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22 iulie: TROPARUL ŞI VIAŢA SF. MARIA MAGDALENA (Gr, Ro, En)

Απολυτίκιο Αγ. Μαρίας της Μαγδαληνής – 22 ΙΟΥΛΙΟΥ

TROPARUL ŞI VIAŢA SF. MARIA MAGDALENA

22 iulie

Pomenirea Sfintei mironosite si întocmai cu Apostolii Maria Magdalena.

Maria MagdalenaMagdala (ou Magada ou Dalmanuta), mic sat de pescari aflat pe tarmul occidental al lacului Ghenizaret, la 5 km de orasul Tiberiada, era patria Sfintei Maria Magdalena. Fecioara cu avere, a trait cu frica de Dumnezeu si cu ascultarea poruncilor Lui, pâna in ziua in care a fost posedata de sapte diavoli (cf. Marcu 16, 9 ; Luca 8, 2). Cuprinsa de aceasta boala si negasindu-si nicicum odihna, ea afla ca Iisus Hristos ajunsese pâna in tinutul ei, dupa ce traversase Samaria si ca atragea multimi multe dupa El, prin minunile pe care Le savârsea si prin invatatura Sa cea cereasca. Plina de speranta, ea alerga spre El si, asistând la minunea inmultirii pâinilor si a pestilor, in numar suficient de mare pentru a hrani peste 4 000 de oameni (Matei 15, 30-39), se arunca la picioarele Mântuitorului si ii ceru sa o conduca pe calea vietii vesnice.

Izbavita din aceasta incercare, ea renunta la bunurile sale si la orice atasament la lume pentru a-l urma pe Iisus in toate periplurile sale, impreuna cu Apostolii, Maica Domnului si alte femei pioase care se pusesera in serviciul Lui dupa ce au fost vindecate de el din diverse boli. : Maria, mama lui Iacov cel mic si al lui Ioset, Maria lui Cleopa, Ioana, sotia lui Huza ; Suzana si Salomea, mama fiilor lui Zevedeu.

Când si-a terminat misiunea in Galileea, Domnul Se indrepta catre Ierusalim, in ciuda atentionarilor primite din partea celor apropiati. Maria Magdalena il urma fara ezitare si se imprieteni cu Marta si Maria din Betania. Pe când Domnul tocmai eliberase un posedat care era mut si afirma ca el alunga demonii prin Duhul lui Dumnezeu, o voce se ridica din multime si striga : ” Fericit pântecele care Te-a purtat si sânul care Te-a alaptat ! „( Luca 11, 27). Acest glas se presupune a fi fost cel al Mariei Magdalena.  Ea asistase si la invierea lui Lazar si atunci fu intarita in credinta sa in Fiul lui Dumnezeu. In timp ce ceilalti discipoli isi abandonasera Invatatorul in momentul arestarii Sale, ea il urma pâna in curtea marelui preot apoi la tribunalul lui Pilat, asista la procesul Sau nedrept, la Patimile sale si ramase lânga Cruce, impreuna cu Maica Domnului si cu Sfântul Ioan Teologul (Ioan 19, 25).

Totul fiind de-acum indeplinit si sângele Mântuitorului fiind scurs din coasta Sa pentru a curati pamântul, Maria isi invinse durerea si lua initiativa ingroparii Lui. Stiind ca nobilul sfatuitor Iosif din Arimateea (cf. 31 iulie) sapase nu departe un mormânt nou in stânca, ea se duse sa il gaseasca si il convinse sa ii cedeze acel mormânt pentru a-l ingropa pe cel omorât pe Cruce. Incurajat de credinta hotarâta a acestei femei, Iosif obtinu din partea lui Pilat autorizarea in acest sens si impreuna cu Nicodim, membru al Sanhedrinului care era discipol in ascuns al lui Iisus, coborî Trupul de pe Cruce si il infasura intr-un giulgiu pentru a-l depune in mormânt. Maria Magdalena si Maica Domnului asistau la aceasta scena si au cântat atunci un imn de inmormântare, insotit de lacrimi, in care stralucea totusi nadejdea lor in Inviere (acest cântec funebru este tema Slujbei Utreniei a Sâmbetei Mari). Dupa ce mormântul a fost inchis cu o piatra mare ce fusese rostogolita pâna la intrare, Iosif si Nicodim se retrasera dar cele doua femei Sfinte ramasera asezate, in lacrimi in fata mormântului, pâna târziu in noapte. Parasind locul, ele se hotarâra ca imediat dupa ce se termina odihna Sabbatului sa vina inapoi la mormânt cu bune miresme pentru a mai imbalsama o data trupul Mântuitorului (Marcu 16 :1).

