Mary of Bethany (Judeo-Aramaic מרים, Maryām, rendered Μαρία, Maria, in the Koine Greek of the New Testament; form of Hebrew מִרְיָם, Miryām, or Miriam, "wished for child", "bitter" or "rebellious") is a biblical figure described in the Gospels of John and Luke in the Christian New Testament. Together with her siblings Lazarus and Martha, she is described by John as living in the village of Bethany near Jerusalem; in Luke only the two sisters, living in an unnamed village, are mentioned. Most Christian commentators have been ready to assume that the two sets of sisters named as Mary and Martha are the same, though this is not conclusively stated in the Gospels, and the proliferation of New Testament "Marys" is notorious.
Medieval Western Christianity identified Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalene and with the sinful woman of Luke 7:36–50. This influenced the Roman Rite liturgy of the feast of Mary Magdalene, with a Gospel reading about the sinful woman and a collect referring to Mary of Bethany. Since the 1969 revision of that liturgy, Mary Magdalene's feast day continues to be on 22 July, but Mary of Bethany is celebrated, together with her brother Lazarus, on 29 July, the memorial of their sister Martha. In Eastern Christianity and some Protestant traditions, Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene are considered separate people. The Orthodox Church has its own traditions regarding Mary of Bethany's life beyond the gospel accounts.
Saint Mary of Bethany
|Righteous Mary the sister of Lazarus; Myrrhbearer|
|Venerated in||Orthodox Church|
|Feast||June 4 (Orthodox), July 29 (Catholic/Lutheran/Anglican)|
|Attributes||woman holding a myrrh jar and a handkerchief|
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus visits the home of two sisters named Mary and Martha, living in an unnamed village. Mary is contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many things"[Lk 10:40] while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the better part," that of listening to the master's discourse. The name of their village is not recorded.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
For Mary to sit at Jesus' feet, and for him to allow her to do so, was itself controversial. In doing so, as one commentator notes, Mary took "the place of a disciple by sitting at the feet of the teacher. It was unusual for a woman in first-century Judaism to be accepted by a teacher as a disciple."
In the Gospel of John, a Mary appears in connection to two incidents: the raising from the dead of her brother Lazarus[11:1–2] and the anointing of Jesus.[12:3] The identification of this being the same Mary in both incidents is given explicitly by the author: "Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair."[John 11:1–2] The mention of her sister Martha suggests a connection with the aforementioned woman in Luke.
In the account of the raising of Lazarus, Jesus meets with the sisters in turn: Martha followed by Mary. Martha goes immediately to meet Jesus as he arrives, while Mary waits until she is called. As one commentator notes, "Martha, the more aggressive sister, went to meet Jesus, while quiet and contemplative Mary stayed home. This portrayal of the sisters agrees with that found in Luke 10:38–42." When Mary meets Jesus, she falls at his feet. In speaking with Jesus, both sisters lament that he did not arrive in time to prevent their brother's death: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."[Jn 11:21, 32] But where Jesus' response to Martha is one of teaching, calling her to hope and faith, his response to Mary is more emotional: "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.[Jn 11:33] As the 17th century Welsh commentator Matthew Henry notes, "Mary added no more, as Martha did; but it appears, by what follows, that what she fell short in words she made up in tears; she said less than Martha, but wept more."
A narrative in which Mary of Bethany plays a central role is the anointing of Jesus, an event reported in the Gospel of John in which a woman pours the entire contents of an alabastron of very expensive perfume over the feet[Jn 12:3] of Jesus. Only in this account[Jn 12:1–8] is the woman identified as Mary, with the earlier reference in John 11:1–2 establishing her as the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
The woman's name is not given in the Gospels of Matthew[26:6–13] and Mark,[14:3–9] but the event is likewise placed in Bethany, specifically at the home of one Simon the Leper, a man whose significance is not explained elsewhere in the gospels.
