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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Macrina, Monastic and Teacher, 379.

The figure of this devout woman towers over the fourth-century Christian church in Asia Minor. She was a powerful influence over her brothers, Gregory of Nyssa (see March 9) and Basil the Great (see June 14). The former wrote an inspired and inspiring biography of her, The Life of Saint Macrina.

When Macrina was still young she and her mother founded a religious community on their family estate at Annesi in Pontus. The community became famous not only as a place of prayer and study but also as one vigorously engaged in corporal acts of mercy. Macrina was passionately concerned about the poor, the sick, and the disabled; her convent was a place of refuge for desperate women and abused prostitutes. Her ideas about a Christian religious community were incorporated by her famous brothers into their rules, which remain standards in the Eastern Church to this day.

Macrina's commitment to the Nicene faith had a significant influence on her brothers. She and Basil both died just before the Council of Constantinople (381) which confirmed the Nicene Creed. Her brother Gregory was the most prominent leader of that Council and was honored by the title "Pillar of the Church" for his work there.

May we, like Macrina, fill our days with both prayer and acts of mercy. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Merciful God, you called your servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of your grace and truth: May we, following her example, seek after your wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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