Church of Mary Magdalene

Christian Sites in Jerusalem

The Church of Mary Magdalene is a church located on the Mount of Olives, directly across the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount and near the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. The church, dedicated to Mary Magdalene, is part of the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene, a sisterhood established in 1936 by an English convert. Since the 1920s has been under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR); an independent ecclesiastical entity until 2007 and part of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church since then.



The Construction of the Church of Mary Magdalene

So the church was built in 1888 by Tsar Alexander III and his brothers to honor their mother, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. In addition, it was constructed to David Grimm’s design in the traditional tented roof style popular in 16th- and 17th-century Russia. And includes seven distinctive, gilded onion domes. See photo above!

The church is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, the companion of Jesus. According to the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Mary Magdalene was the first to see Christ after his resurrection (Mark 16:9). Although equals, she is usually considered a crucial and important disciple of Jesus; seemingly his primary female associate, along with Mary of Bethany; whom some believe to have been the same woman.



The Intrior of the Church

So contrary to the impressive exterior of the church seen from afar, the interior is quite modest and decorated with simple wall paintings and minimal furniture. Four paintings of Maria Magdalena adorn the sides of the tower. Moreover, on the eastern façade wall of the church is depicted Mary Magdalene standing before the Roman emperor Tiberius with a red egg in her hands (Christian tradition tells that Mary Magdalene met the emperor and told him about Jesus and his miracles. But emperor did not believe it and then a miracle happened! The egg that Mary Magdalene brought him as a gift turned red).

The other three paintings depict Jesus meets Mary Magdalene in the town of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee; Mary Magdalene remains beside the cross. Last is Mary Magdalene is the first to meet Jesus after his resurrection. The paintings are the brainchild of the painter Alexander Ivanov, a great Russian painter of the 19th century. In fact, he was commissioned especially by Princess Elizabeth for the church. What is considered as the remains of Mary Magdalene can be seen in the relic box.



apt-stamp-white@2x
arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Simon Peter

RELATED POSTS

Manara Cliff

Manara Cliff is an incredible adventure park that you will absolutely love, whether you are traveling solo or with the entire family!

Mount of Olives Viewpoint

The Mount of Olives viewpoint is one of the most important landmarks in Jerusalem. The ideal location to start your tour of Old Town Jerusalem

Mount Carmel National Park

Mount Carmel National Park in Israel is the largest national park in the country! Rich with Flora and Fauna, a marvelous time is guaranteed!

Eilat Mountains

Eilat Mountains are a mountain range in southern Israel next to Eilat. There are amazing trails there to explore! So let's go exploring!

Ein Kerem Neighborhood

Ein Kerem is a real gem! Featuring a variety of destinations for visitors to enjoy. For Christians, the most famous the Church of Visitation

Bethphage

Bethphage is located in Mt. Olives and the place from which Jesus sent his disciples to find a colt upon which he would ride into Jerusalem.

Masada National Park

Masada National Park is one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions. Located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea; the ...

Lake Ram

Lake Ram is a crater lake (maar) in the northeastern Golan Heights, near Mount Hermon, in Israel. Also, Josephus knew it by the name Lake ...

Church of the Flagellation

The Church of the Flagellation is believed to be where the Roman soldiers flogged Jesus after he was sentenced to death.

Underwater Observatory Park

Eilat's Coral World Underwater Observatory Park is a public aquarium, park, and conservation center located in Eilat, Israel.

Need help?