Mary Magdalene and Kilmore Church, Scotland.

By Donald C. Black.

If you visit the village of Dervaig in the North of Mull, which you might, on your way to Calgary sands or the Mull Little Theatre, you can’t miss the round, pencil-shaped tower of Kilmore Church, designed by Scottish architect Peter MacGregor Chalmers and finished in 1905.

However, visible only from inside the church is something much more startling than its unusual tower.
One of its seven stained glass windows, created for it by leading Scottish stained glass artist Stephen Adam, has explosive significance. It shows the figure of Christ, portrayed in the traditional way singled out by a halo. Beside him walks a woman. She has no halo, but the two walk close together, holding hands in an intimate pose. She inclines her head so that her hair touches Christ’s cheek as they emerge through an archway from a temple-like building. She walks slightly in front as if being presented to waiting onlookers after a ceremony.
The identity of the woman, encrypted in the significant green and gold colours of her dress and the long golden hair, is made explicit by the Gospel text below the figures. It reads: MARY HATH CHOSEN THAT GOOD PART WHICH SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HER. She is unquestionably intended to be Mary Magdalene.
The subversive theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, with a consequent genealogical Bloodline is not new. But who would have thought that the Mary remembered in the ancient Gaelic names Kilmore (“Mary’s Church”) and Tobermory (“Mary’s Well”) might not be the obvious one? Someone connected with Dervaig in the late 1800s possibly did, and had it portrayed in stained glass a century before Dan Brown’s bestseller “The Da Vinci Code”.

Note for Holy Grail Enthusiasts (or Sceptics)
Stephen Adam’s text actually refers to Mary of Bethany (sister of Martha and Lazarus), however trying to cross-reference the various Marys in the gospel story has led to several of them, including Mary of Bethany, being traditionally identified as one and the same person – Mary Magdalene.

2nd Century Christian leaders Clement of Alexandria and Justin Martyr, are on record as denying that Christ was married which shows that, by the 2nd Century, there was already a tradition that Jesus was married. The grounds of their denial were that (1) the Bible is silent about that (which doesn’t follow, because it is silent about St. Paul and St. Peter’s wives too. Peter had a mother-in-law so he must have been married, and if Paul was a Pharisee as he claimed, he also must have been married because that was mandatory for Pharisees), and (2) it created a theological problem (not to mention a competing ecclesiastical succession).

Mary is depicted ambiguously, with her girdle below her abdomen rather than round her waist. Could she be pregnant? Jewish first century marriages could be celebrated in several stages – betrothal, marriage and the first safe pregnancy, so a marriage ceremony could not be ruled out as Stephen Adam’s subject, even if pregnancy is just a trick of the light.

The diagonal cross (St. Andrew’s??) is a known Holy Grail symbol. In outline like a chalice, it is a composite of two shapes, An upside down V, denoting the male principle (reminiscent of the Kilmore tower, which has itself been transported into the window scene surmounting the columns and centre of the archway), and a regular V; the female. According to Grail historians, this fertility association caused the early church fathers to abandon the diagonal cross in favour of the now familiar asymmetrical vertical form +, which is conspicuous by its absence from the Kilmore window. Instead, the glass segments low down on each of the archway columns can be seen to depart from their normal irregular pattern and resolve into a series of repeated grail shapes .

Perceiving her as a threat to their male dominance, the church fathers ensured that Mary Magdalene was firmly classed as a harlot, an injustice which was only righted in Roman Catholicism in 1969. (I don’t know if Protestantism has ever got round to righting it). Meanwhile, she came to represent throughout Europe the ancient nature and fertility principles, which were overlain and suppressed particularly by Roman Christianity, although perhaps not entirely by the Celtic Columban form. “Dervaig”, for instance is Gaelic for “little grove”, recalling the symbolic pre-Christian “sacred groves” common in Pagan, Druidic, Biblical and other traditions. On the wall of 13th Century Celtic Kilvickeon Chapel, near Bunessan is a carved “sheela-na-gig”, an ancient fertility symbol.
These lend credibility to the idea that Columban Christianity could have had a much more accepting view of Mary Magdalene than its Roman cousin, which Stephen Adam has recognised in his window. Finally, the sun is depicted rising over the central tower (or could it be a rose??), reminding the observer that the remains of a stone circle are nearby.
Kilmore has everything!

32 Responses to “Mary Magdalene and Kilmore Church, Scotland.”

  1. Isabel Says:

    VERY, Very Interesting!!!!!!

  2. Darya Says:

    It’s very interesting, indead!
    I would like to visit it, somehow…
    this “glass”represents something I try to understand…

  3. ameragefaft Says:

    Amazing, I didn’t heard about that up to now. Thankz!

  4. Laurens Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this information. It makes me quite relieved to read what I’ve always thought. Do you know where I might be able to buy a reproduction of the stained glass window? I looked at Kilmore Church site but didn’t see an online “store.”

    • Nigel Nessling Says:

      Thanks, I’m afraid I don’t know where to get a copy of the window, but perhaps someone else on here may, and if so I will be happy to pass it on to you.

