While the 16th century frescoes in the Ste-Marie-Madeleine church in Soulomes are almost impossible to view now because of the immense scaffolding at the far end of the church, this painting of Mary Magdalene hanging by the entrance is a stunning example of several pieces of her legend. Shown dressed in red with long, flowing red hair, she is depicted here as a prostitute. There is, however, no mention anywhere in Scripture that she was, only that she was possessed by seven demons of which she was cured by Christ. The setting of the painting is a grotto or cave. According to French legend, after the Resurrection, she withdrew to a cave in France where she lived for 30 years in contemplation. She is often shown with a book and a skull as she is here. The book is representative of her contemplative life; the skull represents her life of reflection and prayer and may also be a symbol of her presence at the Crucifixion at Golgotha...place of the skull. Three of the four Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark and John) mention her specifically as being present there.
Teasing out the fact from fiction about the Knights Templar is difficult. Historically, they have been connected with Mary Magdalene, but the reality of that connection is lost in time. Thanks to Dan Brown and "The Da Vinci Code" however, everyone now has his own theory about who Mary Magdalene was and why the Templars protected her secret throughout history. The only conclusion I can draw is that she is, indeed, present in several ways in this church. And this church is a documented Knights Templar site.
|Holy water font in the Soulomes church with an unusual Templar cross dated 1160 CE.|