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St Macrina June 30, 2011

Posted by daniel ayad in Saints.

St. Macrina (327-79) was the oldest of ten children. She was educated by her mother, who taught her to read. At the age of twelve she was betrothed, but her fiancé died suddenly. After this, although very beautiful, she refused all other suitors and devoted herself to a Christian life. Initially she educated her brothers and sisters St. Basil the Great, St. Peter of Sebastea, St. Gregory of Nyssa. They learned her contempt of the world, dread of its dangers, and application to prayer and the word of God. They also learned humility and St Peter called her ‘father, teacher, guide, mother, giver of good advice’. St Macrina joined the ascetic communal life through the work of St. Basil.

After the death of St. Emmelia, St. Macrina disposed of all her property in favour of the poor, and lived on what she earned by the labour of her hands. St. Basil the Great died in the beginning of 379 AD, and she fell ill nine months later. St. Gregory of Nyssa, making her a visit after eight years absence, found her sick, lying on two boards for her bed. Although she found it difficult to talk, her discussion of the future life was recorded by St. Gregory in a book. She died at the time of vespers after saying this wonderful prayer;

You have released us, O Lord, from the fear of death.

You have made the end of life here on earth

a beginning of true life for us.

You let our bodies rest in sleep in due season

and you awaken them again

at the sound of the trumpet.

You entrust to the earth our bodies of earth

which you have fashioned with your own hands

and you restore again what you have given,

transforming with incorruptibility and grace

what is mortal and deformed in us.

You redeemed us from the curse and from sin,

having become both on our behalf.

You have crushed the heads of the serpent

who had seized man in his jaws

because of the abyss of our disobedience

You have opened up for us a path

to the resurrection,

having broken down the gates of hell

and reduced to impotence

the one who had power over death.

You have given to those who fear you

a visible token, the sign of the holy cross,

for the destruction of the Adversary

and for the protection of our life.


God Eternal,

Upon whom I have cast myself from my mother’s womb,

Whom my soul has loved with all its strength,

To whom I have consecrated flesh and soul

from my infancy up to this moment,

Put down beside me a shining angel

to lead me by the hand to the place of refreshment

where is the water of repose near the lap of the holy fathers.

You who have cut through the flame

of the fiery sword and brought to paradise

the man who was crucified with you,

who entreated your pity,

remember me also in your kingdom,

for I too have been crucified with you,

for I have nailed my flesh out of reverence for you

and have feared your judgements .

Let not the dreadful abyss separate me

From your chosen ones

Let not the Slanderer stand against me on my journey.

Let not my sin be discovered before your eyes

If I have been overcome in any way

because of our nature’s weakness

and have sinned in word or deed or thought.

You who have on earth the power to forgive sins,

forgive me, so that I may draw breath again

and my be found before You

in the stripping off of my body

without stain or blemish in the beauty of my soul,

but may my soul be received

blameless and immaculate into your hands

as an incense offering before your face[1].

May her prayers be with us, and glory be to God forever more.

[1] Bishop Gregory of Nyssa, The life of Saint Macrina, pg 41-42, 2001



1. bishoymarcus - June 30, 2011

Saints produce saints as is evident in who here siblings were!

Truly remarkable how one family could produce such amazing calibre.

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