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The Spirituality of the Heart and the Concept of Compassion as presented in the Homilies of St Macarius

St Macarius, a Syrian monk from the 4th century whose true identity remains quite mysterious[1], is positioned as one of the main sources and influences to the spirituality of the heart, so fervent within the Christian Orthodox tradition. This article will attempt to examine the contents of his homilies, drawing out the main aspects of his spirituality, and also the Saint’s concept of compassion. It will also attempt to point out the relevance these writings have for Christians today

The Heart in St Macarius

The heart in St Macarius becomes the central theme within his spirituality[2], and is pervaded throughout his homilies. In the physical sense, we see the heart as the most vital organ, centrally crucial to the body’s life force; in St Macarius though, the heart becomes more complex, other than its physical importance, the heart acquires metaphysical and mystical connotations, which affects its significance toward the spiritual life, denoting the central aspect of one’s personhood.

For St Macarius the heart rules over and controls every one of our actions, “the heart directs and governs all the other organs of the body,”[3] (ἡγεμονεύει καὶ βασιλεύει ὅλου τοῦ σωματικοῦ ὀργάνου)[4] and is also where our intellect lies, “for there, in the heart, the mind abides as well as all the thoughts of the soul and all its hopes.”[5] (Ἐκεῖ γάρ ἐστιν ὁ νοῦς καὶ ὅλοι οἱ λογισμοὶ τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ ἡ προσδοκία αὐτῆς.)[6] The heart can be seen as the inner side to a person, the unconscious realm which is vastly in-depth, “there are infinite depths to the human heart,”[7] a notion much in line with the biblical sense, that “the heart is deep” (Ps 64:6). Thus, whatever resides in the heart affects the entire person, body and soul.

It is in the heart, according to St Macarius, where both grace and sin are experienced, and where each takes their abode. More importantly, the heart is seen as the meeting point between ourselves and God, and is the gateway where grace enters in order to transcend us. Kallistos Ware in a similar fashion states that,

“Through the heart, then, the divine grace permeates our entire personhood, not only transforming the soul but penetrating also “throughout all parts of the body” (H. 15:20). The heart is the symbol of our personal unity, the center where the physical and non-material, the created and the uncreated converge.”[8]

We thus see how St Macarius stipulates in his spirituality the crucial importance the heart takes in the lives of Christians, becoming the “knot” within our composite structure, that of body and soul, but also the sacred space in where the Divine is met.

Sin abiding in the Heart

Most would presume today that it is that which is external to our soul and body, which hinders and causes us to sin, but on the contrary, according to St Macarius, it is the presence of sin which resides within, namely in our hearts, which affects our actions.

“The heart is but a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and there are lions also; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. There also are rough and uneven roads; there are precipices.”[9]

From the moment of Adam’s fall, according to St Macarius, sin entered into the human being’s heart[10], remaining there since,

“the serpent entered and became master of the house and became like a second soul with the real soul…Indeed, sin, after it entered into man’s soul, became its members, adhering to the corporeal person and from this source there pour out from the heart many unclean thoughts.”[11] (ὁ ὄφις δεσπότης γέγονε τοῦ οἴκου καὶ ὡς ψυχὴ ἑτέρα μετὰ τῆς ψυχῆς ἐστι… Ἐπεὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία, ἐπεισελθοῦσα τῇ ψυχῇ, μέλος αὐτῆς γέγονε καὶ αὐτῷ τῷ σωματικῷ ἀνθρώπῳ κεκόλληται καὶ βρύουσι πολλοὶ καὶ ἀκάθαρτοι λογισμοὶ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ.)[12]

It is from this tainted heart that the root of corruption lies; from within the heart sin finds its birth, being dispersed through the members in deed and thought. “For what injures and corrupts a person is from within.”[13]

Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts” (Mt 15:19), as the Lord says, because the things that corrupt man are within. Therefore, from within is the spirit of evil, creeping and progressing in the soul. It appeals to reason. It incites. It is as the veil of darkness, “the old man” (2 Cor 5:17).”[14]

Therefore all sins committed by the human person stem out of the heart, internally. St Macarius’ tradition, as seen, follows similarly with the tradition of the Scriptures. Having the presence of sin in the heart though, does not relinquish a human being’s free will; while still present and active, the will however, becomes influenced by the presence of sin, desiring to do that which is contrary to human nature[15].

