Like the story of Theophilus, also translated by Paul, the story demonstrated an encouraging hope for lapsed sinners, and the possibility of their redemption through the purifying sacraments of penance and communion: their sins do not automatically consign them to hell.
A new influx of refugees from the Iconoclast Persecutions arrived between the eighth and tenth centuries.
Evidence of a cult of Mary of Egypt by the ninth century in Italy is found in the existence of frescoes in a church later dedicated in her name in Rome, and another in Naples, where there was also a street named after her.
The Greek Life derives from a variety of orally transmitted ancient anecdotes, and later writings about implausibly ascetic ‘hairy anchorites’ (or others less hirsute) dating from the very early days of Christianity in the Middle East, from the prototype life of desert hermits, St Anthony, written in Greek by Athanasius between 356-62, to St Jerome’s Mary as depicted in Oxford, Bodleian MS Tanner 17 (early-mid. English Legendary, a popular hagiographical collection in the vernacular.
was published, that says it all – ‘enjoyable but uneven’.
Instead I shall resume the subject started in my previous post: the legend of St Mary of Egypt.
There I wrote about the medieval stained glass window in Bredon depicting her.
Now I’d like to provide a little more detail about her story and its status in England from the early middle ages onwards.
For a full, academic account of the background I’d recommend Jane Stevenson’s contribution as ch.
2.1 of a collection of essays entitled , edited by Erich Poppe and Bianca Ross (Dublin, 1996).