St. Mary of Egypt
and St. Zosimus of Jerusalem
The story of an Alexandrian prostitute's conversion
life of miraculous asceticism is so important
to the Eastern Orthodox that it is read aloud in
church during the fifth week of
Lent, in conjunction
with the penitential Canon of St. Andrew.
the priest who discovered Mary shortly before her
repose. The historicity of the narrative has
been attacked on the grounds that a number of
other similar stories
with different details and character names
were widely circulated before
St. Sophronius' narrative eclipsed them, and
that some episodes in
Sophronius parallel occurences
in other, earlier
saints' lives (in particular, in that of
St. Paul of Thebes
as recorded by St. Jerome.) One might respond to this by
noting that in
physical science the repeatability of
an experiment is generally considered to be a desirable trait,
and it is experiments which cannot be repeated that
are viewed with suspicion. May we all seek to replicate
St. Mary's successful experiment of repentance!
Norman Hugh Redington
Under construction --- far from complete! Read with caution.
Catholic Patron Saints Index:
1912 Catholic Encyclopedia: (Read with caution)
- Konrad Kunze:
Die Legende der heiligen Maria Aegyptiaca, (1978).
Berlin: E. Schmidt, 1978.
- Sister Benedicta Ward:
St. Mary of Egypt -- the
liturgical icon of repentance, (1987).
Harlots of the Desert
(Kalamazoo: Cistercian, 1987).
- St. Sophronius of Jerusalem:
Vita S. Mariæ Ægyptiacæ
This is the vita read liturgically, and
the source of most other vitæ of St. Mary.
--- ORTHODOX PAGE
The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, and
the Life of St. Mary of Egypt.
Translated by Sister Katherine and Mother Thekla.
Newport Pagnell: Greek Orth. Monastery
of the Assumption, 1974.
Vida de Santa Maria Egypcia --
versão ethiopica, (British
Museum Oriental MS 686).
- Pre-Schism Western Vitæ:
We have excluded the very numerous
post-schism Mediæval lives of this Eastern
Old English text with modern English
translation by R. Jayatilaka.
Medium Ævum (Vol. 72, 2003).
Another edition with the same title but
a different translation (by Hugh Magennis) is
published by the University of Exeter (2002).
The Old English Life of Saint Mary of Egypt.
- Peter F. Dembrowski:
La Vie de Ste. Marie l'Égyptienne --
versions en ancien et en moyen français,
Geneva: Droz, 1977.
- Erich Poppe and Bianca Ross:
The Legend of Mary of Egypt
in Medieval Insular Hagiography, (1996).
Blackrock, Ire.: Four Courts, 1996.
St. Mary in the arts:
Rachel de Queiroz:
A Beata Maria do Egito, (1973).
Rio de Janeiro: Serviço Nacional de Teatro, 1973.
Play in 3 acts.
- Cecilia Meireles (music
Santa Maria Egipcíaca -- oratorio.
- Ottorino Respighi (music)
and Claudio Guastalla (libretto):
Maria Egiziaca -- tryptych for concert in three episodes.
- John Tavener (music) and Mother Thekla (libretto):
Mary of Egypt -- an icon in music and dance.
- Irmgard von Faber du Faur and Ina Lohr:
Maria Aegyptiaca -- ein geistliches Spiel, (1953).
Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1953.
- Metropolitan Hilarion of Winnipeg:
Marija Jehyptianka, (1947).
Paris: Vyd. Nasha Kultura, 1947.
A book of poems in Ukrainian.
- Michael "Zosimus" Moran:
A blind Dublin street-performer of the
XIX Century who composed and declaimed
long rhyming narratives. His most famous
work, from which he took his professional name,
was a Life of St. Mary of Egypt. The text has
apparently not survived.
From his book of essays
The Celtic Twilight,
(London: Bullen, 1902): 79.
--- Sacred Texts
Return to St Pachomius Library.