Click on the player below to enjoy a beautiful presentation of the Life of St. Mary of Egypt narrated by Joyanne Rudiak. We celebrate St. Mary’s life and witness on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, this year March 18th and in the Menaion annually on April 1st.
In Cyril of Scythopolis’ life of St. Cyryacus, he tells of a woman named Mary found by Cyryacus and his companions living as a hermitess in the Jordanian desert. She told him she had been a famous singer and actress who had sinned and was doing penance in the desert. When they returned, she was dead. Around the story was built an elaborate legend that had tremendous popularity during the Middle Ages according to which she was an Egyptian who went to Alexandria when she was twelve and lived as an actress and courtesan for seventeen years. She was brought to the realization of her evil lifebefore an icon of the Blessed Virgin, and at Mary’s direction, went to the desert east of Palestine, where she lived as a hermitess for forty-seven years, not seeing a single human being and beset by all kinds of temptations, which were mitigated by her prayers to the Blessed Virgin. She was discovered about 430 by a holy man named Zosimus, who was impressed by her spiritual knowledge and wisdom. He saw her the following Lent, but when he returned, he found her dead and buried her. When he returned to his monastery near the Jordan, he told the brethren what had happened and the story spread. -From catholic.org
Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 8: You came down from on high, O Merciful One,* and accepted three days of burial* to free us from our sufferings.* O Lord, our life and our resurrection,* glory be to You.
Troparion, Tone 8: The divine image was faithfully preserved in you, O mother,* for taking up the Cross, you followed Christ.* By your deeds you have taught us to see beyond the flesh, which passes,* and care for the soul, a thing immortal.* And so, O venerable Mary,* your spirit rejoices with the angels.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 3: Once you were filled with every impurity,* now through repentance you have been revealed as a bride of Christ,* following the angelic life, you crushed demons with the weapon of the Cross.* Therefore, O glorious Mary, you have been shown to be a bride of the kingdom.