Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

Fifth Sunday of Great Lent under the Orthodox moveable cycle, and also on April 1 under the fixed Orthodox cycle
The Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt is celebrated by Orthodox Christians on the fifth Sunday of Great Lent and also on April 1. St. Mary was a sinful, lustful woman who repented and became devout. She is seen as the least worthy person, but through God's mercy she became a treasure chosen by God. Among stories told about St. Mary, there is a tale of the time she attempted to enter a church in Jerusalem, but was driven back by an unseen force, although her companions entered without delay. This prompted Mary to open her heart and to pray to the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary. After she begged forgiveness, she again attempted to enter the holy place, and found that the same sort of force that previously had prevented her entry now propelled her forward. Mary of Egypt is also said to have retired to the desert to live as a hermit, having received a divine message to do so. Not long before she died, she encountered St. Zosimas of Palestine, a venerable monk who gave her a mantle to wear and who related her story to the faithful. St. Mary of Egypt is revered as a patron saint of penitent women.
On the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, St. Mary of Egypt is the subject of sermons during the Divine Liturgy. On this day, Orthodox priests typically bless dried fruit after the services.
CONTACTS:
Orthodox Church in America
P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791
516-922-0550; fax: 516-922-0954
www.oca.org
SOURCES:
RelHolCal-2004, p. 119