Relics of St Mary Magdalene

Relics of St Mary Magdalene July 22, 2009

This is the magnificent church of Vezelay in France, where you may venerate the relics of St Mary Magdalene. More pictures and information here. However, just as controversy surrounds her true identity and which stories relate to her in the gospels, so her relics are disputed and surrounded with legend and contradictory stories. Some say Mary Magdalene ended her days in Ephesus with St John and the Blessed Virgin. Some say her relics were removed from there to Constantinople.

The pious legends that associate her with France say that Mary Magdalene, along with Lazarus and his sisters, escaped persecution and washed up on the shores of Gaul. Mary Magdalene evangelized parts of France and spent her final days living in a cave in Provence. Her relics were venerated first at Vezelay, after being moved there from the oratory of St Maximin in Aix-en-Provence. Later St Maximin-la Sainte Baume claimed her relics were there and you can see what is puported to be her skull in the Basilica of St Maximin. It is apparalled in a red wig.

In the 17th century the Protestants destroyed the Benedictine Abbey at Vezelay and turned the church into a stable and destroyed the relics. The relics of St Mary Magdalene which are there now were given to the church after its restoration.

Where are the bones of St Mary Magdalene? Like most relics, they are probably in many places. that is what they did with relics: distributed them for veneration. The relics in the crypt at Vezelay may be fragments of the relics that were there earlier and preserved through the persecutions, or they may be fragments of relics that were distributed. More an St Mary Magdalene here.

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