April 6, 2020

The Relic of the Right Foot of St. Mary of Egypt in Moscow

In the 17th century the only church dedicated to St. Mary of Egypt in Moscow was at the Sretensky Monastery. In 1706, a chapel was added to the Church of Saint Mary of Egypt in honor of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In 1707, the famous Russian diplomat, Yemelyan Ignatievich Ukraintsev, presented to the Sretensky Monastery the holy relics of Mary of Egypt in a silver reliquary, which the Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem gave to him for helping with the negotiations with the Turkish Sultan Mustafa.

The following inscription was made on the inner lid of the reliquary: “In the summer of 7205, 1707 from the birth of Jesus Christ, in February on the 18th day, this foot of our Venerable Mother, Mary of Egypt, was brought to the holy and great Stretensky Monastery of the Holy Virgin of Vladimir from the house of the Duma clerk Yemelyan Ignatievich Ukraintsev under the abbot Moses Inevsky, and put in this reliquary for the salvation of all Orthodox people.”

In 1925, the Sretensky Monastery, which had a history with a length of five and a half centuries, ceased to exist. Most of the buildings of the monastery were destroyed "to expand the traffic." In 1930, the Church of Saint Mary of Egypt, one of the oldest in Moscow, was demolished. The silver reliquary, donated to the monastery in 1707, has survived to the present day; now it is in the collection of the State Historical Museum. After the monastery was closed, the relic itself of the Saint was lost.

In 2000, with the restoration of the Sretensky Monastery, at the Cathedral of the Presentation, in memory of the destroyed Church of Saint Mary of Egypt, a northern chapel was built in honor of this great saint.

On March 25, 2004, the abbot of Sretensky Monastery, Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), now Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov, brought to the monastery a reliquary with a portion of the relic of the bone of the right foot of St. Mary of Egypt. It was gifted by the Greek Monastery of Saint Nicholas on the island of Andros. In the sermon that day, the abbot said that the relics of St. Mary of Egypt, which were in the main shrine of the monastery before the revolution, returned to their place.

On April 15, 2009, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, consecrated the Chapel of Saint Mary of Egypt. Every week a service is held there with the Akathist to the Saint in front of her relics.

Also in Moscow, in the Church of Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki in Blagushe, there is a portion of the right foot of Saint Mary of Egypt (last photo below).