According to the Markan account, the perfume was the purest of spikenard. Some of the onlookers were angered because this expensive perfume could have been sold for a year's wages, which Mark enumerates as 300 denarii, and the money given to the poor. The Gospel of Matthew states that the "disciples were indignant" and John's gospel states that it was Judas Iscariot who was most offended (which is explained by the narrator as being because Judas was a thief and desired the money for himself). In the accounts, Jesus justifies Mary's action by stating that they would always have the poor among them and would be able to help them whenever they desired, but that he would not always be with them and says that her anointing was done to prepare him for his burial. As one commentator notes, "Mary seems to have been the only one who was sensitive to the impending death of Jesus and who was willing to give a material expression of her esteem for him. Jesus' reply shows his appreciation of her act of devotion." The accounts in Matthew and Mark adds these words of Jesus, "I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her".[Mt 26:13] [14:9]
Easton (1897) noted that it would appear from the circumstances that the family of Lazarus possessed a family vault[Jn 11:38] and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to console them on the death of Lazarus,[Jn 11:39] that this family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people. This would help explain how Mary of Bethany could afford to possess quantities of expensive perfume.
A similar anointing is described in the Gospel of Luke[7:7–39] as occurring at the home of one Simon the Pharisee in which a woman who had been sinful all her life, and who was crying, anointed Jesus' feet and, when her tears started to fall on his feet, she wiped them with her hair. Luke's account (as well as John's) differs from that of Matthew and Mark by relating that the anointing is to the feet rather than the head. Although it is a subject of considerable debate, many scholars hold that these actually describe two separate events.
Jesus' response to the anointing in Luke is completely different from that recorded in the other gospels to the anointing in their accounts. Rather than Jesus' above-mentioned comments on the "poor you will always have with you", in Luke he tells his host the Parable of the Two Debtors. As one commentator notes, "Luke is the only one to record the parable of the two debtors, and he chooses to preserve it in this setting... If one considers the other gospel accounts as a variation of the same event, it is likely that the parable is not authentically set. Otherwise, the powerful message from the parable located in this setting would likely be preserved elsewhere, too. However, if one considers the story historically accurate, happening in Jesus' life apart from the similar incidents recorded in the other gospels, the question of the authenticity of the parable receives a different answer... John Nolland, following Wilckens' ideas, writes: 'There can hardly be a prior form of the episode not containing the present parable, since this would leave the Pharisee's concerns of v 39 with no adequate response'."
In medieval Western Christian tradition, Mary of Bethany was identified as Mary Magdalene perhaps in large part because of a homily given by Pope Gregory the Great in which he taught about several women in the New Testament as though they were the same person. This led to a conflation of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalene as well as with another woman (beside Mary of Bethany who anointed Jesus), and the woman caught in adultery. Eastern Christianity never adopted this identification. In his article in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia, Hugh Pope stated, "The Greek Fathers, as a whole, distinguish the three persons: the 'sinner' of Luke 7:36–50; the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Luke 10:38–42 and John 11; and Mary Magdalen.
Hugh Pope enumerated the accounts of each of these three persons (the unnamed "sinner", Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany) in the Gospel of Luke and concluded that, based on these accounts, “there is no suggestion of an identification of the three persons, and if we had only Luke to guide us we should certainly have no grounds for so identifying them [as the same person].” He then explains first the position, at that time general among Catholics, equating Mary of Bethany with the sinful woman of Luke by referring to John 11:2, where Mary is identified as the woman who anointed Jesus, and noting that this reference is given before John's account of the anointing in Bethany:
John, however, clearly identifies Mary of Bethany with the woman who anointed Christ's feet (12; cf. Matthew 26 and Mark 14). It is remarkable that already in John 11:2, John has spoken of Mary as "she that anointed the Lord's feet", he aleipsasa. It is commonly said that he refers to the subsequent anointing which he himself describes in 12:3–8; but it may be questioned whether he would have used he aleipsasa if another woman, and she a "sinner" in the city, had done the same. It is conceivable that John, just because he is writing so long after the event and at a time when Mary was dead, wishes to point out to us that she was really the same as the "sinner." In the same way Luke may have veiled her identity precisely because he did not wish to defame one who was yet living; he certainly does something similar in the case of St. Matthew whose identity with Levi the publican (5:27) he conceals. If the foregoing argument holds good, Mary of Bethany and the "sinner" are one and the same.
