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Marie appelée la Magdaléenne (Marie, Marie-Madeleine)

Marie appelée la Magdaléenne (Marie, Marie-Madeleine)

Site historique consacré à Marie, surnommée "la Magdaléenne" (alias Marie de Magdala, alias Marie-Madeleine)

Mary Magdalene is the Mother of Jesus, by Saint Ephrem the Syrian

Guercino (1629), The Risen Christ Appears to His Mother Mary

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This is what Saint Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373), Father and Doctor of the Church (nicknamed “The Harp of the Holy Spirit”) wrote about the mother of Jesus:

Mary hastened to replace the apostles to carry out the Lord’s orders. However, her role was not to give advice, to command, or to prevent the word of Jesus; so he reprimanded her, because she had acted with haste: My hour has not yet come (John 2:4); they will ask for wine, all will see that the wine is lacking, and then the miraculous sign will occur. Thus, when his mother saw him, after his victory over the underworld, she wished to embrace him as a mother [This is Mary Magdalene in John 20:17]. But Mary, who had followed him to the cross, had been entrusted to John that day by these words: Woman, behold your son; young man, behold, your mother (John 19:26-27). Also, after the resurrection, he prevented her from approaching him again, because, he says, since then John is your son.”[1]

Why did he prevent Mary from touching him? Perhaps because he had delivered her to John in his place: Woman, behold your Son (John 19:26). And yet not without her was the first sign [Cana], and not without her were the first fruits from Sheol. And so, even if she did not touch him, she was strengthened by him.”[2]

Saint Ephrem (306-373) is one of the many witnesses of the ancient Syriac tradition, now forgotten, but several centuries older than the Latin tradition (which made Mary Magdalene a prostitute). This ancient tradition makes no distinction between Mary nicknamed “the Magdalene” and the mother of Jesus.


[1] Éphrem de Nisibe, Commentaire de l’Évangile concordant ou Diatessaron 5, 5, traduction Louis Leloir, Paris, Cerf, 1966, p. 109.

[2] Éphrem de Nisibe, Commentaire de l’Évangile concordant ou Diatessaron 21, 27, traduction Louis Leloir, Paris, Cerf, 1966, p. 390 ; Robert Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom. A Study in Early Syriac Tradition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1975, p. 330.

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