Mary Magdalene is the very first Christian. She is the only person that all four Gospels say was first to realize that Jesus had risen.

If it is true that the primary tenet of Christian faith is belief in the resurrection of Jesus then, acording to John 20:16, Mary Magdalene is the very first Christian. On being the first to see Jesus resurrected from his tomb she turned and said to him, Rabbouni! (which means Teacher).

Not only that but Mary Magdalene also went and announced her good news to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”. This then, according to John (20:18), is the first of all the gospels, the Gospel of Mary.

So who really was Mary Magdalene? The three main Theories of Mary Magdalen are that:

  1. she was the first Christian, according to the New Testament

  2. she was the wife of Jesus, according to the Gnostic Gospels

  3. she was a prostitute rehabilitated by Jesus, according to Pope Gregory the Great.

In this 2013 Good Friday BBC documentary the Chancellor of the University of Leeds, Melvyn, Baron Bragg FRS, explores these theories.