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Macarius the Great

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Everybody - those on the Julian Calendar & those on the New Calendar - observes the feast of St Macarius on Jan 19, the date of his feast in the menaion. For those following the Julian Cal., that presently falls on Feb. 1 on the civil calendar.
[[Image:St Macarius the Great with Cherub.jpg‎|right|thumb|St. Macarius the Great with a [[Cherubim]].]][[Image:AbbaMacariusTheGreat.jpg|thumb|right|Coptic icon of St. Macarius the Great (295-392 A.D.)]] St. Abba '''Marcarius Macarius the Great''' (295-392 A.D.; also known as '''Macarius the Egyptianof Egypt''') was among the most influential authoritative [[Desert Fathers]] of Egypt, and a disciple of St. [[Anthony the Great]]. The [[CopticEastern Orthodox Church]] Orthodox Church celebrates his [[feast day]] on [[January 19]] ([[February 1]] by Julian Calendar). The Coptic Church at [[April 5]] ([[Coptic Calendar|Baramhat 27]]) , and the return of his body to his [[monastery]] at Scetis on [[August 25]] ([[Coptic Calendar|Mesra 19]]). The day appointed for his feast in Eastern Orthodoxy is [[January 19]], while the [[Roman Catholic]] Church celebrates it four days earlier on [[January 15]].
The current Coptic Orthodox Monastery "Fifty spiritual homilies" of St. Macarius [http://wwwof Egypt is an authoritative patristic source.stmacariusmonastery"The Homilies are well described as “spiritual” Homilies.org/], which lies in Wadi Natrun, That is their purpose and their character. They are not dogmatic; they are not controversial; they are not expository; they are not concerned with the ancient Scetis, 92 kilometers from Cairo on politics or the western side expansion of the desert road church; they have little to Alexandriasay about the Christian’s duty to his fellow-men. .. They have but one object, was founded to help to bring individual souls to God in 360 perfect self-subdual and absolute devotion."<ref>Fifty Spiritual Homilies of Saint Macarius the Egyptian - A.J. Mason D. by the saint, who during his lifetime was spiritual father to more than four thousand monks of different nationalities-Egyptians, Greeks, Ethiopians, Armenians, Nubians, Asians, Palestinians, Italians, Gauls and SpaniardsD. </ref>
The current Coptic Orthodox Monastery of St. Macarius the Great [http://www.stmacariusmonastery.org/] ([http://www.stmacariusmonastery.org/media/clips_1978.wmv video]), which lies in Wadi Natrun, the ancient Scetis, 92 kilometers from Cairo on the western side of the desert road to Alexandria, was founded in 360 A.D. by the saint, who during his lifetime was spiritual father to more than four thousand monks of different nationalities - Egyptians, Greeks, Ethiopians, Armenians, Nubians, Asians, Palestinians, Italians, Gauls and Spaniards.  Not to be confused with St. [[Macarius of Alexandria]] [http://www.copticcentre.com/copticsaints.html#Saint%20Macarius%20of%20Alexandria], [http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/9_6.html#2]; and St. Macarius the [[Martyr]] and [[Bishop]] of Edkao (near Assiut, Upper Egypt) [http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/2_27.html#1]. The [[relics]] of the three Macarii are today preserved at the aforementioned monastery.
==Life==
St. Macarius, one of the founding fathers of [[monasticism]], was born in the village of Shabsheer, Menuf, Egypt, around 300 A.D. (295 A.D. according to Coptic Orthodox Synaxarium) from good and righteous parents. His father's name was Abraham and his mother's name was Sarah and they had no son. In a vision at night, his father saw the [[angel]] of the Lord, who told him that God was about to give him a son, and his name will be known all over the earth, and he will have a multitude of spiritual sons. Shortly after this vision, they had a son and called him Macarius, which means "Blessed"."