  5. cp brakewell Says:

    I like it :). I am grateful to you for that, but I have further thanks to deliver. I am afflicted with color blindness (tritanopia in my case). I mostly use Safari browser (not sure if that is important), and a considerabland a number of websites are tricky to read on account of a poor variety of colours employed ithe design. On your site, as the selection of colours is reasonable, the website is extremely clear and pleasant to comprehend. I am not certain if this was a calculated and mindful deed, or simply a lucky fluke, but I still thank you.

  6. Linda Says:

    I am writing a thesis for my Graduate degree on Mary Magdalene and her image and relationship to Jesus. I would like to display this stain glass picture of Mary and Jesus in my thesis. Can you grant me permission? If not, can you please redirect me to the owner of the copyright.

    Thank you,
    Linda Turner

  7. Roseanna Fesh Says:

    This is a good posting, I located your weblog looking around aol for a similar theme and arrived to this. I couldnt discover to much alternative information on this post, so it was good to locate this one. I definitely will end up being back again to look at some other posts that you have another time.

  8. possible Says:

    Hi
    Nice to meet you.

    I am a Japanese ex-Jehovah’s Witness.

    Well, I saw your blog.
    And I found the picture of “Mary Magdalene” of stained glass.
    I think that that is excellent.

    I want to introduce the picture of the stained glass of that Kilmore Church,
    to people in my website and blog, or a bulletin board.
    http://godpresencewithin.web.fc2.com/

    Please give the permission for which I use that picture.
    Or please introduce the person who owns the copyright of that picture.

    Thank you for your kindness.

  9. Vicente Laakso Says:

    This is a good piece of content, I was wondering if I could use this write-up on my website, I will link it back to your website though. If this is a problem please let me know and I will take it down right away.

  10. Joshua Timoteo Says:

    Outstanding post, this is very similar to a site that I have. Please check it out sometime and feel free to leave me a comenet on it and tell me what you think. Im always looking for feedback.

  11. justin Says:

    READ the bottom carefully; “Erected in the glory of God in loving memory of Mary Forrest…” She died in 1904 and this is her depicted.

  12. Bobby Thomas Says:

    Thank you.. I have also heard Jewish tradition required a teacher to be 30 years of age and also married. I also have heard the groom is responsible for the wine at his wedding. Mary, his Mom came and asked help with the wine…. pieces to the puzzle.

  13. John Says:

    hey, nice blog…really like it and added to bookmarks. keep up with good work

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  15. Natalie Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this excellent information! Looking forward to seeintg more blogs!

  16. Tina Says:

    Thank you for more information supporting the Jesus Magdalene marriage. I’ve looked at the stained glass window picture before, this time I printed it out and noticed the faces of the two ” angels ” at the top.Why depict one with a younger face than the other? In Kathleen Mcgowns book ” The Expected One ” Magdalene has two children and is pregnant with the third at the crucifixion. Interesting!

  17. Rosanne Ferreri-Feske Says:

    I too request to use this copy of the stained glass window in my writing and will place a footnote in my book to your site.

  18. Jacklyn Marak Says:

    Great article. Waiting for more.

  19. Amara Mahdhuri Says:

    Greetings!

    Looking at the picture, I see her holding a babies head with her left hand, with the child extending down over her belly. Look closely and you will see the outline of the child the she has swathed in front of her.

    Blessings to all!

    Amara

  20. Amara Mahdhuri Says:

    Speculation: I believe that the two little angels at the top of the window depict her two older children, both boys.

    The fact that Jesus is depicted with her after the birth of their 3rd child, means that he lived after the crucifiction.

    The Tower of the church depicts Mary Magdalen. She was Christ’s Tower of unwavering devotion to Him and His Teachings.

  21. Lisa Dymkova-Fuchs (@ivonacheerps) Says:

    Are you familiar with other works by the artists who did this window: Stephan Adams?

    How you explain that the woman doesn’t have a hallo? How you explain that the artist who did this window often depicted men and women with bigger bellies? Why he depicted elsewhere an angel who looks “pregnant” too? Or why the artists of this time when they were depicting women or men in draperies depicted them with bigger bellies? How do you explain that when women were wearing tight corsets, their dresses needed to show round belly bellow the corset? How do you explain the fashions of those days?

    How you explain the writing bellow the image?

    Amara: the baby angels above the image are called putti in art history, and they were depicted already in the Renaissance art, noting to speculate here, just a very typical, conventional and time honored depiction of angelic beings, nothing new at all.

    Bobby, in Jesus’ times and before there were many communities of single men, their teachers included. Tradition of married Jewish teachers is the newer one, kept in the Jewish diaspora, but after the destruction of the Temple, (which didn’t happened during Jesus’ life time).

  22. amara12@q.com Says:

    Blessings to you Lisa. You may interpret the painting however you wish, for the true history of these events have been hidden for 2,000 years.

  23. Tina Says:

    There’s a very comprehensive writeup about the window,the couples marriage pose and it’s celtic association, on this link.

    http://www.legendsofthedivinefeminine.com/2012_08_01_archive.html

  24. robert sweeney Says:

    hi i have been to iona recently and on that visit i noticed on the abbey tower the fleur di lis and the sign fof the sun god which louis of france was known as it also is a sign of the bloodline of the priory of sion why would this sign be also the stained glass window which is in kilmore is also in rosslyn chapel.

  25. butter-rice cake Says:

    Can I borrow your beautiful picture of stained glass?
    I want to use that for my Web novel(written by Japanese).
    So,please treat me well.

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