Mary is identified in the synoptic gospels as one of the women who went to Jesus' tomb after he was buried. Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10 refer to "Mary the mother of James" as one of the women who went to the tomb. Matthew 27:56 says that "Mary the mother of James and Joseph" was watching the crucifixion from a distance. Mark 15:40 calls her "Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses" (NKJV). James the younger is often identified with James, son of Alphaeus. The Catholic Encyclopedia identifies him with both James, son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just).
According to the surviving fragments of the work Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord of the Apostolic Father Papias of Hierapolis, who lived c. 70–163 AD, "Mary, mother of James the Less and Joseph, wife of Alphaeus was the sister of Mary the mother of the Lord, whom John names of Cleophas". For the Anglican theologian J.B. Lightfoot, this fragment quoted above would be spurious.
Her relics are said to be both in France and Italy.
- "St. James the Less". New Advent. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- of Hierapolis, Papias. Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord. Fragment X. earlychristianwritings.com. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "The Brethren of the Lord by J.B. Lightfoot". Archived from the original on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2016-12-10.
- "Papias". textexcavation.com. Archived from the original on 2015-11-16.
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