Hugh Pope then explained the identification of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalene by the presumption that, because of Jesus’ high praise of her deed of anointing him, it would be incredible that she should also not have been at his crucifixion and resurrection. Since Mary Magdalene is reported to have been present on those occasions, by this reasoning, she must therefore be the same person as Mary of Bethany:
An examination of John's Gospel makes it almost impossible to deny the identity of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalen. From John we learn the name of the "woman" who anointed Christ's feet previous to the last supper. We may remark here that it seems unnecessary to hold that because Matthew and Mark say "two days before the Passover", while John says "six days" there were, therefore, two distinct anointings following one another. John does not necessarily mean that the supper and the anointing took place six days before, but only that Christ came to Bethany six days before the Passover. At that supper, then, Mary received the glorious encomium, "she hath wrought a good work upon Me...in pouring this ointment upon My body she hath done it for My burial...wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached...that also which she hath done shall be told for a memory of her." Is it credible, in view of all this, that this Mary should have no place at the foot of the cross, nor at the tomb of Christ? Yet it is Mary Magdalen who, according to all the Evangelists, stood at the foot of the cross and assisted at the entombment and was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. And while John calls her "Mary Magdalen" in 19:25, 20:1, and 20:18, he calls her simply "Mary" in 20:11 and 20:16.
French scholar Victor Saxer dates the identification of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, and as Mary of Bethany, to a sermon by Pope Gregory the Great on September 21, 591 A.D., where he seemed to combine the actions of three women mentioned in the New Testament and also identified an unnamed woman as Mary Magdalene. In another sermon, Gregory specifically identified Mary Magdalene as the sister of Martha mentioned in Luke 10. But according to a view expressed more recently by theologian Jane Schaberg, Gregory only put the final touch to a legend that already existed before him.
Western Christianity's identification of Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany was reflected in the arrangement of the General Roman Calendar, until this was altered in 1969, reflecting the fact that by then the common interpretation in the Catholic Church was that Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene and the sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus were three distinct women.
In Orthodox Church tradition, Mary of Bethany is honored as a separate individual from Mary Magdalene. Though they are not specifically named as such in the gospels, the Orthodox Church counts Mary and Martha among the Myrrh-bearing Women. These faithful followers of Jesus stood at Golgotha during the Crucifixion of Jesus and later came to his tomb early on the morning following the Sabbath with myrrh (expensive oil), according to the Jewish tradition, to anoint their Lord's body. The Myrrhbearers became the first witnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus, finding the empty tomb and hearing the joyful news from an angel.
Orthodox tradition also relates that Mary's brother Lazarus was cast out of Jerusalem in the persecution against the Jerusalem Church following the martyrdom of St. Stephen. His sisters Mary and Martha fled Judea with him, assisting him in the proclaiming of the Gospel in various lands. The three later moved to Cyprus, where Lazarus became the first Bishop of Kition (modern Larnaca). All three died in Cyprus.
29 July is the date of her commemoration also in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church (together with Martha and Lazarus); and in the Calendar of saints of the Episcopal Church and the Church of England (together with Martha).
She is commemorated in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches with her sister Martha on 4 June, as well as on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers (the Third Sunday of Pascha). She also figures prominently in the commemorations on Lazarus Saturday (the day before Palm Sunday).
