July 22nd is the day that the Episcopal Church dedicates to the memory of Mary of Magdala. I offer you a fuller portrait of Mary, “Apostle to the Apostles,” offered by FutureChurch. Perhaps what you think you know about Mary Magdalene will be challenged:
Not a Prostitue. Mary of Magdala is perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood figure in early Christianity. In Christian art and hagiography, Mary has been romanticized, allegorized, and mythologized beyond recognition. Since the fourth century, she has been portrayed as a prostitute and public sinner who, after encountering Jesus, repented and spent the rest of her life in private prayer and penitence. Paintings, some little more than pious pornography, reinforce the mistaken belief that sexuality, especially female sexuality, is shameful, sinful, and worthy of repentance. Yet the actual biblical account of Mary of Magdala paints a far different portrait than that of the bare-breasted reformed harlot of Renaissance art. Intrigued? Read more: St. Mary of Magdala: Apostle to the Apostles.