Troparion Tone 4
Holy Magdalene, constant companion of our Lord, pray we may share your steadfast faithfulness in service to the Holy Church.
Reading from the Book of Mark
And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus beheld where he was laid.
~Chapter: 15, Verse: 47
Reading from the Book of Mark
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
~Chapter: 16, Verse:1
Gospel of John
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbi!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”, and she told them that he had said these things to her.
~Chapter: 20, Verses: 11 to 18
Mary Magdalene was the faithful beloved companion of Jesus, Having been cured of an illness by him she followed his life and ministry from that point on and until the time of her own death. She was a crucial figure in his personal life and was by his Mother’s side at the time of the crucifixion and his death on the cross.
It is Mary who first visits the tomb expecting to anoint the body of Jesus who discovers not a body but his burial shroud and wrappings laying empty in the tomb as he had already risen. Mary is the first he appears to upon his return. She must carry the message of his resurrection to the other apostles who were gathered grief-stricken. All of her appearances in the gospels have culminated in this trust the risen Christ puts in her. She is trusted with his very body by those who walked with Christ now she must show that her body has been risen and prophecies have been fulfilled.
Mary delivers that first message from the tomb and many more as she stayed with the apostles and traveled to form the first churches. While many stayed near the Holy land and where the gospels occurred in the life of Jesus. Mary traveled to what we now know as France and to other areas of Europe.
It is in these travels that the Shroud of Turin reaches the area as well. The shroud is commonly believed to be the burial linens of Jesus Christ with an image of his body forever imposed upon it. These linens date back to the time of Christ and it is well known Mary traveled to the first places in Europe that claim the shroud was once there. There is much mythos and legend surrounding both Mary and the shroud but one thing is commonly agreed upon, Mary Magdalene discovered not a body, but its wrappings, and was from this point forward and forever they are both linked in what would become the first European churches and ministry of the apostles.
Today we celebrate her life and what became her own ministry faithfully serving Christ before and after his earthly life and into what became the Holy Church itself.