Beautiful Egypt 361 – «Exalted the Lowly» – 26/8/2020

Beautiful Egypt 361 – «Exalted the Lowly» – 26/8/2020

The previous article “the Second Heaven”, talked about the story of the feast of St. Virgin Mary, and her life that was full of hardships and distresses, in addition to a quick explanation to St. Virgin Mary’s icon. We, in this article, shall continue talking about some glimpses of St. Virgin Mary’s life.

St. Virgin Mary was characterized by complete obedience since her childhood; as she was obedient when her mother presented her to the temple while she was only three years old to spend her life there, because she was a vow to God. Her mother St. Anne prayed to God asking Him to give her a baby, vowing it to be presented to the holy temple. After the temple became a home for that little girl, who was deprived from her parents, she was asked to leave it when she was twelve years old. An old man was chosen to engage and care for her, and she was obedient for the second time and left the temple to go to the house of St. Joseph the Carpenter. The choice of St. Joseph the Carpenter also has a story. The priests searched for a righteous old man to care for St. Virgin Mary, and twelve elders were selected from the righteous elders of Judas tribe. As the priests wanted God to declare who deserves to care for her; they took their sticks and placed them inside the temple, then a pigeon came and stood on the stick of the respected elder St. Joseph the Carpenter. The priests realized that this was a mark from God, as St. Joseph the Carpenter was the chosen righteous man; as the Holy Bible said: “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man,…”.

That’s how St. Virgin Mary obeyed and left the temple to St. Joseph’s house, where she remained until the angel of God announced to her the birth of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, St. Virgin Mary obeyed when the angel of God came and announced to her the birth of the Christ: “blessed are you among women!…Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest…”

In a complete obedience and submission, St. Virgin Mary answered him: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

That’s how St. Virgin Mary became an example of the life of obedience, as she, in a wondrous humbleness, put all the matters of her life in God’s hands, so He raised her to a superior rank that no one else has. Therefore, the church celebrates lots of commemorations to her: Her birthday on the (1st of Bashans), her entrance to the temple on the (3rd of Kiahk), her death on the (21st of Tubah). Not only that, but also the ascension of her body to heaven on the (16th of Misra), building the first church on her name on the (21st of Baunah), consecration of a church on her name at El-Muharraq monastery, where she stayed for more than six months, on the (6th of Hatur), in addition to the commemoration of her apparition for more than two years on the domes of her church in Zaitoun on the (24th of Baramhat).

St. Virgin Mary followed the path of obedience, and that was nothing but a result of a long life full of modesty and submission. Her life lasted for sixty years: twelve of them were at the temple, and about thirty years at the house of her fiancée St. Joseph the righteous. Adding to that another fourteen years at the house of St. John the Apostle, the disciple of Christ, whom He recommended to take care of her, when He said to St. Virgin Mary, while He was on the cross: “behold your son!” Then He said to John: “Behold your mother!” From that hour, St. John took St. Virgin Mary to his house.

The aroma of modesty in St. Virgin Mary’s life, which was full of blessings, is clear to all the generations throughout the ages. She deserved the beatification, as it came in her praise: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.”

Stories about Beautiful Egypt never end!


General Bishop

Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center