Saint Mary of Egypt

St Mary of Egypt

She turned to the East, and raising her eyes to heaven and stretching out her hands, she began to pray in a whisper. One could not hear separate words, so that Zosimas could not understand anything that she said in her prayers. Meanwhile he stood, according to his own accord, all in a flutter, looking at the ground without saying a word. And he swore, calling God to witness, that when at length he thought that her prayer was very long, he took his eyes off the ground and saw that she was raised about a forearm’s distance from the ground and stood praying in the air. When he saw this, even greater terror seized him and he fell on the ground weeping and repeating many times, “Lord have mercy.”

From The Life of our Holy Mother Mary of Egypt (St Nectarios Press, 1992)

Notice whose feet are not touching the ground in the image above, my favorite of St Mary of Egypt. It is from the mosaic of the Last Judgment at the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, on the island of Torcello in the Venetian lagoon. St Mary of Egypt is shown leading the monastic women Saints in prayer. It brings a smile to the face, does it not?

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