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:AbbaMacariusTheGreat.jpg|thumb|right|Coptic icon of St. Macarius the Great
(295-392 A.D.)]] St. Abba ''' Marcarius the Great''' (295-392 A.D.; also known as '''Macarius the Egyptian''') was among the most influential [[Desert Fathers]] of Egypt, and a disciple of St. [[Anthony the Great]]. The [[ Coptic]] Orthodox Church celebrates his [[feast day]] on [[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]].
Not to be confused with St. [[Macarius of Alexandria]] [http://www.copticcentre.com/copticsaints.html#Saint%20Macarius%20of%20Alexandria].
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.
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 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 )
==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.wattfamily.org/macariushomily.html St. Macarius the Great -- Homily 52, the Feast of the Nativity]
Monastics]] [[ Category: Saints]]