March 26, 2018

The Conversion and Life of Mary the Harlot

By St. John Moschos

Two elders were traveling from Aegaion to Tarsus in Cilicia when, by the Providence of God, they stopped for rest at a small inn, for the heat was intense. There they found three young men who had with them a harlot. The elders settled themselves down apart and one of them got out his holy Gospel and began to read [aloud]. When the harlot who was with the young men saw the elder begin to read, she came and sat down near him, forsaking the young men. The elder, however, drove her off, saying to her:

"Wretched woman, you seem very indecent. Are you not ashamed to come and sit near us?"

In reply, she answered:

"I beg you, father, do not look down on me, or drive me away. I know I am full of every kind of sin, but the Lord and Savior of all, Christ our God, did not reject the harlot who came to Him."

"Yes, but that harlot did not remain a harlot," the elder said.

"I place my hope in the Son of the living God," she said, "that from this day onwards I won't keep on with this sinful way of life either."

Forsaking the three young men and everything that she had, she followed those two elders. They took her to a monastery called Nakkiba, near the city of Aegaion. I saw her when she was an old woman of great wisdom, and learned all these things from her own mouth. Her name was Mary.

From The Spiritual Meadow, Ch. 31.