OLPH Church
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite

Sunday of The Ointment Bearing Women

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The Second Sunday after Easter is dedicated to the memory of seven of the most dedicated and courageous women of the New Testament. Who were they?

1. Mary Magdalene is honored by the Church as a Holy Ointment-Bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles. Tradition informs us that Mary was young and pretty and led a sinful life. It says in the Gospels, that the Lord expelled seven devils from Mary (Luke 8:2). Mary followed after the Lord, when He went with the Apostles through the cities and villages of Judea and Galilee preaching about the Kingdom of God and served Him from her own possessions (Luke 8:1-3). She was present on Golgotha at the Lord's Crucifixion and the burial of the Lord. She went to the tomb on the following Sunday and saw the stone pushed away from the cave. She was the first to see the Risen Jesus and the Lord deemed her worthy to be first proclaiming His Resurrection. She ran to the Apostles and announced, “I have seen the Lord!” This was the first preaching in the world about the Resurrection. Tradition relates that in Italy she visited the Roman Emperor Tiberias (14-37 AD) and proclaimed Christ's Resurrection to him taking a red egg and greeting him with the words: “Christ is Risen!” The custom of exchanging paschal eggs on Pascha spread over all the world. From Rome she moved to Ephesus and continued her labors with the Holy Apostle John, who with her wrote the first 20 Chapters of his Gospel account. There she finished her earthly life and was buried.

2. Salome, the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee was a very saintly woman whose great love for Christ was shared by her two famous sons, James and John, two of the original Twelve Apostles of Christ. Tradition tells us that Salome enjoyed a very close relationship with the family of the Most-Holy Birthgiver-of-God. She remained devoted to Mary after the Ascension of Christ.

3. Mary, the Mother of James and Joses, the wife of Cleophas. Very little is recorded concerning her life other than that she devoted many years in the service of our Lord.

4. Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod Antipas' steward (her feast day is celebrated on June 27th). Joanna first heard of the coming of Christ during His first visit to the temple in Jerusalem. She became a true believer and assisted the Apostles during their first years as leaders of the new Faith. She was a woman of great courage.

5. Susanna was a close friend of Mary Magdalene constantly by her side during her affliction. Susanna remained with the Apostles of Christ and shared in the work of spreading the message of salvation. She assisted with the serving of the “Communion Suppers” and administering to the sick and the aged.

6. & 7. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus lived with their brother Lazarus and our Lord visited them on many occasions. The sisters became followers of Christ and dedicated their lives to Him. After the miracle of the Lazarus' resurrection by Jesus Christ, Mary and Martha returned with Jesus and His Apostles. They devoted their lives to the spreading of the faith. After the murder of the Holy Archdeacon Stephen, a persecution against the Jerusalem Church broke out, and Righteous Lazarus was cast out of Jerusalem. The holy sisters then assisted their brother in the proclaiming of the Gospel in various lands.