St. Macarius the Great was obedient to his parents, and the [[grace ]] of [[God ]] was upon him since his young age. When he grew up his father forced him to get married against his will, so he pretended that he was sick for several days. Then he asked his father if he might go to the wilderness to relax a bit. He went to the wilderness and prayed to the Lord [[Christ]] to direct him to do what is pleasing to Him. While he was in the wilderness he saw a vision, and it seemed that one of the [[Cherubim]], with wings, took his hands, and ascended up to the top of the mountain, and showed him all the desert, east and west, and north and south. The Cherub told him, "God has given this desert to you and your sons for an inheritance." When he returned from the wilderness he found that his future wife, who was still virgin, had died, and Macarius thanked the Lord Christ. Shortly after, his parents departed, and he gave all what they had left to the poor and the needy. When the people of Shabsheer saw his chastity and purity, they took him to the [[bishop]] of Ashmoun (Egypt) who ordained him a [[priest]] for them. They built a place for him outside the city, and they went to him to confess and to partake from the Holy Mysteries.
Then it once happened that an unmarried pregnant girl accused him of fathering her child. The pious saint did not protest; he quietly accepted the responsibility she had unjustly laid on him, and was attacked and beaten by the villagers and the girl's family, who demanded that he support her. He did so, selling the baskets that he wove and giving the money to her parents.
When the time came for the girl to give birth, she was in great agony and cried out that it was not St. Macarius, but another man who was her baby's father. As soon as they heard this, the villagers felt ashamed of the way they had treated the saint, and went to ask his forgiveness. When they arrived at his little hut, they found it completely empty; he had fled from their praise and flattery.
St. Macarius was now (c. 330 A.D.) on his way to Scetis, where he would spend most of the remaining sixty years of his life. He dwelt in the inner desert, in the place of the monastery of Sts. Maximus and Domadius (now known as the Coptic Orthodox Monastery of El-Baramous). He went to visit St. Anthony the Great, who said about St. Macarius when he saw him, "This is an Israelite in whom there is no guile." St. Anthony put on him the Holy Eskeem ([[Tonsure|Great Schema]]), then St. Macarius returned to his place.
When the number of [[Monk|monks]] increased around him he built a church for them. St. Macarius' relationship with his fellow monks was a very special one. To them he was the 'aged youth' because, although he was young, having been thirty when he came to Scetis, he had the depth and wisdom of a person much older. St. Macarius fame also grew all over the country and many kings and Emperors heard about the [[Miracle|miracles]] that God performed at his hands. He healed the daughter of the king of Antioch that was possessed by an unclean spirit.
As they reached the monastery, all the monks came out holding candles and singing. Then they carried the body on their shoulders and went into the church in a great celebration, and God performed many wonders on that day.
==Quotes and Excerpts from his writings=====God for your sake humbled Himself===God, for your sake humbled Himself, and you will not be humbled for your own sake?! The Lord Himself who "This is the Way mark of Christianity—however much a man toils, and is Godhowever many righteousnesses he performs, after He came not on His own behalf but for you so to feel that He might be an example for you of everything goodhe has done nothing, see, He came and in such humilityfasting to say, taking "the form of a slaveThis is not fasting," [Philippians 2:7]and in praying, He Who "This is God, the Son of God, King, the Son of King ... But do not despise His divine dignityprayer, as you look " and in perseverance at Himprayer, externally humiliated as one like us. For our sakes He so appeared, not for Himself... When they spat in His face and placed a crown of thorns on Him and hit Him, what more humiliation could He "I have yet undergone?... If God condescends shown no perseverance; I am only just beginning to such insults practice and sufferings to take pains"; and humiliationeven if he is righteous before God, youhe should say, who by nature are clay and are mortal"I am not righteous, no matter how much you are humiliatednot I; I do not take pains, will never do anything similar to what your Master didbut only make a beginning every day. God, for your sake, humbled Himself and you will not be humbled for your own sake?!"