Dupa ce au tinut odihna dupa lege, la cântatul cocosului, in timp ce prima zi a saptamânii abia incepea sa se zareasca, Maria Magdalena si ” cealalta Marie ” (Dupa Sfântul Roman Melodicul si Sfântul Grigore Palama, ” cealalta Marie ” nu putea fi decât Maica Domnului, caci se cadea ca ea sa fie prima care sa se bucure de Invierea fiului Sau. Pentru majoritatea Parintilor insa, Maria Magdalena e cea care l-ar fi vazut prima pe Domnul, conform cuvintelor Evangheliei (Marcu 16 :9), ” cealalta Marie ” fiind Maria, mama lui Iacov. Scriitorii ecleziasti au incercat sa concilieze in moduri diferite istorisirile divergente ale Evangheliilor despre vizita sau vizitele la mormânt ale Sfintelor Mironosite.) venira la mormânt. Un Inger stralucitor li se arata, insotit de o cutremurare a pamântului si le vesti ca Iisus nu se mai afla inauntru, si ca inviase  (Matei 28 :1). Tulburate cu totul, nu privira macar mormântul si alergara sa duca Apostolilor vestea. Domnul inviat li se arata pe cale si le saluta zicând : ” Bucurati-va ! „. Trebuia intr-adevar ca El sa anunte unei femei eliberarea de natura noastra, cazuta si condamnata la suferinta ca urmare a greselii Evei.

Auzindu-le istorisirea, Apostolii au crezut ca ele delirau. Petru insa alerga pâna la mormânt si, aplecându-se vazu numai niste fâsii de giulgiu ce se mai gaseau inauntru si se retrase surprins. Ziua se ridicase, Maria Magdalena se duse la fata locului pentru a doua oara  pentru a se convinge ca nu fusese vreo vedenie. Constatând ca mormântul era intr-adevar gol, ea se duse de-a dreptul la Petru si Ioan sa ii anunte, care alergara si ei la locul cu pricina. Dupa plecarea celor doi discipoli, ea ramase singura lânga mormânt intrebându-se cine putea sa fi ridicat trupul (Ioan 20 :11). Doi Ingeri invesmântati in alb se aratara atunci pe locul unde fusesera capul si picioarele Domnului si o intrebara de ce plângea. In timp ce le raspundea, Ingerii se ridicara dintr-odata, cu respect. Maria se intoarse si il vazu pe Iisus care ii puse aceeasi intrebare. Luându-l drept gradinarul locurilor, ea intreba daca El era cel care scosese trupul afara. Dar imediat ce Iisus a chemat-o cu numele sau : „Maria”, recunoscând glasul prea-iubitului sau Domn, ea striga : ” Rabbuni ! (Invatatorule) ! ” si voi sa i Se arunce la picioare pentru a le saruta. Voind sa o aduca la o intelegere mai profunda a starii in care se gasea Trupul lui dupa Inviere, Iisus ii spuse : ” Nu ma atinge, pentru ca inca nu m-am urcat la Tatal ! „. Si o trimise sa vesteasca ” fratilor ” Sai ceea ce vazuse.

Devenita pentru a treia oara ” apostol al Apostolilor „, Maria Magdalena ramase cu discipolii si cu Maica Domnului, bucurându-se cu ei. Ea era probabil prezenta si pe Muntele Maslinilor, la Inaltare, precum si in foisor, in ziua Rusaliilor, când Duhul Sfânt coborâ in forma de limbi de foc (Faptele Apostolilor 2).

