Joanna and the Head of John the Baptist: Tradition holds she recovered the saint's head after Herodias had disposed of it[1]
Venerated in
June 27 (Orthodox and Eastern Catholic)[1]
  • also, on 'Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers', the 3rd Sunday of Pascha (Orthodox and Eastern Catholic)
  • May 24 (Roman Catholic)
  • August 3 (Lutheran)

Joanna (Koinē Greek: Ἰωάννα, romanized: Iōanna, also Greek: Ἰωάνα), the wife of Chuza (γυνὴ Χουζᾶ),[2] is a woman mentioned in the gospels who was healed by Jesus and later supported him and his disciples in their travels. She is one of the women recorded in the Gospel of Luke as accompanying Jesus and the twelve apostles and as a witness to Jesus' resurrection. Her husband was Chuza, who managed the household of Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee; this is the origin of the distinguishing epithet commonly attached to her name, differentiating her from other figures named Joanna or Joanne.[3]

Her name is from Hebrew: יוֹחָנָה, romanizedYôḥānāh (transl.'Yahweh has been gracious').[a][6]: 143–145 

She is recognised as a saint in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions and among other Christians, such as the Anglicans.[1]

Joanna in the Gospels

See also: The Three Marys and Myrrhbearers

Joanna is identified as "the wife of Chuza", steward to Herod Antipas, when she is listed as one of the women "cured of evil spirits and infirmities" who accompanied Jesus and the Apostles, and "provided for Him from their substance" in Luke 8:2–3.

In Luke 24:10, Joanna is mentioned by name, along with Mary Magdalene and Mary of Clopas, as among the women who 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.

Holy Myrrhbearer traditions

See also: The Three Marys

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 the Holy Myrrhbearers on August 3, together with other women present at the tomb of Jesus in New Testament accounts. These include Mary of Clopas (also called Mary, the mother of James the Less and Joses) and Salome.[7] Likewise, she is commemorated in The Episcopal Church on August 3, as listed in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2022 as: "Joanna, Mary, and Salome, Myrrh-Bearing Women."[8]

Although not mentioned by name, Joanna is seen as one of the women who joined the disciples and Mary, mother of Jesus, in the upper room in prayer. She was believed to be among the group of 120 who chose Matthias the Apostle to fill the vacancy that was left by Judas, as well as being present on the Day of Pentecost.[9]

Identification with Junia

See also: Junia (New Testament person)

Richard Bauckham argues for identifying Joanna, the wife of Chuza, with the Junia mentioned in Paul's letter to the Romans 16:7, "Joanna" being her Jewish name, and "Junia" her Roman. Joanna is mentioned as one of the members of the ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, travelling with him among the other twelve and some other women, city to city.[10]

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

— Luke, 8:1-3

Joanna is also mentioned alongside Mary Magdalene and other women as those who first visited the tomb and found it to be empty, and it is to this group of women, including Joanna, that Jesus first appears and instructs to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee in Matthew 28:8-10. Bauckham notes that Paul describes Junia as having been a member of the Christian community prior to him, and given that Paul himself converted within three years of the death of Jesus, that would require Junia to have been a member of the community from a very early period.

Whereas Joanna is a Hellenized, Grecian, adaptation of a Hebrew name,[11] Junia is a Latin name. Jews often adopted a second, Latin name that were nearly sound equivalents to their original name. Joanna and Junia act as near sound equivalents in the native languages, which Bauckham says is indicative of the identification between the two. Finally, Paul describes Junia as being "prominent among the apostles". Given that Junia is described as an earliest member of the community, and as one of the most prominent members, that she is not named elsewhere is indicative, as Bauckham argues, that she and Joanna are the same individual, given Joanna's high prominence during the ministry of Jesus.[6]: 172–80 

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Although the name Joanna is etymologically related to Anna, sharing a common derivation (from the Hebrew: חַנָּהיוֹחָנָה, romanizedḤannāh, lit.'grace'), Joanna is not a compound formation and originated as a separate, unitary derivation, directly from the Hebrew male name Yôḥānān, 'John'.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b c "Saint Joanna the Myrrhbearer". The Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 22 January 2023. Commemorated on June 27"..." She is also commemorated on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women.
  2. ^ Luke 24:10: Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek/Nestle-Åland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition variants, accessed 9 February 2017
  3. ^ Douglas, J. D. and Tenney, Merrill C., Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary (2011), p. 742. ISBN 0310229839
  4. ^ Yonge, Charlotte Mary (1884). "Names from 'Chaanach' [Part I, Chapter III, Section V]". History of Christian Names. London: Macmillan. pp. 39–46.
  5. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A dictionary of first names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 356, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1
  6. ^ a b Bauckham, Richard (2002). Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. ISBN 0802849997.
  7. ^ Pfatteicher, Philip H. (2008). The new book of festivals and commemorations: A proposed common calendar of saints. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. p. 376. ISBN 9780800621285.
  8. ^ Lesser Feasts and Fasts (PDF). New York: Church Publishing. 2022. ISBN 9781640656277.
  9. ^ "Joanna", Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
  10. ^ Luke 8:2–3
  11. ^ Cohick, Lynn H. (2009). Women in the World of the Earliest Christians: Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. p. 315. ISBN 9780801031724.
  12. ^ a b Peter Chattaway. "Joanna gets a speaking role in Killing Jesus and A.D.", Patheos, March 19, 2015
  13. ^ Susie Helme, The Lost Wisdom of the Magi, The Conrad Press (2020)
  14. ^ The Chosen: Season 3 Begins in Theaters (TV Series 2022– ) - IMDb, retrieved 2023-01-16


Further reading