Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Holy Mary Magdalene

Today is the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene (also known as Mary of Magdala). An enigmatic and marginalized figure whose role with the Savior has transformed in recent times, particularly with the discovery of the Gnostic texts. With many Christian denominations and traditions, and for many centuries, Mary was seen as a repentant whore who was saved by Jesus, the witness to the Resurrection, and messenger to the Apostles. However, with Gnostic traditions, Mary was much more than a mere follower and in Gnostic Gospels, she is depicted as a prominent disciple of the Savior.

Without question, we can be sure that the early leaders of the Roman Catholic Church amended, revised, and sanitized the Holy Bible to conform to their beliefs and policies rather than the pure message of the Savior. Due to her prominence and interaction, Mary couldn't be wholly expunged from the Gospels, but they did much to wash away her status. Even with that, she is mentioned in the Bible more times than most male apostles. Ultimately, this inaccurate portrayal of Mary comes from Pope Gregory I which came through in the form of a sermon given on Easter in 591 AD.

It is not surprising that the Magdalene has been so defamed and diminished as for centuries Christendom was under the thumb of the Roman Catholic Church established through Peter. Peter and his followers hated women and you can see this aggressive sexist tone in much of the books compiled and revised by that church. With the discovery of the suppressed Gnostic Gospels, this anti-Marian narrative is expressed in several verses.

The Gospel of Philip notes that she was a constant companion of the Lord. In the Gospel of Thomas, Peter proclaims that females are not worthy of life and wishes the Savior to dismiss her from their company. The Pistis Sophia ("Wisdom of Faith") recognizes Mary as insightful and wise, and that Mary will surpass all other disciples. This codex also records Mary stating that she fears Peter as he threatens her and hates her race. This latter statement has to be interpreted to mean the feminine race while others see it to mean that Peter hated Gnostics (which he did). In the Gospel of Mary, there is recorded one instance where Peter and his brother, Andrew, attempt to bully her because of her standing with the Savior; the profane often despise the enlightened.

In recent years, the Magdalene's role has been reviewed and found to be more than just a saved prostitute. Even the Roman Catholic Church has acknowledged her as "Apostola Apostolorum" or "Apostle of the Apostles" or "the First Apostle." It also has come to be known that Mary of Bethany (sister of Lazarus) is one and the same as Mary Magdalene. The use of the epithet of Magdalene or Magdala further demonstrates that she was a prominent woman or possessed wealth in some way. The Gospel of Luke even states that Mary supported the Savior and his entourage which gives credence to her being a wealthy woman.

In the Templar Revelations by Clive Prince and Lynn Picknett, they provide evidence to a theory that Mary was wife and companion to the Savior, that the episode with Lazarus was an initiatic tradition not a literal resurrection, and that Lazarus was St. John the Beloved. This latter point is supported by the Johannite tradition that the name "John" is a title.

To me, Mary stands as an exemplar for one who is transformed by the Logos and achieves Gnosis. As I alluded to on the Feast Day of Adam and Eve, Christ fulfilled his role and completed the Advent and being the New Adam and, in this instance, Mary fulfills the role as the New Eve. Some have even called her an incarnation of the Holy Sophia, the Divine Feminine.

I hope everyone has a blessed day and I leave you with a a great article written by Most Reverend Timothy Mansfield, Bishop of New South Wales for the Apostolic Johannite Church: https://www.johannite.org/bishop-tim-mansfield-the-magdalene/

References

1. Apostola Apostolorum. (2017). Retrieved from Project Muse: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/659085/summary 

2. Conner, M. (2015, July 15). Why Do Gnostics Consider Mary Magdalene the Greatest Apostle? Retrieved from Aeonbyte Gnostic Radio: https://thegodabovegod.com/why-do-gnostics-consider-mary-magdalene-the-greatest-apostle/ 

3. Kelly, B. (2016, July 19). St. Mary Magdalene is the Same Mary, the Sister of Lazarus and Martha of Bethany. Retrieved from Catholicism.org: https://catholicism.org/st-mary-magdalene-is-the-same-mary-the-sister-of-lazarus-of-bethany.html 

4. Mansfield, T. (2018, September 2). The Magdalene. Retrieved from Apostolic Johannite Church: https://www.johannite.org/bishop-tim-mansfield-the-magdalene/ 

5. Mary Magdalene. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdalene 

6. Mary Magdalene, apostle of the apostles. (2016, June 10). Retrieved from Vatican Press Office: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2016/06/10/160610c.html 

7. Picknett, L., & Prince, C. (1997). The Templar Revelation. New York: Touchstone. 

8. Price, R. M. (2009). Mary Magdalene: Gnostic Apostle? Retrieved from RMP: https://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_mary_magdalene.htm 

9. The Gospel of Mary. (1998, April). Retrieved from Public Broadcasting Service: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/map

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