The word “myrrhbearers” does not resonate similarly with all Christians. Many Christians know of these faithful disciples, but worship in a tradition that does not employ the term. The descriptive denotes the followers of Christ, predominantly women (although Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are included), who out of faith and love prepared Christ’s body for burial and safeguarded it (so they thought) in a new tomb. “Myrrhbearers” is used frequently and easily by Orthodox and Eastern rite Catholic Christians, less often but within common understanding by Lutherans, Episcopalians, and others. Google “myrrhbearers”, “myrrh bearers” or “Jesus Christ myrrhbearers.” You’ll find that throughout Christianity the myrrhbearers have traditionally been recognized by the Church and scholars as these Saints:
- Mary Magdalene
- Mary the mother of James and Joses
- Mary, wife of Cleopas
- Martha of Bethany, sister of Lazarus
- Mary of Bethany, sister of Lazarus
- Salome, the mother of James and John (the sons of Zebedee)
- Joanna, wife of Chuza, who was healed by Christ
- Susanna, a woman who was healed by Christ
- Joseph of Arimathea
- Others, whose names are unknown.
The witness of the Myrrhbearers “whose names are unknown” lives on millennia later, in our present day, although they remain clothed in anonymity. This site employs St. Joanna as our virtual tour guide to the reasons for their courageous faith, as Modern Myrrhbearers will explore New Testament event through her eyes and those of the nameless who surrounded her .
The myrrhbearers lived with extraordinary faith, believing deeply in the Divine when cold reason might have convinced persons of weaker faith otherwise. They acted upon their faith, following Christ in His ministry throughout the region despite physical hardship, uncertainty, and risk – they would be threatened by the powerful and the rabble. These largely nameless disciples followed Him in His passion and stood in silent support on Calvary, they safeguarded His body and prepared it for burial. They learned of His Resurrection early in the morning on the third day, and an angel commanded them to be evangelists to the Apostles – an amazing appointment that recognized the honor, reward and trust due them as fruit of their faith and labors. Can we modern Christians learn from their example, and offer our cherished valuables as modern myrrh for the honor and glory of God?