Se povesteste ca Sfânta a parasit apoi Ierusalimul pentru a se duce la Roma si a cere acolo dreptate imparatului Tiberiu pentru condamnarea nedreapta pronuntata de Pilat. – Aceasta istorisire despre razbunarea impotriva lui Pilat si despre moartea sa nu se gaseste decât la Sfântul Simion Metafrastul, probabil sub influenta Evangheliei apocrife a lui Nicodim (Actele lui Pilat, secolul V) care pune in scena pe Sfânta Veronica. In anul 36, Pilat fu destituit din functie si trimis inapoi la Roma pentru a da seama de proasta sa administratie, in timpul careia se inregistrasera din plin provocari, violente si executii arbitrare. Dupa Eusebiu al Cezareii, el s-ar fi sinucis (Istoria ecleziastica II, 7) sau a fost poate executat. Diferite traditii apocrife au incercat sa il reabiliteze pe Pilat, presupunând chiar ca el s-ar fi convertit, si ele arunca asupra iudeilor toata responsabilitatea Patimilor. Prezentându-se in fata imparatului cu un ou in mâna, ea ii spuse ca dupa ce a suferit Patimile, Hristos inviase, aducând tuturor oamenilor fagaduinta invierii ; iar oul se colora atunci in rosu (de aici vin traditia oualor rosii de Pasti). Suveranul ii asculta cererea si il convoca pe Pilat, precum si pe marii preoti Ana si Caiafa. Caiafa muri pe drum, in Creta ; iar Ana, fu torturat fiind inchis intr-o piele de bivol. Pilat, prezentându-se la tribunalul imparatului, incerca sa se justifice prin presiunile iudeilor si riscul de revolta impotriva autoritatii de la Roma. Dar Cezar ramase insensibil la apologia lui si porunci sa fie aruncat in inchisoare. Se relateaza ca, urmarind un cerb in timpul unei partide de vânatoare, organizata de prietenii lui Pilat nu departe de inchisoare, imparatul arunca din arc o sageata care se infipse drept in inima lui Pilat.

Revenita la Ierusalim, Maria Magdalena urma invatatura Sfântului Petru. Patru ani trecusera de la Inviere, Apostolii se imprastiasera  in diverse regiuni ale lumii, Maria Magdalena impreuna cu Sfântul Maxim, unul din cei 70 de discipoli, se duse sa predice Vestea cea Buna. Fura arestati la scurt timp de catre iudei si parasiti, cu alti Crestini, in mijlocul marii, fara hrana, pe o corabie fara pânze si fara vâsle. Ambarcatiunea fu insa condusa de Hristos, Pilotul Mântuirii noastre, pâna la Marsilia, in Galia (Franta). Debarcând vii si nevatamati, Sfintii Apostoli suferira foamete, sete si dispret din partea locuitorilor locului, pagâni care nu ii ajutau in nici un fel. Intr-o zi in care acestia erau adunati pentru unul din sacrificiile lor idolicesti, Sfânta Maria Magdalena se amesteca plina de curaj in adunare  si ii incuraja sa recunoasca pe singur Dumnezeu, Facatorul ceurului si al pamântului. Minunati de forta ei si de iluminarea fetei sale, pagânii o ascultara. Ea repeta discursul si in fata guvernatorului roman al provinciei, Ipatie, care venise impreuna cu sotia sa sa aduca jertfa idolilor, pentru ca sa aiba un copil. Mai intâi reticent, Ipatie, dupa trei aparitii ale Sfintei, o primi pe Maria si pe cei care o insoteau in palatul sau si ceru sa fie invatat in invatatura lor. Prin mijlocirea Mariei, el obtinu un copil dar sotia lui muri când il aduse pe lume. Dupa un scurt sejur la Roma, Ipatie facu un pelerinaj la Ierusalim ; dar razgândindu-se deodata, se hotarâ sa se intoarca in locul in care isi ingropase sotia si pruncul. Mare ii fu mirarea când ii gasi vii si afla ca ei supravietuisera prin rugaciunile si grijile Sfintei Maria Magdalena ! Aducând rugaciune de multumire lui Dumnezeu, magistratul si toata casa lui se botezara atunci si devenira ferventi proclamatori ai Adevarului.

