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,
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
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
on the family.
Karen Rae Keck
St. Gregory of Nyssa:
Life of Macrina:
Macrina was Gregory's sister and a major
influence on his thought. Apart from its religious
aspect, this is one of the few ancient biographies of
a woman intellectual. Clarke translation, 1916.
Return to St Pachomius Library.