Monday, July 21, 2008

Mary Magdalene, her feast-day and church

Mary Magdalene's feast day is celebrated tonight and tomorrow by Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Anglicans. No question, she is one of the New Testament's most important and interesting women.
The Church of St. Mary Magdalene graces the slopes of Jerusalem's Mount of Olives.
It was built by Czar Alexander III and was inaugurated in 1888. Seven gilded cupolas stand atop a monumental Muscovite-style body.

The iconostasis is a work of art. The prayer hall has wondrous icons, relics, art, two sarcophagi, history, -- and special people too.
Several native-English-speaker nuns man the gift shop and are helpful and friendly. They offer religious objects and books and CDs of their own singing (I bought the Russian Christmas carols and a CD of liturgy).

If you enlarge this last photo you can see how the tall gilded Russian Orthodox crosses are tied down. I always like to imagine this is to keep them on earth and to curb their natural desire to take off into heaven.
My pastor friend in Arkansas, preaching a sermon on Christ the King Sunday, revealed to us that the onion-shaped domes like these on the Church of St. Mary Magdalene are like crowns, meant to remind Christians of the Kingdom and of the kingship.


imac said...

Interesting post.

Thanks Dina, for finding a mate for Sue,, I'm sure that both will be very happy together.

Kay said...

I love this post, Dina. The photos are great and I like seeing you in one of them. I've always thought that Mary Magdalene got a bum deal being thought a prostitute when she was certainly not that but a strong and important woman of substance in her own right and someone Christ was supposed to have loved.

Louise said...

Nice documentary and photos as usual. I saw a golden dome in one of the top pictures and hoped against hope we could see it up close. No disappointment!

kjpweb said...

That's one of the sites of Jerusalem that impressed me the most - next to the Dome of Rocks and the Al Aksa. And the Bazaar. And the.... ;)
It's really is beautiful - as are your images! Cheers, Klaus

Michelle said...

That is a very historical place which is perfect for you Dina. Good to know that the crosses are tied down and I like the sun shining on them..

photowannabe said...

Amazing architecture and beautifully captured. Thanks for sharing. I so enjoyed my visit to the Mt. of Olives a few years ago.

the donG said...

i like what your pastor friend revealed to you. the church is quite unique.

im glad to see you on the photo!

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

WOW... what an incredible post that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and the photos are beautiful!

Shimmy Mom said...

It is beautiful. Wish I could see it in person. I'm am always amazed at the workmanship that was put into things back before technology and "get it done now' attitudes took over. What a beautiful symbol.
Thank you for sharing.

dot said...

Interesting. The domes are beautiful against that blue sky.

Tipper said...

Just beautiful pictures and a very neat post.

Hilda said...

Mary Magdalene has always fascinated me—I'd love to hear her real story someday (if it can ever be found out that is). The church is magnificent! Other words that come to my mind too are "solid" and "grounded"—words I'd use to describe the Magdalene too.

Sara said...

Dina, it is so wonderful traveling around my favorite city with you....thank you for showing us so many facets of life there through your blog.

Sara in California