“Mary Magdalene is a figure who bridges the gap between Christians and other spiritualities”

“Mary Magdalene is a figure who bridges the gap between Christians and other spiritualities”

Opener of a new 230 km pilgrimage in Provence dedicated to Mary Magdalene, Cyrille Boland publishes a work on this subject. The path, which he shared with his companion, recounts the traditions linked to this evangelical and mysterious figure.

Why did you set out to follow in the footsteps of Mary Magdalene?

In 2013, when I suggested to my partner Marie that we should leave, we were in Brittany. It was raining non-stop and we wanted to go out and meet the sun. I then heard that Marie Madeleine had lived in the Camargue. For years, I have felt close to this figure, even before my ordination as an Orthodox deacon. My grandmother had his first name. In the gospels, it is she who is present on the morning of the resurrection. I wanted to meet this complex and mysterious character. In fact, his proximity to Christ has caused a lot of ink to be spilled. Sometimes described as a sinner, sometimes as a follower of God, contemplative or even a hermit… Mary Magdalene bridges the gap between Christian tradition and other spiritualities. What an intriguing and endearing personality!

In the Provencal tradition, Mary Magdalene is very present and many are keen to tell her story. Once you start on the path, you multiply your encounters…

The Provencal people we met often felt invested in this story, they are the guardians of this tradition in which Mary Magdalene is the sister of Martha and Lazarus, with whom she arrived by boat in 45 AD. The Association supporting the tradition of the saints of Provence contributes greatly to transmitting this cultural, historical and religious memory. Numerous sanctuaries line the walk. At the start, the basilica of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer invites us to reflect in front of the relics of Marie-Jacobé and Marie-Salomé.

Why is Mary Magdalene so important in Provençal tradition?

In the Provençal tradition, women are in the spotlight! Among the Orthodox, Mary Magdalene, witness to the resurrection, is the equal of the apostles. Pope Francis himself in 2016 elevated him to this rank. Of course, these denominations could have been political. In the past, in the Latin tradition, during the Reformation, she was described as repentant.

So you inaugurated this new route in 2021 and 2022, what is its specificity?

This path is an opportunity to create close ties with the Provençal saints. The route is relatively short: allow around twelve days to cover the 230 km. I would add a few words about the beauty of the landscapes, whatever the season. The desert of sand, salt and water of the Camargue welcomes us, we then have to follow the creeks of the Côte Bleue to reach Marseille and finally go up to Saint-Maximin. The book that I am publishing is intended to accompany pilgrims on this path. I would like to convey the taste for the sacred and the departure.


2013: Marie and Cyrille set out to follow in the footsteps of Marie Madeleine and met Martine Guillot, then animator at the Sanctuary of the Saintes. They created the Chemins de Saintes et Saints de Provence association.

2021: the path is inaugurated by the president of the PACA region, Renaud Muselier

2023: the association has 300 members and 36 hospital workers.

2024: Publication of the book In Provence in the footsteps of Marie Madeleine

Useful information

Find all the information relating to the pilgrimage on the website of the Chemins de Saintes et Saints de Provence association.

To find walking partners, you can contact the association:

– by mail: 3 rue de Brasinvert 13460 Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

by email: [email protected]

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