[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Macarius the Great

IV Century
Born c. 300 in Upper Egypt, St. Marcarius was among the Desert Fathers, whose sayings are a source for details of his life and theology. A cattle herd, he later settled at Sketis, where he headed a community of hermits. Ordained c. 340, he was famous for his conferences and instructions; he was influenced by and may have known Anthony of Egypt. Lucius, the Arian successor to Athanasius, exiled Macarius c. 374 to an island in the Nile because Macarius supported Athanasius. After his return from exile, Macarius continued to teach practical monastic theology until his death c. 390.

The Spiritual Homilies once attributed to him are now thought by many scholars to have been written in Syria, by someone influenced by Gregory of Nyssa. Thus in the scholarly literature one often finds references to "Pseudo-Macarius" or "Macarius Symeon".

Karen Rae Keck


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