In 1279, Charles II, the Count of Provence, commissioned the excavation of a small church in France. He found within the tombs a strange marble sarcophagus. Contained inside may be one of the most important historical and religious relics of all time: the skull of Mary Magdalen.
Charles II claimed to have investigated this tomb because Mary Magdalene came to him in a dream. When the marble tomb was opened, he could supposedly smell a “wonderful and very sweet smell,” which to Charles II was symbolic of the time Mary washed Jesus’ feet in perfume.
Inside was the skull, and a wooden tablet that read, “Hic requiescit corpus beatae Mariae Magdalenae.” But if this statement was true, how did the body of one of Jesus’ most loyal followers end up in France?
Local tradition holds that after the ascension of Jesus Christ, Mary and Lazarus got in a small boat and fled to France. It was there where Mary spent her remaining days in a secluded mountain cave, now known as La Baume of Mary Magdalene.
The skull now makes its home in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, a tomb built by Charles II over the ruins of the one he found the sarcophagus in. The other remains of Mary Magdalene remain mostly unknown thanks to a blasphemous robbery during the French Revolution.
Could this be the actual remains of Mary Magdalene? I wonder if we’ll only find out more over time…