Saint Joanna, wife of Chuza
Feastday: May 24
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, one of the women
recorded in the Gospel of Luke as accompanying Jesus and the twelve. She was the
wife of Chuza, who managed the household of Herod Antipas, the king of Galilee.
Her name means "Yahweh has been gracious", a variation of the name "Anna" which
means "grace" or "favor".
She is recognized as a saint in the
Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic traditions.
as one of Luke's witnesses
Joanna is shown as the wife of Chuza,
steward to Herod Antipas while being listed 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" in Luke 8:2–3. Theologian Adrian
Hastings suggested that she could have been one of Luke's sources for
information regarding the Herodian court. 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.
She may be among "the other women"
mentioned in Luke 24:10, who, along with Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of
James, took spices to Jesus' tomb and found the stone rolled away and the tomb
empty. Though no gospel explicitly names her among the women at the tomb, it is
possible that Joanna could have been among the first witnesses to Jesus'
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.
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 Matthias to fill the vacancy that was left by Judas, as well as being
present on the Day of Pentecost.
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).
Most early Greek manuscripts list the name Junia as feminine, with the consensus
of New Testament scholarship agreeing that Junia was a woman.
While this is possible, in Romans 16:7
Junia is mentioned along with Andronicus so they may be a husband and wife team
like Priscilla and Aquila. If that is the case, it would be unlikely that "Junia"
is another name for Joanna since Joanna's husband, according to Luke 8:3, was
Joanna granddaughter of Theophilus
An ossuary has been discovered bearing the
inscription, "Johanna, granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest."
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