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Macarius the Great

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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], and St. Macarius the [[Martyr]] and [[Bishop]] of Edfu (Upper Egypt). The [[relics]] of the three Macarii are today preserved at the aforementioned monastery.
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.
==Related links==
* [http://www.stmacariusmonastery.org/eabout.htm '''The Coptic Orthodox Monastery of St. Macarius the Great at Scetis (Wadi Natrun), Egypt''']
* [http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/magar.htm The Monastery of St. Macarius (Deir Abu Magar) - by Jimmy Dunn]
* [http://www.wattfamily.org/macariushomily.html St. Macarius the Great -- Homily 52, the Feast of the Nativity]