On the fifth Sunday of
Fast, we are enjoined to celebrate the memory of our
Holy Mother Mary of Egypt.
The Church service for
this Sunday is devoted to the memory and glorification
of the spiritual efforts of Saint Mary of Egypt, who
"has cut down with the sword of abstinence the desires
of your soul and the passions of your flesh. You have
choked your sinful thoughts with the silence of the
ascetic life, and have watered all the wilderness with
the streams of your tears, and caused the fruits of
repentance to spring up for us" and "with works of
Lenten fasting", "as sun she shines revealed as a guide
to all who have sinned".
In her life the Holy
Church pays attention to two contrasts: on the depth of
her sinful falling and on the height of her graceful
rising; it points out that true repentance wipes away
the very heaviest sins, and can uplift the repenting
trespasser to a high degree of spiritual perfection.
The story of Saint
Mary's life was written down by Saint Sophronios,
Patriarch of Jerusalem.
The Life of Saint Mary
of Egypt is read during Great Lent along with the Great
Canon of Saint Andrew, Archbishop of Crete.