Friend and follower of Christ
Mary Magdalene has been called the second-most important woman in the New Testament after Mary the mother of Jesus. She traveled with Jesus as one of his followers, and was present at Jesus’ two most important moments: the crucifixion and the resurrection. Within the four Gospels she is named at least 12 times,more than most of the apostles. The Gospel references describe her as courageous, brave enough to stand by Jesus in his hours of suffering, death and beyond.
Jesus cleansed her of “seven demons”, sometimes interpreted as referring to complex illnesses. Mary was most prominent during Jesus’ last days. When Jesus was crucified by the Romans, Mary Magdalene was there supporting him in his final terrifying moments and mourning his death. She stayed with him at the cross after the disciples (except John the Beloved) had fled. She was at his burial, and she was the first to realize that Jesus had risen and to testify to that central teaching of faith. She was the “Apostle to the Apostles”, an honorific that fourth-century orthodox theologian Augustine gave her and that others earlier had possibly conferred on her.
Despite her centuries-old disreputable depiction in religion, art, literature, and in recent prominent fictional books and movies, such as The Da Vinci Code, it is largely agreed today that “not a shred of solid biblical or extrabiblical evidence suggests she played the role of harlot, wife, mother, or secret lover”.
Saint Mary Magdalene is considered by the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22.