The anointing of Jesus’s head or feet are events recorded in the four gospels. The account in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and John 12 has as its location the city of Bethany in the south and involves Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. The event in Luke features an unknown sinful woman, and is in the northern region, as Luke 7 indicates Jesus was ministering in the northern regions of Nain and Capernaum. The honorific anointing with perfume is an action frequently mentioned in other literature from the time; however, using long hair to dry Jesus's feet, as in John and Luke, is not recorded elsewhere, and should be regarded as an exceptional gesture. Considerable debate has discussed the identity of the woman, the location, timing, and the message.Archippus
Archippus (; Ancient Greek: Ἅρχιππος, "master of the horse") was an early Christian believer mentioned briefly in the New Testament epistles of Philemon and Colossians.Bethany (given name)
Bethany (Greek: Βηθανία (Bethania), which is probably of Aramaic or Hebrew origin, meaning "house of affliction" or "house of figs") is a feminine given name derived from the Biblical place name, Bethany, a town near Jerusalem, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where Lazarus lived in the New Testament, along with his sisters, Mary and Martha, and where Jesus stayed during Holy Week before his crucifixion.
The name has been well-used in English-speaking countries. It was the 59th most popular name for girls in England and Wales in 2010, having ranked as high as 11th most popular name in those countries in 1999. It was the 79th most popular name for girls in Scotland in 2010. It ranked in the 100 most popular names for girls in the United States during the 1980s, reaching its pinnacle of popularity in 1987, when it was the 87th most popular name for girls, but its use has declined, falling to 369th most popular name there in 2010. The name Bethany is the English transliteration of the Greek name Bethania. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany.Bethany Hills Camp
Bethany Hills Camp & Conference Center is a campground in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, United States. The camp covers 370 acres (150 ha) and its official elevation is 643 feet (196 m). However, actual elevations range from 590 feet to 780 feet. The camp is open for year-round recreation including canoeing, hiking, camping, fishing, and swimming. Bethany Hills Camp was built in approximately 1900 by Nashville social worker, Fannie Battle, as "Thomas" Fresh Air Camp. It has since been purchased by the Disciples of Christ (CCTN) and has been renamed for Biblical character, Mary of Bethany.Blastus
According to the Bible, Blastus was the chamberlain of Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:20), a mediator for the Sidonians and Tyrians, and was believed to be involved in the events that led to Herod's death.Demetrius (biblical figure)
The name Demetrius occurs in two places in the Bible, both in the New Testament:
a Diana-worshipping silversmith who incited a riot against the Apostle Paul.
a disciple commended in 3 John 1:12. Possibly the bearer of the letters of 1, 2 and 3 John, Demetrius is commended to the early Christian leader Gaius (3 John 1:11) as one who upholds the truth of the Gospel, and as such should be welcomed and provided for.Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary
Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary (also referred to as Christ in the House of Martha and by other variant names) refers to an episode in the life of Jesus which appears only in Luke's Gospel (Luke 10:38–42), and can be read immediately after the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37). Jesus visits the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary of Bethany, the latter typically conflated in Catholic medieval tradition with Mary Magdalene, though the New Testament probably means a different person.Martha
Martha of Bethany (Aramaic: מַרְתָּא Martâ) is a biblical figure described in the Gospels of Luke and John. Together with her siblings Lazarus and Mary of Bethany, she is described as living in the village of Bethany near Jerusalem. She was witness to Jesus resurrecting her brother, Lazarus.Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene, sometimes called simply the Magdalene or the Madeleine, was a Jewish woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. She is mentioned by name twelve times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the apostles. Mary's epithet Magdalene most likely means that she came from the town of Magdala, a fishing town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The Gospel of Luke 8:2–3 lists Mary as one of the women who traveled with Jesus and helped support his ministry "out of their resources", indicating that she was probably relatively wealthy. The same passage also states that seven demons had been driven out of her, a statement which is repeated in the longer ending of Mark. In all four canonical gospels, she is a witness to the crucifixion of Jesus and, in the Synoptic Gospels, she is also present at his burial. All four gospels identify her, either alone or as a member of a larger group of women, as the first witness to the empty tomb, and the first to testify to Jesus's resurrection. For these reasons, she is known in many Christian traditions as the "apostle to the apostles". Mary is a central figure in later apocryphal Gnostic Christian writings, including the Dialogue of the Savior, the Pistis Sophia, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Mary. These texts, which scholars do not regard as containing accurate historical information, portray her as Jesus's closest disciple and the only one who truly understood his teachings. In the Gnostic gospels, Mary Magdalene's closeness to Jesus results in tension with the other disciples, particularly Simon Peter.
