St. Macarius is a fourth century saint from a small village in Egypt. In obedience to his parents, he married a young woman despite wishing to remain alone. However, he left to rest in the wilderness for a few days where he received a vision from the Cherubim showing him the entire desert and saying, “God has given this desert to you and your sons for an inheritance.” When he returned home his virgin wife had died. At that time, he knew it was time to leave the worldly life. He began attending church frequently and deeply studying the Holy Scriptures. After his parents death, he sought the guidance of a local elder who lived in the desert and guided him in watchfulness, fasting, prayer, and basket-weaving. Soon, he began to live in a cell near the elder who taught him with love.
The local people seeing his virtues told the bishop of St. Macarius, and he was ordained a priest, despite his protests. He was accused of seducing a woman from the nearby village and thus endured slander and torments. He was attacked and beaten by the villagers and he accepted this without a word. Instead, he sent the money from his baskets to the pregnant woman. When it was time for the child’s birth, the woman was unable to deliver the child until she confessed her lies against St. Macarius. When she did, the woman’s parents and many other locals sought his forgiveness, but he fled again to further into the desert inorder to avoid the praise of the town.
St. Macarius sought the wisdom of St. Anthony the Great and lived near him as a disciple for many years. Later, he was sent to the Skete monastery, and he became known as the “young elder.” He was a mature monk even though he was not even thirty years old. Eventually he became the abbot of the monks in the Skete desert. He remained close with St. Anthony the Great and was even present at his death.
Through his many years of ascetic practice, he was credited with many healings, and through his intercessions, the Lord raised the dead. His humility remained steadfast despite his recognition from many. One day, a thief came to his cell stealing his few worldly things. St. Macarius, without revealing himself as the owner, helped the thief tie the things to his donkey. The thief left, never knowing the saint’s generosity.
St. Macarius died at the age of 97. One of his disciples saw St. Macarius’ soul ascending to heaven. The demons yelled out to him, “You have conquered us, O Macarius!” He responded saying, “Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ who has delivered me from your hands.”
Feast Day: January 19th
Adapted from: St. Macarius OCA and Macarius the Great