Monday January 4th – Saint Macrina



There was also a ‘Cappadocian Mother’, Basil’s older sister, Macrina. At the age of twelve she was betrothed to be married, but before the marriage could take place her fiancé died, whereupon she insisted that, since a person could only marry once, and since betrothal was spiritually equivalent to marriage, she would henceforth live as a widow dedicated to Christ. Following the death of their father soon afterwards, Macrina instigated the conversion of their household into a monastic community, emancipating the slaves and abolishing all distinctions of social rank. When Basil returned home from his studies in Athens, she was unimpressed with the airs and graces he had acquired. According to the Life of Macrina, written by their brother Gregory of Nyssa, Basil ‘was at that time excessively puffed up with the thought of his own eloquence and was disdainful of local dignities, since in his own inflated opinion he surpassed all the leading luminaries. She, however, took him in hand and drew him with such speed towards the goal of philosophy that he withdrew from the worldly show and despised the applause to be gained through eloquence, and went over of his own accord to the life where one toils with one’s own hands, thus providing for himself through perfect renunciation a life that would lead without impediment to virtue.’



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