During the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene was conflated in western tradition with Mary of Bethany and the unnamed "sinful woman" who anoints Jesus's feet in Luke 7:36–50. This resulted in a widespread but inaccurate belief that she was a repentant prostitute or promiscuous woman. Elaborate medieval legends from western Europe tell exaggerated tales of Mary Magdalene's wealth and beauty, as well as her alleged journey to southern France. The identification of Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany and the unnamed "sinful woman" was a major controversy in the years leading up to the Reformation and some Protestant leaders rejected it. During the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church used Mary Magdalene as a symbol of penance.
In 1969, the identification of Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany and the "sinful woman" was removed from the General Roman Calendar, but the view of her as a former prostitute has persisted in popular culture. Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches—with a feast day of July 22. Other Protestant churches honor her as a heroine of the faith. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, the Orthodox equivalent of one of the Western Three Marys traditions. Speculations that Mary Magdalene was Jesus's wife or that she had a sexual relationship with him are regarded by most historians as highly dubious.Nathanael (follower of Jesus)
Nathanael (Hebrew נתנאל, "God has given") of Cana in Galilee was a follower or disciple of Jesus, mentioned only in the Gospel of John in Chapters 1 and 21.New Testament people named Mary
The name Mary (Greek Μαριαμ or Μαρια) appears 61 times in the New Testament, in 53 different verses. It was the single most popular female name among Palestinian Jews of the time, borne by about one in five women, and most of the New Testament references to Mary provide only the barest identifying information. Scholars and traditions therefore differ as to how many distinct women these references represent and which of them refer to the same person.
A common Protestant tradition holds that there are six different women named as Mary in the New Testament: Mary, mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; Mary of Bethany; Mary mother of James the younger; Mary mother of John Mark; and Mary of Rome.A common Roman Catholic tradition includes six New Testament saints called Mary: Mary, mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; Mary, mother of James and Joses; (Mary) Salome (who is also identified as the mother of James and Joseph the sons of Zebedee); Mary of Clopas; Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus.
And there are other variations. In most traditions at least three Marys are present at the Crucifixion and at the Resurrection, but again traditions differ as to the identities of these three, and as to whether they are the same three at these two events.Nicanor the Deacon
Nicanor (; Greek: Nικάνωρ Nikā́nōr) was one of the Seven Deacons. He was martyred in 76.Nymphas
Nymphas meaning nymph. A man or a woman, depending on accenting of the Greek text, in the New Testament saluted by Paul of Tarsus in his Epistle to the Colossians as a member of the church of Laodicea (Colossians 4:15). Possibly a contraction of Nymphodorus. The church met in his or her house.Parmenas
Parmenas was one of the Seven Deacons. He is believed to have preached the gospel in Asia Minor. Parmenas suffered martyrdom in 98, under the persecution of Trajan.Christian tradition identifies him as the Bishop of Soli. Some take this to be Soli, Cyprus, while others interpret it as Soli, Cilicia.Philetus (biblical figure)
Philetus (fl. 50–65) was an early Christian mentioned by Paul, who warns Timothy against him as well as against his associate in error, Hymenaeus.Saint Mary (disambiguation)
Saint Mary is Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus.
