We celebrate Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles in art, poetry and music.

Magdalene – Painting by Silvia Dimitrova (2003)

Credit: Magdalene – Painting by Silvia Dimitrova (2003)

John 20:11-18

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14 When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Magdalene by Graham Kings

Who is this woman facing this man,
Head lightly inclined,
Eyes wide open, gazing;
Hands uplifted, palms upward, surprised;
Gorgeously arrayed?

Who is this man facing this woman,
Coming from the right,
Profile clear, bearded;
Hand outstretched, palm down;
Gloriously apparelled?

Behind her, two angels hover,
Reflecting her shape:
Behind him, scented trees lean,
Setting the scene:
Below her, a dark opening hints.
All silent witnesses.

The eyes have it:
Focus of tension and attention.
One word awakes her: ‘Mary’.
One word responds: ‘Rabbouni’.

Their hands shape a triangle
At the centre of meeting:
Her two, shocked and suppliant;
His one, blessing, calming, sending.

© Graham Kings, Nourishing Connections (Canterbury Press, 2020).

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Permissions for Churches to show the paintings.
We encourage churches to use the paintings in PowerPoint presentations.
There is no charge for this, but the copyright wording should be:
‘Sarah’ by Silvia Dimitrova, commissioned by Alison and Graham Kings. and 

The poems are published with photos of the paintings in ‘Nourishing Connections’, Canterbury Press, 2020.

The CD of the seven anthems is available here:

A 17-minute Fugue State Films video of the world premiere of Tristan’s anthems at St Stephen, Walbrook, London, 14 June 2023, can be seen here: 

Church Times podcast, featuring the project, with interviews with Silvia, Graham and Tristan, may be heard here: