohibited without prior permission from the publisher.  All rights reserved.

Adorned with godly beauties and divinely radiant splendors, O Mary, illumine my darkened heart with thy supplications.

The Word of the Father sanctified thee, manifestly delivering thee from the malice of evil spirits. And, becoming His disciple, thou wast filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Filled with life-creating waters from a never-failing Well-spring, the Master Who appeared upon earth in His lovingkindness, thou didst dry up the muddy torrents of sin.

Loving first the First Cause of good things Who in the goodness of His heart hath deified our nature, thou didst follow Him zealously, O Mary, submitting to His divine precepts.

Lamenting, thou didst reach the tomb of the Deliverer, O maiden, and wast the first to behold the divine resurrection. Wherefore, thou didst show thyself to be a herald of the glad tidings, crying out: Christ is risen! Clap your hands!

Possessing a mind devoid of the tumult of worldly vanity, thou didst minister unto Him Who came to save the whole world from deception.

Bathed in thy tears thou didst reach the life-bearing tomb, O Mary, and didst behold the angel, who announced the resurrection of Christ.

Thy heart was blameless in the precepts of Christ, and thou didst desire Him alone, Who is beautiful in comeliness, O right glorious one.

Our first mother, seeing the one who of old deluded her with his words and drove her from paradise trampled under the feet of pure women who have acquired manly integrity, rejoiceth with them eternally.

Wounded with love for Him Who died and was enclosed in a tomb, breathing forth life for all, O honorable Mary Magdalene, thou offerest myrrh to His sweet love, and pourest forth the perfume of thy tears.

After the divine suffering and the awesome ascension of the Savior, thou didst go forth, announcing the word everywhere, as a glorious disciple of the Word, and pursuing the many who were deceived by ignorance.

The dew of thy words dispelled the burning heat of the disciples' grief, O honored one, for thou didst cry out: "Christ hath risen! Our Life hath appeared! The brilliant Sun hath shone forth!"

Behold, thy splendid commemoration hath shone forth, illumining the faithful who hymn thee thereon, and dispelling the darkness of the temptations of the evil demons, O right wondrous one.

Thou hast dispelled divers ailments, having the Word working within thee, before Whom thou now dost stand, O myrrh-bearer, crying out: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, forever!

Before the others thou alone didst behold Christ our life arisen, but thou didst suppose Him to be a gardener, and didst cry out: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, forever!

Splendid was thy life, O Magdalene, and it shone forth with the rays of thy virtuous acts and thy divine preaching at God's behest, and with beams of love for the Creator, to Whom thou dost chant with the angels: Ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Him supremely forever!

Thou didst stand before the Cross, O glorious Mary, beholding the unjust slaughter of Him Who, in His ineffable mercy, had abased Himself; and, overflowing with tears and sighs, thou didst cry out: "What is this strange mystery? How is He Who is by nature Life and hath slain death, Himself put to death and dieth?"

Thou hast now been transported to divine joy, to the broad expanse of paradise, to the noetic and heavenly mansions, where the ranks of the venerable dwell, and where the voice of those who keep splendid festival is heard, O God-bearing Mary. Wherefore, we all call thee blessed.

Nought didst thou prefer on earth to the love of Christ God, and consumed by His beauties alone and following His steps, directly illumined by the rays He sendeth upon thee, O most honored one, thou didst cry out: "Thee do I magnify, O greatly Merciful One!"

Having received God-given deification, having drunk of the torrent of grace, and in godly manner received recompense for thy pangs, O Magdalene, disciple of the Word, numbered with the ranks of the angels, by thy supplication preserve those who honor thee with love.