Saint Mary may also refer to:
SaintsMary Magdalene, saint and disciple of Jesus
Mary of Bethany, saint and disciple of Jesus, sister of Martha and Lazarus
Salome (disciple), saint and follower of Jesus, counted as one of the Three Marys in Roman Catholic tradition
Mary of Egypt (ca. 344 – ca. 421), patron saint of penitents
Marina the Monk, also known as Mary of Alexandria (died 508 AD), saint often considered a female Desert Father
Mary de Cervellione (c. 1230 – 1290), saint often invoked against shipwreck
Mary Frances of the Five Wounds (1715–1791), saint and member of the Third Order of St. Francis
Mary MacKillop or Saint Mary of the Cross (1842–1909), first Australian saint
Mariam Baouardy, or Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified (1846-1878), Greek nunPlacesSaint-Mary, France
St Mary (Brecon electoral ward), Powys, Wales
Saint Mary, Jersey, Channel Islands
St. Mary, Kentucky, United States
St. Mary, Missouri, United States
Saint Mary, Nebraska, United States
St. Mary Township, Waseca County, Minnesota, United States
St. Mary, Montana, United States
Saint Mary Parish (disambiguation)OtherSaint Mary (film)Simeon Niger
Simeon Niger is a person in the Book of Acts in the New Testament. He is mentioned in Acts 13:1 as being one of the "prophets and teachers" in the church of Antioch:
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.The Magdalen Reading
The Magdalen Reading is one of three surviving fragments of a large mid-15th-century oil-on-panel altarpiece by the Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. The panel, originally oak, was completed some time between 1435 and 1438 and has been in the National Gallery, London since 1860. It shows a woman with the pale skin, high cheek bones and oval eyelids typical of the idealised portraits of noble women of the period. She is identifiable as the Magdalen from the jar of ointment placed in the foreground, which is her traditional attribute in Christian art. She is presented as completely absorbed in her reading, a model of the contemplative life, repentant and absolved of past sins. In Catholic tradition the Magdalen was conflated with both Mary of Bethany who anointed the feet of Jesus with oil and the unnamed "sinner" of Luke 7:36–50. Iconography of the Magdalen commonly shows her with a book, in a moment of reflection, in tears, or with eyes averted.
The background of the painting had been overpainted with a thick layer of brown paint. A cleaning between 1955 and 1956 revealed the figure standing behind the Magdalene and the kneeling figure with its bare foot protruding in front of her, with a landscape visible through a window. The two partially seen figures are both cut off at the edges of the London panel. The figure above her has been identified as belonging to a fragment in the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, which shows the head of Saint Joseph, while another Lisbon fragment, showing what is believed to be Saint Catherine of Alexandria, is thought to be from the same larger work. The original altarpiece was a sacra conversazione, known only through a drawing, Virgin and Child with Saints, in Stockholm's Nationalmuseum, which followed a partial copy of the painting that probably dated from the late 16th century. The drawing shows that The Magdalen occupied the lower right-hand corner of the altarpiece. The Lisbon fragments are each a third of the size of The Magdalen, which measures 62.2 cm × 54.4 cm (24.5 in × 21.4 in).
Although internationally successful in his lifetime, van der Weyden fell from view during the 17th century, and was not rediscovered until the early 19th century. The Magdalen Reading can first be traced to an 1811 sale. After passing through the hands of a number of dealers in the Netherlands, the panel was purchased by the National Gallery, London, in 1860 from a collector in Paris. It is described by art historian Lorne Campbell as "one of the great masterpieces of 15th-century art and among van der Weyden's most important early works."The Three Marys
The Three Marys or Maries are women mentioned in the canonical gospel's narratives of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, several of whom were, or have been considered by Christian tradition, to have been named Mary (a very common name for Jewish women of the period).The Gospels give the name Mary to several individuals. At various points of Christian history, some of these women have been conflated with one another.
Mary, mother of Jesus
Mary of Jacob (mother of James the Less) (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; Luke 24:10)
Mary of Clopas (John 19:25)
Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:38–42; John 12:1–3) (not mentioned in the Crucifixion or Resurrection narratives)Another woman who appears in the Crucifixion and Resurrection narratives is Salome, who, in some traditions, is identified as being one of the Marys, notwithstanding having a different name. In such cases, she is referred to as Mary Salome. Other women mentioned in the narratives are Joanna and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Different sets of three women have been referred to as the Three Marys:
Three Marys present at the crucifixion of Jesus;
Three Marys at the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday;
Three Marys as daughters of Saint Anne.
New Testament people
† Recognized as a prophet. ‡Status as a prophet is not universally recognized