Parasind Galia, Sfânta Maria Magdalena isi continua periplurile misionare in Egipt, Fenicia, Siria, Pamfilia si alte locuri, raspândind peste tot buna mireasma a lui Hristos. Ea petrecu o vreme la Ierusalim, apoi pleca la Efes unde il regasi pe Sfântul Ioan Teologul, impartasind cu el aceleasi incercari si bucurându-se de invataturile sale de inspiratie dumnezeiasca.

Indeplinindu-si misiunea pe care i-o incredintase Domnul, ea isi dadu sufletul lui Dumnezeu, dupa o scurta boala, si fu ingropata la intrarea pesterii, unde adormira apoi cei Sapte Copii (cf. 4 august). Numeroase miracole s-au produs in acest loc pâna in ziua in care, aproape zece secole mai târziu (899), piosul imparat Leon VI cel Intelept porunci sa fie mutate la Constantinopol Moastele Sfintei Celei-Intocmai-Cu-Apostolii. El le facu o primire evlavioasa, in prezenta intregului popor si purtându-le pe umerii sai, ajutat de fratele sau Alexandru, el se duse sa le depuna in partea stânga a Altarului manastirii Sfântul Lazar, pe care o ctitorise.

Supravietuind peripetiilor istoriei, mâna stânga a Sfintei Mironosite, care emana o aroma dulce, e si astazi cinstita cu inchinare la Manastirea atonita din Simonos Petra, care o cinsteste pe Sfânta Maria Magdalena ca a doua sa fondatoare.

Traditia occidentala, de la Grigorie cel Mare incoace, a asimilat-o pe Maria Magdalena cu pacatoasa caita ce a venit sa unga picioarele lui Iisus (Luca 7, 36 -38) si chiar cu Maria sora lui Lazar. Dar nimic in Evanghelie nu permite aceasta identificare, respinsa de majoritatea Parintilor Rasariteni. Intr-adevar, a fi fost posedat de demon nu insemna o viata de dezmat. Sfântul Simion Metafrastul interpreteaza in mod alegoric ” cei sapte demoni ” ca fiind cele sapte pacate ce se opun virtutii ; dar el nu este urmat de ceilalti Parinti.

Ἡ Ἁγία μυροφόρος καὶ Ἰσαπόστολος Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή, καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὰ Μάγδαλα.

Ὅταν πληροφορήθηκε γιὰ τὸν Χριστό, πῆγε κοντά του καὶ ἀπαλλάχθηκε ἀπὸ τὰ δαιμόνια ποὺ τὴν ἐνοχλοῦσαν καὶ στὴν συνέχεια ἔγινε μαθήτρια του. Ἡ Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή, ἀκολούθησε τὸν Χριστὸ ἕως τὸ πάθος Του, ἔγινε μυροφόρος, εἶδε πρώτη τὴν Ἀνάσταση, ὅταν ἀργὰ τὴν νύχτα τοῦ Σαββάτου εἶδε τὸν ἄγγελο ποὺ κύλησε τὴν πέτρα ἀπὸ τὴν θύρα τοῦ μνημείου.

Ἐπίσης μόλις ξημέρωσε, ἐνῶ στέκονταν κοντὰ στὸ μνημεῖο, εἶδε δύο ἀγγέλους μὲ λευκὰ νὰ κάθονται στὸ μνημεῖο καὶ μετὰ εἶδε τὸν Χριστό, ὁ ὁποῖος μάλιστα ἐπειδὴ τὸν πέρασε γιὰ τὸν κηπουρό, τῆς εἶπε «Μή μου ἅπτου» (μὴν μὲ ἀγγίζεις).

Μετὰ τὴν ἀνάληψη τοῦ Κυρίου, ἡ Μαρία πῆγε στὴν Ἔφεσο στὸν ἀπόστολο καὶ εὐαγγελιστὴ Ἰωάννη.
Ἐκεῖ ἐκοιμήθη καὶ ἐνταφιάστηκε.

Ἀπολυτίκιον. Ἦχος α’. Τὸν τάφον σου Σωτήρ.
Χριστῷ τῷ δι’ ἡμᾶς, ἐκ Παρθένου τεχθέντι, σεμνὴ Μαγδαληνή, ἠκολούθεις Μαρία, αὐτοῦ τὰ δικαιώματα, καὶ τοὺς νόμους φυλάττουσα· ὅθεν σήμερον, τὴν παναγίαν σου μνήμην, ἑορτάζοντες, ἁμαρτημάτων τὴν λύσιν, εὐχαῖς σου λαμβάνομεν.

Κοντάκιον. Ἦχος δ’. Ὁ ὑψωθεῖς.
Ὁ ὑπερούσιος Θεὸς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, μετὰ σαρκὸς ἐπιφοιτήσας Μαρία, σὲ ἀληθῆ μαθήτριαν προσήκατο, ὅλην σου τὴν ἔφεσιν, πρὸς αὐτὸν κεκτημένην· ὅθεν καὶ ἰάματα, ἐπετέλεσας πλεῖστα· καὶ μεταστᾶσα νῦν ἐν οὐρανοῖ,ς, ὑπὲρ τοῦ κόσμου πρεσβεύεις ἑκάστοτε.

Μεγαλυνάριον.
Τάφῳ προσελθοῦσα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, τοῦτον ἐθεάσω, ἀναστάντα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν. Ὅθεν Ἀποστόλοις, Μαγδαληνὴ Μαρία, χαρᾶς εὐηγγελίσω τὰ εὐαγγέλια.

The Holy Myrrh-Bearer Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene. On the banks of Lake Genesareth (Galilee), between the cities of Capharnum and Tiberias, was the small city of Magdala, the remains of which have survived to our day. Now only the small village of Mejhdel stands on the site.

A woman whose name has entered forever into the Gospel account was born and grew up in Magdala. 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. It says in the Gospels that the Lord expelled seven devils from Mary (Luke. 8:2). From the moment of her healing Mary led a new life, and became a true disciple of the Savior.

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. Together with the pious women Joanna, wife of Choza (steward of Herod), Susanna and others, she served Him from her own possessions (Luke 8:1-3) and undoubtedly shared with the Apostles the evangelic tasks in common with the other women. The Evangelist Luke, evidently, has her in view together with the other women, stating that at the moment of the Procession of Christ onto Golgotha, when after the Scourging He took on Himself the heavy Cross, collapsing under its weight, the women followed after Him weeping and wailing, but He consoled them. The Gospel relates that Mary Magdalene was present on Golgotha at the moment of the Lord’s Crucifixion. While all the disciples of the Savior ran away, she remained fearlessly at the Cross together with the Mother of God and the Apostle John.

The Evangelists also list among those standing at the Cross the mother of the Apostle James, and Salome, and other women followers of the Lord from Galilee, but all mention Mary Magdalene first. St John, in addition to the Mother of God, names only her and Mary Cleopas. This indicates how much she stood out from all the women who gathered around the Lord.

She was faithful to Him not only in the days of His Glory, but also at the moment of His extreme humiliation and insult. As the Evangelist Matthew relates, she was present at the Burial of the Lord. Before her eyes Joseph and Nicodemus went out to the tomb with His lifeless Body. She watched as they covered over the entrance to the cave with a large stone, entombing the Source of Life.

Faithful to the Law in which she was raised, Mary together with the other women spent following day at rest, because it was the great day of the Sabbath, coinciding with the Feast of Passover. But all the rest of the peaceful day the women gathered spices to go to the Grave of the Lord at dawn on Sunday and anoint His Body according to the custom of the Jews.

It is necessary to mention that, having agreed to go on the first day of the week to the Tomb early in the morning, the holy women had no possibility of meeting with one another on Saturday. They went separately on Friday evening to their own homes. They went out only at dawn the following day to go to the Sepulchre, not all together, but each from her own house.

The Evangelist Matthew writes that the women came to the grave at dawn, or as the Evangelist Mark expresses, extremely early before the rising of the sun. The Evangelist John, elaborating upon these, says that Mary came to the grave so early that it was still dark. Obviously, she waited impatiently for the end of night, but it was not yet daybreak. She ran to the place where the Lord’s Body lay.

