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St. Mary of Clopas, one of the Marys at the crucifixion


Wikipedia | Domena publiczna

Philip Kosloski - published on 04/23/24

Few of Jesus' disciples were present at the crucifixion, but St. Mary of Clopas was one of those who were faithful to Christ during his Passion.

It can be somewhat disappointing when reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Passion and death. He was abandoned by nearly everyone who knew him; even his closest disciples avoided his crucifixion.

However, there were a few who stayed near Jesus and consoled him in his agony.

The Gospel of John states that there were three “Marys” at the foot of the cross.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.

John 19:25

Who was Mary of Clopas?

Relatively little is known about Mary of Clopas, as the Gospel of John is the only place where her name is expressly given.

This is the only mention of her in the entire Bible, and biblical scholars have had differing views as to the correct interpretation about her identity.

For example, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Jerome would identify this Alpheus with Cleophas who, according to Hegesippus, was brother to St. Joseph. In this case Mary of Cleophas, or Alpheus, would be the sister-in-law of the Blessed Virgin, and the term ‘sister,’ adelphe, in John 19:25, would cover this.”

Others have tried to identify Mary of Clopas as the mother of St. James the apostle. This would be consistent with the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, who identify a different Mary at the foot of the cross.

There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.

Mark 15:40

We also don’t know definitively what happened to Mary after the resurrection of Jesus.

She might have stayed in Jerusalem, or some traditions claim that she went to France with St. Mary Magdalene. There is a church in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer where her relics are believed to be located.

In the Roman Catholic Church, St. Mary of Clopas has a feast day on April 24, while in the Eastern Orthodox Church she is honored on May 23 as the, Holy Myrrhbearer Mary, Wife of Cleopas.

While we may not know many details about her life, we do know that she was faithful to Jesus and was present at his crucifixion.

Even Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, was not there at the foot of the cross.

Mary of Clopas must have had a strong faith and courageous disposition to endure such pain and suffering.

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