Macarius of Alexandria
|Saint Macarius of Alexandria|
|Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches|
|Feast||6 Pashons, 111 A.M.) (Coptic Orthodox)|
Macarius was born about the year 300 in Alexandria. He was a merchant until the age of 40, when he was baptized and went off into the desert. After several years of ascetic life he was ordained a presbyter and appointed prior of a monastery known as the “Kellii,” or “cells” in the Egyptian desert, between the Nitria mountain and a skete in which monastic hermits lived in silence, each in his own cell.
Having learned of the extremely strict rule for monastic life observed at the Tabbenesiot Monastery, whose prior was Venerable St. Pachomios the Great (+ 348), St. Macarius disguised himself in secular clothing, and over the course of the entire Quadragesima [the 40-day Great Lent] neither ate bread nor drank water. No one saw him eating or sitting down. He was making baskets of palm leaves while he was standing. The monks said to Saint Pachomius: "Cast out this man from here, for he is not human." A divine inspiration subsequently revealed Macarius' identity to him, and the monks rushed to receive his blessings. Having demonstrated humility and taught a lesson to all, St. Macarius returned to his own monastery.
In addition to a monastic rule and three brief apothegms, a homily "On the End of the Souls of the Righteous and of Sinners" is ascribed to him, although excellent Vienna manuscripts assign the latter to a monk named Alexander. Palladius and Sozomen also mention a Macarius the Younger of Lower Egypt, who lived in a cell for more than twenty three years to atone for a murder which he had committed.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Jackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1914). "article name needed". New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (third ed.). London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls.