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Mary is the mother of Jesus.

Salome is mentioned twice in Scripture.

There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; Mark 15:40

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, G4539 had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. Mark 16:1

Even though she is only mentioned twice, it appears the assumption is Salome is Mary's sister.

Σαλώμη (Hebrew 'peaceful'), Σαλωμης, ἡ, Salome, the wife of Zebedee, and the mother of the apostles James the elder and John: Mark 15:40; Mark 16:1. Thayers

Here is one explanation of the relationship by comparing gospel accounts at the cross.

We further notice that, the name of the Virgin-Mother being omitted, the other three are the same as mentioned by St. John; only, Mary of Clopas is now described as ‘the mother of James and Jose,’6124 and Christ’s Mother’s Sister’ as ‘Solome’6125 and ‘the mother of Zebedee’s children.’6126 Thus Salome, the wife of Zebedee and St. John’s mother, was the sister of the Virgin, and the beloved disciple the cousin (on the mother’s side) of Jesus, and the nephew of the Virgin. This also helps to explain why the care of the Mother had been entrusted to him. -source-

So, were Mary and Salome sisters? What would a denomination (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) survey say?

PS. As a bit of background, some will say that Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist) and Mary were either sisters or cousins (related somehow by blood). Perhaps then, another question to ponder, whether Elizabeth, Mary, and Salome were all blood sisters.

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    instead of "what does your denomination say" I think you should be asking for a denomination survey. Still need that ideal "one right answer" to bubble up to the top (even though we know it's like completely impossible. I certainly wouldn't count as "not an answer" an Protestant and that said "I don't see why other denominations wouldn't agree" as long as it doesn't discount certain traditions around the early life of Our Lady entirely.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 20:26

2 Answers 2

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Orthodox wiki (which I don't know the canonical status within Orthodoxy, but I use it as my goto on questions like these) says:

She was the daughter of St. Joseph the Betrothed and his first wife (who was also named Salome), making the Theotokos her step-mother. She married Zebedee and became the mother of the Apostles James and John.

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Salome


Catholics (at least the Old Catholic Encyclopedia) says:

Comparison of the two gives a well-grounded probability that the Salome of the former is identical with the mother of the sons of Zebedee in the latter, who is mentioned also in Matthew 20:20 sq., in connection with the petition in favour of her sons. Beyond these references in the Gospel narrative and what may be inferred from them nothing is known of Salome, though some writers conjecture more or less plausibly that she is the sister of the Blessed Virgin mentioned in John 19:25.

https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13403a.htm


The Protestant / very straightforward reading (which I consulted Harpers Bible Dictionary for) says

perhaps the wife of Zebedee and thus the mother of James and John.

Since John and this James aren't referred to as the cousins, let alone brothers, of Jesus (which is pointed out as much as possible in the Bible) it would stand to reason that St. Salome and the Blessed Virgin Mary were just very good friends.

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  • Not sure your last comment, but James and John sons of Zebedee were one pair of brothers (Mat. 4:21, Mar. 3:17), James and Joses (Mar. 6:3) the "sons" of some sort of Mary were another pair. "John" and "Joses" are two different words.
    – SLM
    Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 21:46
  • @slm, I'm just saying that the fact that James and John weren't referred to as Jesus' cousins would stand in some conflict with the idea that Salome and the Blessed Virgin Mary could have been sisters.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 1:59
  • Sounds like at least possible that Salome was Joseph's daughter from a prior marriage, making she and Mary step sisters and Jesus "step cousins" of James and John. This might explain the lack of reference. Commented Dec 4, 2021 at 0:27
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Relationship of Salome and Mary

Saint Salome is venerated as a saint in the Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and the Anglican Churches.

The Catholic Church is somewhat unsure who St. Salome May truly be.

For some centuries, religious art throughout Germany and the Low Countries frequently presented Saint Anne with her husbands, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren as a group known as the Holy Kinship. During the Reformation the idea of the three husbands was rejected by Protestants, and by the Council of Trent by Catholic theologians also, but Salome continued to be regarded as probably the sister of the Virgin Mary, and the wife of Zebedee, and mother of the two apostles. The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 said (rather more cautiously than leading 19th-century Protestant books of biblical reference) that "some writers conjecture more or less plausibly that she is the sister of the Blessed Virgin mentioned in John 19:25".2

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains it as follow:

(1) The daughter of Herod Philip and Herodias (Matthew 14:6-8: Mark 6:22; cf. Josephus, "Antiq. Jud.", XVIII, 5:4), at whose request John the Baptist was beheaded.

