ST. MARY OF EGYPT THE ANCHORITE
Coptic Date: 6 Parmoute
On this day also of the year 137 A.M. (421 A.D.) the hermit St. Mary of Egypt departed. She was born in the city of Alexandria about the year 61 A.M. (345 A.D.) from Christian parents. When she became twelve years old, Satan, the enemy of the human race, seduced her, led her astray, and made her his net through which he caught innumerable souls. She continued in this sinful conduct for seventeen years until the mercy of God touched her life, she met people going to Jerusalem and she went with them. Since she did not have what to pay for the trip, she gave herself to the owners of the ship in return, until she came to Jerusalem. She also went on doing the same there. She wished to enter through the door of the church of the Resurrection, but she felt a hidden power pulling her from the back preventing her from entering the church. Whenever she tried to enter she felt as if someone was preventing her from doing so, and right away she realized that was because of her uncleanliness. She lifted up her eyes with a broken heart, and she wept interceding with St. Mary and asked her to intercede on her behalf before her Beloved Son. She felt encouraged and wished to enter with those entering, nothing prevented her from entering, and she prayed therein to God asking Him to guide her for what was pleasing to Him.
She stood before the icon of the blessed and pure Virgin, and asked her fervently to guide her that she might save her soul. A voice came out of the icon saying: 'If you cross the Jordan River you will find rest and salvation.' She rose in haste and when she left the courtyard of the resurrection and on her way she met a man who gave her three small coins with which she bought bread. Then she crossed the Jordan River to the wilderness where she lived for forty-seven years. She strove strenuously for seventeen years, Satan fought against her by the fornication that she repented from. She overcame with the grace of God and she ate all this period the herbs of the desert. In the forty fifth year of her living in the desert, St. Zosima went to the wilderness, according to the custom of the monks there, during the holy Forty Days of fast for devotion and asceticism. While he was walking in the desert he saw this Saint from far and he thought that she was a shadow or mirage. He prayed to God to reveal to him the fact about this mirage, and he was inspired that it was a human being. He went toward the shadow, but it fled from him. When she saw that he is insisting on following her, she called him from behind a hill saying: 'O Zosima if you wish to talk to me, throw me a rag that I may cover myself for I am naked.' He marvelled for she called him by his name, he threw to her what she covered herself with, and she came to him. After the greetings and the metanias, she asked him to pray for her because he was a priest. He asked her to tell him the story of her life from the beginning to the present time. After she told him, she asked him to bring with him in the next year the Holy Eucharist to partake of it.
In the next year he came to her and she partook of the Holy Mysteries, then he gave her what he had from dates and lentils, she only took a handful of lentils, and she asked him to come to her in the next year. When he came to her in the next year he found that she had departed, a lion standing beside her and writing beside her saying ' Bury Mary, the poor woman, in the dust of which she was created.' He marvelled from the writing and from the lion that was protecting her body and while he was thinking how he was going to dig to bury her, the lion came and dug a grave for her. He prayed over her and buried her. When he returned to his monastery, he told the monks the story of the strife of this holy woman, and they all increased in steadfastness in the Divine Mercy and progressed in the spiritual life. All the years of her life were seventy-six years.
May her prayers be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.