Church of Mary Magdalene on Mount of Olives
History of the Church
Constructed in 1886, The Church of Mary Magdalene has a traditional Russian ecclesiastical design, including a tented roof and onion-shaped domes. In 1920, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and her fellow nuns were buried in the church. In 1988, Princess Alice, her relative, was buried there as well. Over the years, her grandsons, Prince Charles and Prince William, visited the church. Near the church steps carved in the rock are believed to have been used by Jesus when residing in Bethany.
The Interior of the Church
The beauty of the Maria Magdalena Church is predominantly external. Its interior is rather unassuming, yet its main wall bears a painting of Alexander Ivanov, a prominent 19th-century Russian artist. Commissioned by Elizabeth Fyodorovna, the artwork depicts Mary Magdalene holding a red egg before the Roman emperor Tiberius. According to Eastern Christian tradition, Tiberius mocked her for claiming Jesus rose from the Dead, comparing it to a white egg turning red. In return, an egg Mary held by Mary turned red.
The church also houses an icon named “Hudigitria,” brought from Lebanon and renowned for its medicinal properties.