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St. Mary Magdalene & the Red Easter Egg

Jacobus of Voragine
mary magdalen egg

Many Eastern icons present Mary Magdalene
with a red egg

So great was the joy of St. Mary Magdalene at the Resurrection of her Beloved Master, that she was filled with a great desire to make her Jesus loved by the whole world. It was Mary Magdalene and no other who has been called the “Apostle to the Apostles,” for she reported to the Apostles that she had seen the Lord.

mary magdalene before the Emperor Tiberius

The large painting in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane

Mary Magdalene’s mission did not end with this noble task. After the Resurrection, she ventured into the surrounding countryside telling all about the glories of the Risen Lord.

According to Tradition, St. Mary Magdalene sought to make the Gospel known by the greatest earthly powers. To obtain this end, she requested to have an audience with the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Her rank in society enabled her to be admitted to the Emperor’s presence.

As the Emperor beckoned her to speak, she began describing the atrocities of Pilate’s unjust condemnation of Our Lord and of the glories of Our Lord’s Resurrection. She joyfully exclaimed “Christ is risen!” and declared that she had indeed seen Him.

As she described the Resurrection, St. Mary Magdalene presented him with an egg with the words, ‘Christ is Risen!’ In those days, the presentation of an egg was a sign of joy.

Then she used it to explain how a chick emerging from a seemingly lifeless egg can be likened to the Resurrection in which Our Lord rose from the dead and came forth out of the tomb. She told the Emperor about the Savior’s sufferings on the Cross.


The Emperor still remained incredulous declaring that he would no more believe that a man could rise from the dead than that the egg in Mary Magdalene’s hand should turn red. At these words, Our Lord worked a miracle in St. Mary Magdalene’s hand, changing the egg’s natural color into a deep red hue.

For this reason for centuries Catholics from Eastern Europe dye eggs red at Easter and distribute these eggs as gifts to their friends and neighbors.

What a fitting tribute to Our Lord’s Resurrection and the great love of that woman who loved most because she was forgiven of the most grievous sins by the merits of the Precious Blood!


Posted May 6, 2023


Blason de Charlemagne
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