Saint Macarius Macres

29 October 2011

Macarius was born in 1386 in Thessaloniki of a devout and distinguished family of the city, according to the Chronikon of Phrantzes, of Jewish origin. Having completed his general education in Thessaloniki, in which he made a special study of philosophy and rhetoric, he manifested, at the age of 18, a desire to become a monk of the Holy Mountain, but he was not able to put this inner impulse of his soul into practice because of the opposition of his mother. After her death, leaving behind friends and family, he settled at the Monastery of Vatopaidi, where after strict testing, he was tonsured as a monk by some learned and devout elder of the Monastery in 1409. After he had spent ten years in spiritual exercise and obedience, he was ordained, on the orders of his elder, first deacon and afterwards priest, becoming an adornment to the office of priest by his virtuous life. After the death of his elder, he subjected himself to another spiritual father, by the name of David. Together with this elder, he went, on the invitation of the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, to Constantinople, where he remained for two years. There St Macarius distinguished himself as an orator and interpreter of Holy Scripture and his fame spread throughout the city. He became particularly well known for his efforts to restore old, neglected monasteries. After his return to the Monastery, he remained there until 1424, when, because he was known in ecclesiastical circles in the capital for his many gifts, he was elected Abbot of the Pantocrator Monastery in Constantinople, also receiving the title of ‘Great Protosyncellus* of the Great Church of Christ’. As Abbot, he worked tirelessly for the renovation and remanning of his monastery. His efforts were crowned with success, and he was held in high regard both in church circles and by the Emperor. It was precisely for that reason that he was chosen to take part in various missions to Rome as representative of the Church of Constantinople. There he upheld the Orthodox doctrines with vigour and theological skill in his debates with the Latins. He fell asleep in the Lord on 7 January 1431 on the island of Chalce at the age of 45. His feast day is observed on 8 January9.