Blog Template Theology of the Body: Saint Macrina the Elder

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Saint Macrina the Elder

There are two Saints Macrina, one the grandmother of the other.

Reminding us of the holiness and usefulness of the Church's families, St. Macrina was the progenitor and teacher of several of the greatest of the great Cappadocian Fathers of the Church, her grandchildren: Basil (Ep. 204:7; 223:3), Gregory of Nyssa ("Vita Macrinae Junioris"), and the panegyric of St. Gregory of Nazianzus on St. Basil (Gregory Naz., Oratio 43). Besides being the matriarch of a remarkable spiritual family (living in Pontus-in-Asia, modern Northern Turkey, by the Black Sea) Macrina herself was a disciple of the distinguished Bishop of Neo-Caesarea in Pontus, St. Gregory the Wonderworker (+270).

She suffered much for the faith, including loss of property, but transferred to her children and her grandchildren the love of Christ which sustained her. During the Diocletian persecution she fled from her native town with her husband, and had to endure many privations. She was thus a confessor of the Faith during the last violent storm that burst over the early Church.

"On the intellectual and religious training of St. Basil and his elder brothers and sisters, she exercised a great influence, implanting in their minds those seeds of piety and that ardent desire for Christisn perfection which were later to attain so glorious a growth."