Mary went to the tomb alone. Seeing the stone pushed away from the cave, she ran away in fear to tell the close Apostles of Christ, Peter and John. Hearing the strange message that the Lord was gone from the tomb, both Apostles ran to the tomb and, seeing the shroud and winding cloths, they were amazed. The Apostles went and said nothing to anyone, but Mary stood about the entrance to the tomb and wept. Here in this dark tomb so recently lay her lifeless Lord.

Wanting proof that the tomb really was empty, she went down to it and saw a strange sight. She saw two angels in white garments, one sitting at the head, the other at the foot, where the Body of Jesus had been placed. They asked her, „Woman, why weepest thou?” She answered them with the words which she had said to the Apostles, „They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” At that moment, she turned around and saw the Risen Jesus standing near the grave, but she did not recognize Him.

He asked Mary, „Woman, why weepest thou? Whom dost thou seek?” She answered thinking that she was seeing the gardener, „Sir, if thou hast taken him, tell where thou hast put Him, and I will take Him away.”

Then she recognized the Lord’s voice. This was the voice she heard in those days and years, when she followed the Lord through all the cities and places where He preached. He spoke her name, and she gave a joyful shout, „Rabbi” (Teacher).

Respect and love, fondness and deep veneration, a feeling of thankfulness and recognition at His Splendor as great Teacher, all came together in this single outcry. She was able to say nothing more and she threw herself down at the feet of her Teacher to wash them with tears of joy. But the Lord said to her: „Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and tell them: „I ascend to My Father, and your Father; to My God and to your God.”

She came to herself and again ran to the Apostles, to do the will of Him sending her to preach. Again she ran into the house, where the Apostles still remained in dismay, and proclaimed to them the joyous message, „I have seen the Lord!” This was the first preaching in the world about the Resurrection.

The Apostles proclaimed the Glad Tidings to the world, but she proclaimed it to the Apostles themselves.

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 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.

Holy Tradition testifies that when the Apostles departed from Jerusalem to preach to all the ends of the earth, then Mary Magdalene also went with them. A daring woman, whose heart was full of reminiscence of the Resurrection, she went beyond her native borders and went to preach in pagan Rome. Everywhere she proclaimed to people about Christ and His teaching. When many did not believe that Christ is risen, she repeated to them what she had said to the Apostles on the radiant morning of the Resurrection: „I have seen the Lord!” With this message she went all over Italy.

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 took 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 is 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. On 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.”

Mary Magdalene continued her preaching in Italy and in the city of Rome itself. Evidently, the Apostle Paul has her in mind in his Epistle to the Romans (16: 6), where together with other ascetics of evangelic preaching he mentions Mary (Mariam), who as he expresses „has bestowed much labor on us.” Evidently, she extensively served the Church in its means of subsistence and its difficulties, being exposed to dangers, and sharing with the Apostles the labors of preaching.

According to Church Tradition, she remained in Rome until the arrival of the Apostle Paul, and for two more years following his departure from Rome after the first court judgment upon him. From Rome, St Mary Magdalene, already bent with age, moved to Ephesus where the holy Apostle John unceasingly labored. There the saint finished her earthly life and was buried.

Her holy relics were transferred in the ninth century to Constantinople, and placed in the monastery Church of St Lazarus. In the era of the Crusader campaigns they were transferred to Italy and placed at Rome under the altar of the Lateran Cathedral. Part of the relics of Mary Magdalene are said to be in Provage, France near Marseilles, where over them at the foot of a steep mountain a splendid church is built in her honor.

The Orthodox Church honors the holy memory of St Mary Magdalene, the woman called by the Lord Himself from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.

Formerly immersed in sin and having received healing, she sincerely and irrevocably began a new life and never wavered from that path. Mary loved the Lord Who called her to a new life. She was faithful to Him not only when He was surrounded by enthusiastic crowds and winning recognition as a miracle-worker, but also when all the disciples deserted Him in fear and He, humiliated and crucified, hung in torment upon the Cross. This is why the Lord, knowing her faithfulness, appeared to her first, and esteemed her worthy to be first to proclaim His Resurrection.

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