"The soul that really loves God and Christ, though it may do ten thousand righteousnesses, esteems itself as having wrought nothing, by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God. Though it should exhaust the body with fastings, with watchings, its attitude towards the virtues is as if it had not yet even begun to labour for them." "Souls that love truth and God, that long with much hope and faith to put on Christ completely, do not need so much to be put in remembrance by others, nor do they endure, even for a while, to be deprived of the heavenly desire and of passionate affection to the Lord; but being wholly and entirely nailed to the cross of Christ, they perceive in themselves day by day a sense of spiritual advance towards the spiritual Bridegroom." "God, for your sake humbled Himself, and you will not be humbled for your own sake?! The Lord Himself who is the Way and is God, after He came not on His own behalf but for you so that He might be an example for you of everything good, see, He came in such humility, taking "the form of a slave" [Philippians 2:7], He Who is God, the Son of God, King, the Son of King ... But do not despise His divine dignity, as you look at Him, externally humiliated as one like us. For our sakes He so appeared, not for Himself... When they spat in His face and placed a crown of thorns on Him and hit Him, what more humiliation could He have yet undergone?... If God condescends to such insults and sufferings and humiliation, you, who by nature are clay and are mortal, no matter how much you are humiliated, will never do anything similar to what your Master did. God, for your sake, humbled Himself and you will not be humbled for your own sake?!" --St. Macarius the Great (''Homily 26, 25-26)''.
===The aim of the Incarnation===
"I would wish to speak about a more subtle and profound topic to the best of my ability. Wherefore, listen attentively to me. The infinite, inaccessible and uncreated God has assumed a body, and on account of His immense and ineffable kindness, if I may say it, He diminished Himself, lessening His inaccessible glory so as to be able to be united with His creatures, so they can be made participators of divine life [2 Peter 1:4]. God who transcends all limitations and far exceeds the grasp of our human understanding, through His goodness has diminished Himself and has taken the members of our human body which He surrounded with inaccessible glory. And through His compassion and love for mankind, taking upon Himself a body, He mingles Himself and becomes "one spirit" [1 Corinthians 6:17] with them, according to Paul's statement. He becomes a soul, if I may so say it, in a soul, substance in substance so that the soul may live in God, and sense the immortal life and become a participator in eternal glory.  " --St. Macarius the Great (''Homily 4, 9-10)''.
''See also'': [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arbible/message/25833 Selected Sayings of St. Macarius]
==Hymns==
[[Troparion]] (Tone 1)
:Dweller of the desert and angel in the body
:you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father Macarius.
:You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer:
:Healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith.
:Glory to Him who gave you strength!
:Glory to Him who granted you a crown!
:Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!
[[Kontakion]] (Tone 4)
:The Lord truly placed you in the house of abstinence,
:As a star enlightening the ends of the earth,
:Venerable Macarius, Father of Fathers.
==Sources and further details==
* The Coptic Orthodox Synaxarium: [http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/7_27.html#2], [http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/12_19.html#1]
* [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9049609 Macarius The Egyptian (''Encyclopædia Britannica'')]
* [http://www.coptic.net/articles/CopticTheologyBites.txt Coptic Theology Bites: Excerpts from the theological writings of the Coptic Fathers (CoptNet)]
* [http://www.stmarycoptorthodox.org/deir_anba_magar.htm Deir Abu Maqar - page at the Web site of St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada]
* [http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/magar.htm The Monastery of St. Macarius (Deir Abu Magar) - by Jimmy Dunn]
* ''Coptic Monasticism in the Time of St. Macarius'' - by Fr. [[Matta El-Meskeen|Matta el-Meskeen]], Abbot of St. Macarius the Great Monastery at Scetis. Published in 1972 (880 pp.)
*[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=100226 Venerable Macarius the Great of Egypt] from [[OCA]] web site.
 
<references/>
==Related links==
* [http://www.wattfamily.org/macariushomily.html St. Macarius the Great -- Homily 52, the Feast of the Nativity]
[[Category:Monastics]]
[[Category:Priests]]
[[Category:Desert Fathers]]
[[Category:Saints]]
[[Category:Byzantine Saints]]
[[Category:Egyptian Saints]]
[[Category:Monastics4th-century saints]] [[Categoryro:SaintsMacarie cel Mare]]
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