July 22, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Mary Magdalene


On the twenty-second of this month [July], we commemorate the Holy Myrrhbearer and Equal of the Apostles, Mary Magdalene.


With touches immaterial she touches you my Christ,
To whom you said, ‘Touch me not, O Mary.’
On the twenty-second Mary Magdalene slept.

She was from Magdala, which is in the regions of Syria. When she approached Christ, she followed Him, and because she was troubled by seven demons, she was delivered from them by the grace of Christ. Therefore she followed Christ and served Him until His Passion and Crucifixion, and became a Myrrhbearer and preacher of the gospel, and was first among the Myrrhbearers who saw the Risen Christ, along with the other Mary, namely our Lady the Theotokos.*

After the Sabbath had ended, she saw an Angel, as recorded by Matthew the Evangelist. And arriving in the morning at the Tomb, she then saw two Angels dressed in white sitting therein. Then she saw Christ, mistaking Him at first for the gardener, and she wanted to grab Him by the feet, but she heard Him say, according to John the Evangelist: "Do not touch Me."

After the Ascension of our Lord, this Myrrhbearer went to Ephesus, where she found Saint John the Theologian. And there she reposed venerably, and was buried next to the door of the cave in which later the Seven Youths of Ephesus reposed. Many years having passed, during the reign of the renowned emperor Leo the Wise, in the year 890, her holy relic was translated to Constantinople,** and was treasured there in the Monastery of Saint Lazarus, which had been built by this same emperor.*** There her Synaxis and Feast is celebrated, in the district of the Curator (Kouratoros), near the Taurus.


* We commemorate the translation of the holy relics of Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint Lazarus on May 4th.

** The right hand of the Saint is located in Dionysiou Monastery at Mount Athos. Her incorrupt left hand is in Simonopetra Monastery at Mount Athos. A portion of her right foot is at Esphigmenou Monastery at Mount Athos. Other portions of relics of the Saint can be venerated at Saint George Monastery in Feneos of Corinth and the Monastery of the Forty Martyrs in Sparta. Relics said to belong to Saint Mary Magdalene in the Roman Catholic Church, though highly doubtful, can be found at Saint John Lateran Basilica in Rome, Saint Maximin Basilica in Marseille and the Grotto of La Ste Baume in France.

*** According to Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite: "Magdalene was the first of the Myrrhbearing women to see the Resurrection of Christ, but not before the Theotokos; she was the first to behold Christ resurrected, as Gregory of Thessaloniki says, as well as Kallistos in his Synaxarion for the Resurrection. For her the Tomb was opened, and for her all the Heavens and the Earth opened. What George Kedrinos writes about Mary Magdalene, that she went to Rome and brought a charge against Pilate to Tiberius, and that Tiberius put Pilate in an animal hide, namely skin which had been stripped off, together with a viper, an ape and a bird, I say that this account is not generally accepted as true. Zonaras, in his Chronology (Book 6), says that Pilate was called to Rome by Tiberius, but arriving in Rome, Tiberius was found to no longer be alive. Instead, he found his successor, Caligula (37-41), who banished Pilate to Vienne of Gaul, as also mentioned by Adon in his Chronicle (Age 7). There Pilate fell into despair, and committed suicide 51 years after Christ, as also recorded by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History (Book 7, Chapter 7).

Apolytikion in the First Tone
O holy Mary Magdalene, you kept Christ's commandments, and followed Him Who for our sakes was born of a Virgin. Today we celebrate your memory, and receive forgiveness through your prayers.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
When the transcendent God was incarnate, He received you as a true disciple in your great love, O Myrrhbearer. Then you yourself worked many healings, and are now translated to heaven, where you ever intercede for the world.

Christ the light of the world, seeing you the vigilant eye of faith and the inseparable charm of love, honored Saint, on rising from the grave showed Himself to you first, who had hastened with sweet spices and drawn near to the Unapproachable. He in return granted you the divine grace of the Spirit and revealed to you the design of His ascent to the Father Who has no beginning. And He sent you to proclaim the divine good tidings of His Rising to the Disciples, who were petrified with fear. And so, as you have the greatest boldness to address Him, you ever intercede for the world.

Another Kontakion in the Third Tone
With others standing before the Savior's Cross, weeping and suffering with the Mother of God, glorious Mary Magdalene offered praises saying: What is this strange wonder? He chooses to suffer Who upholds the whole creation. Glory to Your Power.