An introduction to the history of saint macrina

He became bishop of his native city inand 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.

An introduction to the history of saint macrina

Present for Synod at Constantinople. Footnotes [3] Rupp places this after the Council of Constantinople, The Life and Writings of Gregory of Nyssa.

In the roll of the Nicene Fathers there is no more honoured name than that of Gregory of Nyssa. Besides the praises of his great brother Basil and of his equally great friend Gregory Nazianzen, the sanctity of his life, his theological learning, and his strenuous advocacy of the faith embodied in the Nicene clauses, have received the praises of Jerome, Socrates, Theodoret, and many other Christian writers.

No province of the Roman Empire had in those early ages received more eminent Christian bishops than Cappadocia and the adjoining district of Pontus.

During the same century, too, no less than four other Gregories shed more or less lustre on bishoprics in that country. The family of Gregory of Nyssa was one of considerable wealth and distinction, and one also conspicuously Christian.

During the Diocletian persecution his grandparents had fled for safety to the mountainous region of Pontus, where they endured great hardships and privations. It is said that his maternal grandfather, whose name is unknown, eventually lost both life and property.

He died at a comparatively early age, leaving a family of ten children, five of whom were boys and five girls, under the care of their grandmother Macrina and mother Emmelia. Both of these illustrious ladies were distinguished for the earnestness and strictness of their Christian principles, to which the latter added the charm of great personal beauty.

All the sons and daughters appear to have been of high character, but it is only of four sons and one daughter that we have any special record. The daughter, called Macrina, from her grandmother, was the angel in the house of this illustrious family.

She shared with her grandmother and mother the care and education of all its younger members. Nor was there one of them who did not owe to her religious influence their settlement in the faith and consistency of Christian conduct. This admirable woman had been betrothed in early life, but her intended husband died of fever.

She permitted herself to contract no other alliance, but regarded herself as still united to her betrothed in the other world. She devoted herself to a religious life, and eventually, with her mother Emmelia, established a female conventual society on the family-property in Pontus, at a place called Annesi, on the banks of the river Iris.

Journal of Early Christian Studies

It was owing to her persuasions that her brother Basil also gave up the worldly life, and retired to lead the devout life in a wild spot in the immediate neighbourhood of Annesi. Here for a while he was an hermit, and here he persuaded his friend Gregory Nazianzen to join him.

They studied together the works of Origen, and published a selection of extracts from his Commentaries, which they called "Philocalia. His inclination for the monastic life had been greatly influenced by his acquaintance with the Egyptian monks, who had impressed him with the value of their system as an aid to a life of religious devotion.

He had visited also the hermit saints of Syria and Arabia, and learnt from them the practice of a severe asceticism, which both injured his health and shortened his days.

Gregory of Nyssa was the third son, and one of the youngest of the family. He had an elder brother, Nectarius, who followed the profession of their father, and became rhetorician, and like him died early. He had also a younger brother, Peter, who became bishop of Sebaste. Besides the uncertainty as to the year and place of his birth it is not known where he received his education.

From the weakness of his health and delicacy of his constitution, it was most probably at home. On the other hand we can have no difficulty in crediting his mother, of whom he always spoke with the tenderest affection, and his admirable sister Macrina, with the care of his religious teaching.

Writings of Gregory of Nyssa. Select Writings and Letters

Indeed few could be more fortunate than Gregory in the influences of home. In this chain of female relationship it is difficult to say which link is worthier of note, grandmother, mother, or daughter.

This Creed, it is said, was revealed to the Saint in a vision. Certain it is that Gregory had not the benefit of a residence at Athens, or of foreign travel.

An introduction to the history of saint macrina

It might have given him a strength of character and width of experience, in which he was certainly deficient. His shy and retiring disposition induced him to remain at home without choosing a profession, living on his share of the paternal property, and educating himself by a discipline of his own.

He remained for years unbaptized. And this is a very noticeable circumstance which meets us in the lives of many eminent Saints and Bishops of the Church. They either delayed baptism themselves, or it was delayed for them. Indeed there are instances of Bishops baptized and consecrated the same day.

His mother Emmelia, at her retreat at Annesi, urgently entreated him to be present and take part in a religious ceremony in honour of the Forty Christian Martyrs. He had gone unwillingly, and wearied with his journey and the length of the service, which lasted far into the night, he lay down and fell asleep in the garden.

He dreamed that the Martyrs appeared to him and, reproaching him for his indifference, beat him with rods. On awaking he was filled with remorse, and hastened to amend his past neglect by earnest entreaties for mercy and forgiveness.Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts.

Edited by Roger Pearse. These English translations are all out of copyright, but were not included in the 38 volume collection of .

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The Life of Macrina, by Gregory Bishop of Nyssa | Monastic Matrix

Translated with Introduction and Notes by Kevin Corrigan of St. Gregory's Vita Sancta Macrina. By permission of Peregrina Publishers. Please abide by the laws of copyright and Fair Use.

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