My apology must be that the subject on which you bade me write is greater than can be compressed within the limits of a letter. As often happens at such times, the [ B] talk flowed on until we came to discuss the life of some famous person. It is employed in a twofold sense, of the Christian religion generally and of asceticism in particular. For indeed her mother was so virtuous that she was guided on all occasions by the divine will.
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He became bishop of his native city in , and carried out the work of evangelising the district most thoroughly. Basil, brother of Gregory of 6 Nyssa, was brought up on the family estate at Annesi, near Neo-Caesarea, by his grandmother Macrina, who used to repeat to him the very words used by Gregory Thaumaturgus.
Soon after Basil became bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia in he forced his friend to accept the see of Sasima, a dusty village where the post changed horses. In he went to Constantinople as orthodox bishop; his sermons preached there have become famous. He died about A brief sketch of his life must now be given.
He came of a race of landed proprietors, who had estates in Cappadocia and Pontus and had won honourable distinction by their steadfast devotion to the faith under persecution. His parents, Basil and Emmelia, had ten children, of whom four sons and five daughters survived infancy. The eldest child, Macrina, is the subject of this biography; the other four daughters all made satisfactory marriages. Basil the Great was the eldest son. Next to him came Naucratius, who was killed on a hunting expedition in Pontus.
Gregory and Peter, the two youngest sons, became bishops eventually of Nyssa and Sebaste. It would be difficult to find in the whole of Church history a family so uniformly brilliant. Gregory was born about , probably at Caesarea. See p. As he slept in an arbour near the chapel he dreamed that the martyrs beat him with rods. When he awoke, he was filled with remorse, and soon afterwards became a Reader.
But presently, much to the disgust of Gregory of Nazianzus, he deserted his post in order to become a professor of rhetoric. But his growing seriousness, and the example of his brothers and sister, led him before long to espouse the ascetic life and become a member of the monastery in Pontus, where he spent some quiet and studious years.
Indeed, he was by nature far better fitted to be a student than a man of affairs. A striking example of the 9 simplicity of his character is afforded by the methods he adopted in order to heal a quarrel between his brother Basil and their uncle Gregory. He actually forged a letter purporting to come from the latter and asking for a reconciliation.
In Basil had become bishop and metropolitan of Caesarea. He found the post one of great difficulty, especially in view of the opposition of some of his suffragans. In , wishing to strengthen his position by surrounding himself with men whom he could trust, he forced his friend Gregory to accept the bishopric of Sasima, and his brother that of Nyssa. We need not recount in detail the troubles that pursued Gregory during his episcopate.
He was deposed and banished in , but was recalled on the death of the Emperor Valens in On January 1, , Basil died; in September of the same year Gregory attended a Council at Antioch, after which he determined to visit his sister Macrina in the monastery at Annesi. When the funeral ceremonies were over, he returned to his diocese, only to find a sad state of confusion.
Having introduced a certain measure of order, he set out on his travels once more, and visited Babylon with a view of reforming the Church there.
After this he went to the holy places of Palestine, where nothing but disillusionment awaited him. In he was present at the Council of Constantinople, and on several subsequent occasions we find him at that city. His death occurred about Gregory of Nyssa is a figure of great importance in the history of Christian doctrine and the eventual triumph of Nicene orthodoxy. For a sketch of his doctrinal system the reader is referred to J. With very few exceptions there is little margin for doubt as to the meaning of the Greek.
To reproduce it satisfactorily in English is another matter. In the opening pages of his letter Gregory indulges his well-known rhetorical tendency so freely that it is difficult to find suitable equivalents in English for all the synonyms which he employs. Accordingly in a few places a synonym that adds nothing to the sense has been omitted in the present translation.
Occasionally a sentence has been 12 recast with some freedom, in order to make a readable narrative for the English reader. But when Gregory gets to grips with his subject and describes his arrival at the monastery, the narrative becomes so clear and straightforward as to present no difficulties to the translator. A literal version of the artless and beautiful tale is all that is needed.
