Augustine, Zosimas, and Mary of Egypt
Zosimas and Mary were two people from completely different worlds, yet they found commonality in their faith. And, while having different backgrounds and origins of their faith, they shared the same beliefs in God as Augustine, who wrote of his life story in "Confessions." All three of these characters, while having the same beliefs, have quite different backgrounds. But Mary and Augustine have some similarities in their backgrounds.
Zosimas was born into the Christian religion. He was not only brought up to be-lieve the teachings of the church, he was also trained, from the days he was a small child, to be a member of the monasteries. With countless tutors and mentors, he was trained to be the monk of monks. Soon he was very confident in his upbringing and was confronted by an angel to humble himself. Later, he was further humbled through an encounter in the desert with a nomad woman.
Augustine, on the other hand, was brought up in a religiously mixed home, having one pagan parent and one Christian. He lived the majority of his youth not being trained or advised in the way of the church, but rebelling as most young people do. He often found himself in situations in which he was betraying his parents and his conscience. Later, though, he had a change of heart; through deep thinking and discussion with close friends, he came to the realization that he must live completely for God, or face the eter-nal fires of hell. He said, in the book written upon this realization called "Confessions," that he needed not to focus on secular successes, but rather on heavenly successes.
Zosimas, too, believed this to be true. It is written that he "constantly had a single aim: always to sing of God, and to practice the teaching of the Divine Scriptures." While his background differed from Augustine's dramatically, his intentions were invariably the same.
Mary, the wanderer whom Zosimas met out in the desert as he fasted, had a background more similarly related to Augustine's. First of all, they both were rebellious as youths. Mary was extremely sinful, as she prostituted herself for the mere pleasure of grotesque actions. She had the idea that if she was constantly surrounded by filth, she might somehow feel complete. She even managed to corrupt a group of men on their way across the sea to see the Holy Cross into having sinful sexual relations with her. Yet, she did not prostitute herself in order to make money. She said, "And it was not for the sake of gainÃ¢â‚¬Â¦when they wished to pay me, I refused the moneyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦but I had an insatiable desire and an irrepressible passion for lying in filth." It seems that she regarded abuse as something she needed to survive.
Augustine's sinful youth was not so dramatic. He did seem to sin for similar reasons, though. He tells a story in "Confessions" of a time when he and his friends stole pears from a pear tree near his house. He stole not for the need of food, but for the pleasure of the sinful action, just like Mary. He said, "But they were not for our feasts but merely to throw to the pigsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦nevertheless our pleasure lay in doing what was not allowed." Mary could have said this quote about prostitution.
All three characters ended up at virtually the same point, but Zosimas took an entirely different path. The lives of Mary and Augustine seem to have the most similarities, while Zosimas shares a more similar theology with Augustine.