Fr. Rafail Noica talks about the “theological” prayer of St. Mary of Egypt, an easy woman who became a saint.

Fr. Rafail:

If you look at her simple but amazingly “theological” prayer, for someone who has lived in fornication since she was 12… for 17 years…

What kind of theology has she learned in those 17 years? What about in those 12 years? It’s amazing in its simplicity, what a simple theological content – even primitive – but fruitful!

Because in that theological thought, she remembered that “though I am sinful, your Son (she was praying before the icon of Mother of God) came for us, sinners, to save us”. And the theological content of her prayer was fruitful, and when she tried again to enter the church – as the story tells us – that power which stopped her before, now it seems to help her. She venerated the wood of the Cross, went back to the icon of Mother of God, where she promised to change her life, and she asked Mother of God “what to do?” Then she heard a voice, “go into the wilderness”. For 40 years she lived in the wilderness, she would have died unknown, if the providence of God had not sent the great Zosima to see her at the end of her life for us to receive the very useful confession of her life.

So this little child, living in fornication… I’m thinking what world was that compared to ours?! What a wonderful theological content, simple yet fruitful! Mary of Egypt, an easy girl who spent 17 years in fornication on the streets of Alexandria and who had lost her virginity at 12; so from 12 to 29 she lived in fornication. She reached (during a fornication trip) the church where the Holy Cross of the Savior was exalted – it was in the fifth century – and she wanted out of curiosity to enter the church, to see the wood of the Cross, and an unseen power stopped her, until she realized it was because of… her life that divorced her from God and the divine.


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