It is surprising that a story of antiquity, so charmingly told and full of human interest, should have attracted so little attention. Hitherto it has not been accessible to any but scholars. The Latin version in Migne is a useful guide to the meaning of the Greek, but cannot be relied on, as in places it is merely a paraphrase.
Had the story been written in the Greek of the fourth century B. But the pages of Migne arc given in the margin, and a number of paragraph headings provided for the convenience of the reader. The movement there assumed two main forms, the eremitic and the coenobitic. Antony c. In some cases there was a considerable amount of organisation, but the solitary or eremitic life lived in common was always quite different from the true common life.
Pachomius c. In Basil visited Egypt and returned 14 home, resolved to initiate the Pachomian mode of life in his own country. Eustathius of Sebaste was already working on the same lines, and the unorganised ascetic life in the world, to which Gregory of Nazianzus refers in his works, had paved the way for monasticism proper. Basil called his friend Gregory to fulfil a promise made in student days at Athens and join him in the ascetic life. This Gregory eventually did, though he was unable at first to pay more than a brief visit.
Basil chose for his experiment a spot of much natural beauty on the banks of the Iris. At Annesi, on the opposite side of the river, his mother Emmelia and sister Macrina were living on the family estate.
Basil put himself at the head of a community of men likeminded with himself, while Macrina, as described in the present book, began to organise a monastery on her side of the river. In the Life of St. Macrina we find a double 15 monastery, the men presided over by Peter, the women by Macrina. This seems to have been a natural development of the earlier ascetic family life to which Macrina had drawn her mother after the death of Naucratius.
We do not know to what extent it conformed to the regulations for double monasteries prescribed by Basil in his Rules. The subject of the Basilian coenobia and their place in the history of monasticism has been worked out in two recent monographs, St.
Basil and his Rule Oxford, , by E. Morison, and St. Basil the Great: a Study in Monasticism Cambridge, , by the present writer. Macrina throws a light on the arrangements of a double monastery in primitive times, and supplements the account given in the Pachomian and Basilian Rules. This subject has not yet been worked out with any completeness, so far as the writer is aware.
Perhaps the system arose independently in different lands and centuries under similar conditions of primitive enthusiasm. The rules governing the relations of monks and nuns in this priory bear so close a resemblance to those found in St. Basil, that the student will probably not be far wrong if he assumes that the plan of the buildings as sketched by Dr.
I, translated in Nicene Fathers series, Vol. VII, p. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Gregory of Nyssa
He became bishop of his native city in , and carried out the work of evangelising the district most thoroughly. Basil, brother of Gregory of 6 Nyssa, was brought up on the family estate at Annesi, near Neo-Caesarea, by his grandmother Macrina, who used to repeat to him the very words used by Gregory Thaumaturgus. Soon after Basil became bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia in he forced his friend to accept the see of Sasima, a dusty village where the post changed horses. In he went to Constantinople as orthodox bishop; his sermons preached there have become famous.
Macrina the Younger
Background[ edit ] The book of Acts depicts that on the Day of Pentecost there were visiting Jews who were "residents of Cappadocia "  in attendance. Christianity arose in Cappadocia relatively late with no evidence of a Christian community before the late second century AD. During the late fourth century there were around fifty of them. There were some adherents of heretical branches of Christianity, most notably Arians, Encratites and Messalians.
The Life of Saint Macrina
Shelves: favorite-books , catholic , hagiographies I read a Spanish translation of this that was so well done. It brought out the poetic beauty even in the most painful moments, such as the description of St. Macrina was such an example of sainthood for everyone, but particularly for women who seek to be closer to God, even nowadays, and St. How much of I read a Spanish translation of this that was so well done. Basil now. Nothing more glorious than a family that produces saints.
There she had stored her all, nothing was left on earth. Views Read Edit View history. Macrina the Younger We are brothers and sisters, in as much as we are children of the same Father, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit. She has indeed given her the true drug which cures disease; it is the healing that comes from prayer. Macrina —with much wisdom— soon drew Basil to the ideal of a Christian life. Now there [D] lived with us also our little daughter, who had been left with an affliction of the eye after an infectious illness. Another example given by her brother Gregory is truly worthy of attention.