On this day in the Holy Orthodox Church, the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent, we have arranged to make remembrance of our godly mother, Mary of Egypt.
Once, during the Honorable Fast, the priest-monk Zosimus withdrew into the wilderness beyond the Jordan. Suddenly, he caught sight of a human being with a withered and naked body whose hair was as white as snow. Zosimus then tossed his outer garment to her which she wrapped around herself and then showed herself to him. Mary then told Zosimus that she was born in Egypt and at the age of 12 began to live a life of debauchery in Alexandria for 17 years. One day, she went to Jerusalem to enter the church to venerate the Honorable Cross. However, some invisible force restrained her and prevented her from entering. In great fear, she gazed upon the icon of the Theotokos in the vestibule and prayed that she be allowed to enter the church, all the while confessing her sinfulness and uncleanness. She was then permitted to enter the church. Having venerated the Cross she again entered the vestibule and, before the icon, gave thanks to the Mother of God. At that very moment she heard a voice saying: “If you cross over Jordan you will find real peace!” Mary left for the wilderness and remained there for 48 years in repentance. Zosimus visited her every year, bringing her Holy Communion. About the year 530 A.D., he discovered her lifeless body, and buried her. Thus, the Lord glorifies penitent sinners. The Church exalts and exemplifies Mary to the faithful in Great Lent as an incentive for repentance.
Through her intercessions, O God, have mercy upon us and save us. Amen.