Mary of Egypt
Our mother among the saints, Mary of Egypt provides us with a beautiful example of metanoia, or conversion. She lived during the sixth century, and passed away in a remarkable manner in 522. The Church celebrates her feast day on the day of her repose, April 1; additionally, she is commemorated on the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt, the sixth Sunday in Great Lent.
She began her life as a young woman who followed the passions of the body. After a heart-felt conversion at the doors of a church, she fled into the desert to live as an ascetic. Towards the end of her life, she met the priest St. Zosima in the desert, who learned of her life. He learned that after living in sinful lust for the first seventeen years of her life, Mary was moved by the compassion of the Theotokos to live an ascetic life in the desert. Living of the scarce herbs of the land to satisfy her worldly hunger, Mary grew strong in prayer and belief. It is noted that by the end of her life, she was so strong in belief that she was able to transverse the Jordan River by walking on the water after giving the Sign of the Cross. After her death, he delivered this story to his fellow monks. Later, the story of her life was written down by St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
- The image of God was truly preserved in you, O mother,
- For you took up the Cross and followed Christ.
- By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away;
- But to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal.
- Therefore your spirit, O holy Mother Mary, rejoices with the Angels.
Kontakion (Tone 3)
- Having been a sinful woman,
- You became through repentance a Bride of Christ.
- Having attained angelic life,
- You defeated demons with the weapon of the Cross;
- Therefore, O most glorious Mary you are a Bride of the Kingdom!