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Joanna, wife of Chuza

Venerated in Template:If empty
Canonized Pre-congregation
Feast 3rd Sunday of Pascha (Orthodox and Eastern Catholic)
May 24 (Roman Catholic)
August 3 (Lutheran)

Joanna (Greek: Ἰωάννα γυνὴ Χουζᾶ) is a woman mentioned in the gospels who was healed by Jesus and later supported him and his disciples in their travels. She was the wife of Chuza, who managed the household of Herod Antipas, the king of Galilee. Her name means "Yahweh has been gracious." [1] It is a variation of the name "Anna" which means grace, or favor.

In the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions, she is a saint. She is one of the women recorded in the Gospel of Luke as accompanying Jesus and the twelve.

Joanna is one of Luke's witnesses

Joanna was the wife of Chuza, steward to Herod Antipas. She is listed in Luke 8:2–3 as one of the women who "had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities" who accompanied Jesus and the Apostles, and "provided for Him from their substance". Adrian Hastings suggests that she could have been one of Luke's sources for information regarding the Herodian court.[2]

As the wife of an important court official, she would have had sufficient means needed to travel and contribute to the support of Jesus and the disciples. It has been suggested that as her husband apparently permitted this, he may have been sympathetic or grateful. She was probably among the women that are mentioned in Mark 15:40 who watched the crucifixion from a distance.[3]


In Luke 24:10 Joanna is identified among the group of women, along with Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James who took spices to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. Although the apostles discounted the women's testimony, Peter and another disciple decided to look for themselves. Joanna is considered among the witnesses to the Resurrection.

In Orthodox tradition she is honored as Saint Joanna the Myrrhbearer (Greek Αγία Ιωάννα η Μυροφόρος) and is commemorated among the eight women who carried myrrh on the "Sunday of the Myrrhbearers", two Sundays after Pascha (Orthodox Easter). From this commemoration, in the revised Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod she is commemorated as one of Myrrhbearers on August 3 together with Mary, the Mother of James the less and Jude and Salome.[4]

Although not mentioned by name, Joanna is most likely counted as one of the women who joined the disciples and Mary, the mother of the Lord, in the upper room in prayer. She was among the group of 120 who chose St. Matthias to fill the vacancy that was left by Judas, as well as being present on the Day of Pentecost.[3]

Identification with Junia

Both Richard J. Bauckham and Ben Witherington III conclude that the disciple Joanna is the same woman as the Christian Junia mentioned by Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:7). However, while some early Greek manuscripts list the name as "Julia", most editors have interpreted it as the male name "Junias".[5]

Joanna granddaughter of Theophilus

An ossuary has been discovered bearing the inscription, "Johanna, granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest."[6]

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Douglas, J. D. and Tenney, Merrill C., Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary (2011), p. 742. ISBN 0310229839.
  2. ^ Hastings, Adrian. Prophet and witness in Jerusalem: a study of the teaching of St. Luke, (London; New York: Longmans, Green, 1958), p.38
  3. ^ a b "Joanna", Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
  4. ^ Philip H. Pfatteicher New Book of Festivals and Commemorations. Page 376. 2008.
  5. ^ NAB Romans 16:7, n.5
  6. ^ D. Barag and D. Flusser, The Ossuary of Yehohanah Granddaughter of the High Priest Theophilus, Israel Exploration Journal, 36 (1986), 39–44.
  7. ^ a b Peter Chattaway. "Joanna gets a speaking role in Killing Jesus and A.D.", Patheos, March 19, 2015

Further reading


  • Bauckham, Richard J., Gospel Women (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2002), pp. 109–202.
  • Witherington, Ben, III, "Joanna: Apostle of the Lord—or Jailbait?", Bible Review, Spring 2005, pp. 12–14+

External links

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