Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene
She was from the town of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee, for which reason she is called “Magdalene.” The Lord Jesus cast out seven demons from her, after which she became His faithful disciple, following Him even to the Cross when most of His disciples had fled. With the other holy Myrrh-bearers, she prepared the spices to anoint His body and carried them to His tomb. There she was one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection, and the first to proclaim it.
Various traditions hold that, after Christ’s ascension, she traveled to Rome, where she presented the Emperor with a red egg and proclaimed “Christ is Risen!” For this reason her icons often show her holding a red egg, and from this the tradition of distributing red eggs at Pascha is said to have arisen. She is then said to have travelled to Ephesus where she helped St John the Theologian in his gospel ministry before reposing there.
Mary Magdalene is sometimes identified with the “sinful woman” of the Gospels, but this is not the Church’s tradition. Neither the Gospels nor the sacred hymnography of the Church make this connection.
The name ‘Madeleine’ is a form of ‘Magdalene’.