Altar of St.Mary Magdalene
Just off the north side of the Rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene. This marks the place where Mary Magdalene met the resurrected Jesus and conversed with Him. The Chapel is a Franciscan Chapel.
The two main noticeable aspects of the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene are the floor designs and the altar with its surrounding artwork. The floor of the Chapel is black and white with geometric shapes. Two prominent parts of the design are placed strategically to mark the spots where Mary Magdalene stood and where Jesus stood when the two met on that first Easter morning. Where Mary Magdalene stood is denoted by three concentric circles. A short distance away, the place where Jesus stood is designated by a green circle with sunbursts coming from the green circle symmetrically, all of which sits in three concentric circles. The rest of the flooring is highlighted by various size rectangles.
The actual altar in the chapel has one large candlestick on each end of the relatively small altar. Hanging directly above the altar is a modern art depiction of the encounter that Jesus had with Mary Magdalene. The altar sits between two large stone arches that lead to two corridors. Two simple benches are placed near the altar to provide seating for worshippers.
The encounter that Jesus had with Mary Magdalene after His resurrection is a marvelous account of her devotion and his power and love. The Gospel of John recounts that Mary Magdalene arrived early at the tomb to care for the body of her Lord. Her unwavering devotion to Jesus is very evident. Finding the tomb empty, she wept. She ran to get Peter and John and the three raced back to the tomb. Puzzled by the findings, Peter and John walked away, but Mary Magdalene stayed put in the garden and continued to weep. Two angels appeared and ask why she is so troubled. She replied that her Lord had been taken away, and she did not know where He had been taken. As she turned away from the angels, she saw someone else who she assumed to be the gardener. After being asked again about her weeping, she begged the person to tell her where they had taken Jesus’ body. Jesus simply responded: “Mary.” She recognized her Lord stating her name. She fell at His feet, though He informed her that she could not touch Him because He had not yet gone to the Father. He instructed her to return to the disciples to tell them that He was alive. She ran to spread the news and became the first messenger of the resurrection.
This chapel marks the amazing events that occurred that first resurrection morning. From the flooring reminding visitors of the location of where each stood to the altar and artwork, those who come to reflect and worship are given the opportunity to remember the amazement of a woman follower of Jesus at seeing the resurrected Christ.