(2) One of the holy women present at the Crucifixion, and who visited the tomb on the morning of the Resurrection (Mark 15:40; 16:1). In Mark 15:4, we read: "And there were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the Mother of James the Less and of Joseph, and Salome." The parallel passage of Matthew reads thus: "Among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee" (Matthew 27:56). Comparison of the two gives a well-grounded probability that the Salome of the former is identical with the mother of the sons of Zebedee in the latter, who is mentioned also in Matthew 20:20 sq., in connection with the petition in favour of her sons. Beyond these references in the Gospel narrative and what may be inferred from them nothing is known of Salome, though some writers conjecture more or less plausibly that she is the sister of the Blessed Virgin mentioned in John 19:25. - Salome

Salome was the wife of Zebedee and mother of Saint John the Apostle, and Saint James the Greater. May have been a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of the “three Marys,” the holy women who ministered to Jesus during his earthly ministry, and may have accompanied him on his travels. Witnessed Christ’s death on the cross, his entombment, and his resurrection. Mark mentions Salome as one of the women who came to anoint the body of Jesus on the morning of the Resurrection.

As for the Orthodox Churches St. Salome was a daughter of righteous of a previous marriage of Joseph, the foster father of Our Lord.

In this case, we speak of Salome. Now, Salome was a daughter of righteous Joseph, St. Joseph, our Lord Jesus Christ’s foster father, and another woman named Salome. Out of this union there were a total of seven children that were produced. We had James and Joses and Jude and Symeon, and three daughters, Esther, Martha, and our Salome. Of course, out of this group, one of them, James, became an apostle of the 70 and first bishop of Jerusalem. Another one, Jude, became one of the inner circle, if you will, of the Lord, being one of his twelve disciples. When, of course, Joseph, who was a widower at that time, because he lost his wife Salome, brought home his betrothed, Mary, the Theotokos, well, Jude and James were probably still living at home.

Later on, Salome would marry a man named Zebedee, who is mentioned in the Scriptures, who was a fisherman, although he seems to disappear before the Lord’s passion, so we’re not sure exactly how long he lived or what happened to him. But we do know that from that illustrious pairing there came another James and John, and both of these would be known to the Church as the sons of thunder. So in effect, you had James the brother of the Lord who was the uncle of James the son of Zebedee and Salome.

Now the Lord also called these two right after he called Andrew and Simon Peter. He also saw them fishing, and they immediately gave up their nets and went to follow him. Salome, of course, was one of the myrrh-bearing women who was present at all of the critical times of the Lord’s life. They were certainly there at the foot of the cross; we know this. And Salome was also one to witness the resurrection. So her importance lies not, as it does in so many of the lives of the saints, in great exploits and miracles and all these sorts of things that many of our greatest saints do to get themselves under the watchful eye of the universal Church. Instead, she was one who was simply chosen. - Salome the Myrrhbearer

Some Protestant viewpoints of who St. Salome is more down to earth:

The Salome who is mentioned by name in Mark’s Gospel was one of many devoted female followers of Jesus. She was a witness of Jesus’s ministry and of his crucifixion. She seems to have been an independent woman (single, widowed, or divorced) and was one of the myrrh bearers who brought spices to anoint the body of her beloved Lord. This much we know. The fact that she appears in later works may be an indication that Salome was prominent among the first followers of Jesus. Certainly, she was prominent enough to be mentioned by name in Mark’s Gospel

Salome has been sainted and is commemorated in the Roman Catholic Church with feast days on April 24th and on October 22nd. The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates Salome, Joanna, and Mary (the mother of James?) on August 3rd. The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorate the myrrh bearers on the second Sunday after Resurrection Sunday. The following is a hymn sung on the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women:

You did command the myrrh bearers to rejoice, O Christ! By Your Resurrection, You did stop the lamentation of Eve, O God! You did command Your apostles to preach: The Savior is Risen!

Salome: Follower of Jesus and Myrrh Bearer

St. Anne and the three Marys

St. Anne and the three Marys: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clophas and Mary Salome!?!?

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  • Interesting the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 argues the same connection that Salome and Mary were sisters as Edersheim did (OP) who lived 1825-1889.
    – SLM
    Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 21:40

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