Mary of Egypt  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Mary of Egypt (ca. 344 – ca. 421) is revered as the patron saint of penitents, most particularly in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.

In popular culture

Some folklore writers have attempted to link Mary of Egypt with the Morris dance. In 1280 Adam de la Halle wrote "Li Gieues de Robin et de Marion" (The Game of Robin and Marion). In the writings of folklorists this merges with the story of Robin Hood and Marion, who become characters associated with May Day games and Morris dancing. The popular Queen of the May custom then becomes a covert way of perpetuating a pagan goddess of love. This theory has recently been proposed by Margaret Allenby-Jaffe in "National Dance" (2006), though several Morris dance websites also mention it.

In Ben Jonson's play Volpone (1606) one of the characters uses the expression "Marry Gip". Commentators have taken this to mean "Mary of Egypt".

Robert Graves speculates in The White Goddess (1948) that Mary of Egypt can be identified with "Mary Gipsy", a virgin with a blue robe and a pearl necklace. Otherwise know as Marina, Marian or "Maria Stellis". She is supposedly a remote descendant of Aphrodite, the love goddess from the sea.

Mary of Egypt is the subject of operas by Ottorino Respighi and Sir John Tavener, the latter written in 1992 for the Aldeburgh Festival.

Nalo Hopkinson's science fiction novel, The Salt Roads, also features Mary of Egypt and takes an historical fiction approach to telling her story.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mary of Egypt" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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