The-Repentant-St-Mary-Magdalene-1617-21Today it was announced that the memorial of St Mary Magdalene is to be raised to a Feast in the Church’s calendar.

The ancient legend from the Eastern Church, and recorded by St Gregory of Tours in the 8th century suggests that Mary Magdalene retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin and died there. However later traditions told how Mary Magdalene went to Provence in France and spent the rest of her days as a penitential hermit. From Wikipedia:

The French tradition of Saint Lazarus of Bethany is that Mary, her brother Lazarus, and Maximinus, one of the Seventy Disciples and some companions, expelled by persecutions from the Holy Land, traversed the Mediterranean in a frail boat with neither rudder nor mast and landed at the place called Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer near Arles. Mary Magdalene came to Marseille and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalene is said to have retired to a cave on a hill by Marseille, La Sainte-Baume (“holy cave” baumo in Provençal), where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of Maximinus, where she received the viaticum; her body was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin.[

St. Mary Magdalene’s relics were first venerated at the Abbey of la Madaleine, Vézelay in Burgundy from about 1050.[71] Jacobus de Voragine gives the common account of the transfer of the relics of Mary Magdalene from her sepulchre in the oratory of Saint Maximin at Aix-en-Provence to the newly founded Vézelay;[72] the transportation of the relics is entered as undertaken in 771 by the founder of the abbey, identified as Gerard, Duke of Burgundy.[54] The earliest mention of this episode is the notice of the chronicler Sigebert of Gembloux (died 1112), who asserts that the relics were removed to Vézelay through fear of the Saracens.

Vezelay

Vezelay

The great abbey church of St Mary Magdalene at Vezelay is a marvel of Romanesque architecture. In the ninth century Charles the Bald gave land to the Benedictines to build a monastery and the great church crowns the hilltop and is surrounded by the town of Vezelay. The relics of St Mary Magdalene can still be venerated there today.

Vezelay Abbey Church

Vezelay Abbey Church

One of the features of the church are the carved tympanum over the West doors and the carved capitals. The carving over the main door features Christ enthroned in glory as the Great Judge. It was one of the inspirations for the tympanum art over the West door of the new church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville.

france_lamadadleinevezelay_tympanum_a

 

 

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