[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Macrina the Younger, called the Philosopher

The eldest child of Sts. Basil (the Elder) and Emiliana (Emelia), Macrina was born c. 327 and became the spiritual center of her family, which included St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sebaste. Educated in both spiritual and secular literature, Macrina wished never to marry and helped to raise her younger siblings. The death of her fiancé, whom her father had chosen, freed her from that obligation, and when her father died, she and Emiliana established a monastic community on their estate in the Pontus. She ran the community, as Basil ran his, as if it were a family. After the deaths of her father and brother, Naucraticos, Macrina comforted her mother, and after the deaths of her mother and brother, Basil, Macrina, already dying, comforted Gregory, who recorded their conversation in On the Soul and Resurrection. When Macrina died in 379, Gregory prepared her body for burial next to their mother; he later wrote the Life of Macrina as a tribute to his teacher and to her influence on the family.

Karen Rae Keck


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