The month of Mary: A Marian Month
Saint of the day:
Saint Jessica/Saint Jennifer (also known as Joanna the myrrh bearer)/
Junia the Apostle
3rd Sunday of Pascha
Saint Jessica's Story
Jessica is a derivation of Joanna. Joanna was the wife of Chuza, steward of King Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. She was one of the women who helped provide for Jesus and the Apostles and was one of the three women who discovered the empty tomb of Jesus on the first Easter morning. Her feast day is May 24th.
Joanna (Ἰωάννα γυνὴ Χουζᾶ or Ἰωάνα) 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 and a witness to Jesus' resurrection. 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".
Joanna 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.
Joanna is named among the 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. The accounts in the other synoptic gospels do not mention Joanna as one of the group of women who observe Jesus' burial and testify to his 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.
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.
Joanna granddaughter of Theophilus
An ossuary has been discovered bearing the inscription, "Johanna, granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest."