Relics of Mary Magdalene

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mary Magdalene's alleged skull, displayed at the basilica of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, in Southern France.
Mary Magdalene's bone, displayed at La Madeleine, Paris

The relics of Mary Magdalene are a set of human remains that purportedly belonged to the Christian saint Mary Magdalene, one of the female followers of Jesus Christ. The most famous relic is a blackened skull, displayed in a golden reliquary at the basilica of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, in Southern France, which has been described as "one of the most precious [relics] in all Christendom"[1] and "one of the world's most famous sets of human remains".[2] Other relics said to have belonged to Mary Magdalene include a foot bone located at the basilica of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Italy, a left hand located at the Simonopetra Monastery in Greece, a tooth displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and a rib in the Vezelay Abbey, the Basilica of Ste. Magdalene, in Vezelay France.[3]

The purported skull of Mary Magdalene was analyzed in 1974 and has remained sealed inside a glass case since then.[2] Analysis of the skull and photographs of hair found on it indicate it belonged to a woman who was around 50 years old and of Mediterranean descent. However, because the Catholic Church has not allowed removal of any portion of the skull for dating, the year of the woman's death has not been determined as of 2024.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Seidel, Jaime (September 16, 2017). "Is this Mary Magdalene? Forensic reconstruction of a holy relic puts a face to the skull of a Saint". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Gibbens, Sarah (September 12, 2017). "Is This the Face of Mary Magdalene?". National Geographic. Archived from the original on March 1, 2021. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  3. ^ van Pelt, Nadia Thérèse (2019). Drama in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Playmakers and their Strategies. Routledge. ISBN 978-1138189379. Retrieved May 23, 2021.