Preface of a Saint (2)
PRAYER (traditional language): Merciful God, who didst call thy
servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of thy
grace and truth: Mercifully grant that we, following her example, may
seek after thy wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ
our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever.
PRAYER (contemporary language):
Merciful God, who called your servant Macrina to reveal in her life and
her teaching the riches of your grace and truth: Mercifully grant that
we, following her example, may seek after your wisdom and live according
to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Lessons revised at GC 2009.
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MACRINA THE YOUNGER
MONASTIC AND TEACHER (19 JUL
the Great is remembered as the founder of Eastern monasticism. All Eastern
Orthodox monks are Basilian monks and follow a variation of the monastic
rule that he outlined. However, it is often overlooked that the community
of monks organized by Basil was preceded and inspired by a community of
nuns organized by his sister, Macrina.
Macrina the Elder lived in the days of the Emperor Diocletian, who made
a determined effort to destroy the Christian faith. She and her husband
fled into hiding, and survived into the time of Constantine. One of their
sons, Basil the Elder, and his wife Emmelia, had several distinguished
sons, including Basil the Great (see 14 June), Gergory of Nyssa (see 9
March), Peter of Sebastea, Naucratios, and (according to one ambiguously
worded communication) Dios of Antioch.
Their oldest offspring, however, was their daughter
Macrina (called Macrina the Younger to distinguish her from her grandmother).
She was betrothed at the age of twelve, after the custom of the day, but
when her fiance died, she determined to devote her life to prayer and
contemplation and to works of charity.After the death of her father, she
and her mother formed a community of women who shared her goals. She often
brought poor and hungry women home to be fed, clothed, nursed, or otherwise
taken care of, and many eventually joined the community, as did many women
After the death of their parents, Macrina was chiefly responsible for
the upbringing of her ten younger brothers. When they were disposed to
be conceited about their intellectual accomplishments, she deflated them
with affectionate but pointed jibes. Her example encouraged some of them
to pursue the monastic ideal, and to found monastic communities for men.
(Dios founded one of the most celebrated monasteries in Constantinople.)
Three of them (Basil, Gregory, Peter) became bishops, and all of them
were leading contenders for the faith of Nicea against the Arians.
Gregory, in his Life
of Macrina, records his last visit with her, and her farewell
speech and her prayers and teachings about the resurrection.
by James Kiefer