St Macarius contends that,

“We have received into ourselves something that is foreign to our nature, namely, the corruption of our passions through the disobedience of the first man which has strongly taken over in us, as though it were a certain part of our nature by custom and long habit. This must be expelled again by that which is also foreign to our nature, namely, the heavenly gift of the Spirit, and so the original purity must be restored.”[16] (Ξένον γὰρ τῆς φύσεως ἡμῶν, τὴν κακίαν τῶν παθῶν διὰ τῆς παρακοῆς τοῦ πρώτου ἀνθρώπου ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἐδεξάμεθα, ἣν καὶ ὥσπερ φύσιν ἡμῶν, καταστᾶσαν συνηθείᾳ καὶ προλήψει πολλῇ διὰ τοῦ ξένου τῆς φύσεως ἡμῶν, τῆς ἐπουρανίου δωρεᾶς τοῦ Πνεύματος, ἐξωθῆναι πάλιν χρὴ καὶ εἰς ἀρχαίαν καθαρότητα ἀποκαταστῆναι.)[17]

We must then purify ourselves, according to St Macarius, from that which has stained our nature, and which incites us to do evil. For in purifying the heart, we make it an abode fit for Christ to dwell in, but it is only through His grace, by His sending of the Holy Spirit, that one can purge their heart from evil.

“For the true healing of the soul comes from the Lord alone. For it says, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29), namely, of the person that has believed in him and has loved him with his whole heart.”[18]

The Importance of the Holy Spirit[19] and the Intercessions of Christ

The Holy Spirit takes on a heavy emphasis within St Macarius’ spirituality; he contends that without this divine gift no one can do anything to heal their hearts. It forms a central bearing in purifying the heart and he accounts that every good action done by the human person cannot come about without the Holy Spirit[20].

“And as the body without the souls is dead, and cannot do anything whatsoever, so without the heavenly soul, that is, the divine Spirit, the soul is reckoned dead as far as the kingdom goes, being unable to do any of the things of God without the Spirit.”[21]

Thus, the Holy Spirit stands as the prerequisite in cleansing the heart and without it all attempts made by the human person are in vain; for the Holy Spirit pervades throughout all divine actions and virtues. Without this gift, all our virtues and struggles remain futile. Also, in connection with the Holy Spirit, St Macarius’ spirituality has Jesus Christ as the main crux[22], whom intercedes and bestows upon those who have love for Him, who struggle and labor for Him, the divine gift of the Holy Spirit.

The soul that truly tends toward the Lord completely forces itself to a total love of him. It is held fast in a willed dedication, as far as is possible, to God alone. From him it obtains the help of grace.[23]

The Christian in receiving such a gift, gradually transcends, transforms, and is divinized through the heart according to his/her purity and the melding of their will to the Lord’s.

“For our Lord Jesus Christ came for this reason, to change and transform and renew human nature and to recreate this soul that had been overturned by passions through the transgression. He came to mingle human nature with his own Spirit of the Godhead.”[24] (Καὶ γὰρ ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς διὰ τοῦτο παραγέγονεν, ὥστε τὴν φύσιν ἀλλάξαι καὶ μεταβαλεῖν καὶ ἀνακαινίσαι καὶ ἀνακτίσαι τήν ψυχὴν ταύτην τὴν κατεστραμμένην τοῖς πάθεσι διὰ τὴν παράβασιν, κεράσας τῷ ἰδίῳ αὑτοῦ Πνεύματι τῆς θεότητος.)[25]

It is Christ who our petitions fall upon, who we force ourselves to struggle for, becoming Christocentric in our ways, beseeching Him for mercy, asking Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit;

that we may, in synergy with the Lord’s will, strive to rid our hearts of all impurity, that Christ may establish His throne and allow His grace to flow freely throughout all our members, for “when grace pastures in the heart, it rules over all the members and the thoughts…this is how grace penetrates throughout all parts of the body.”[26] In purifying the heart, one hopes to attain that which was stated in the Scriptures, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Mt 5:8),” in such a heart, St Macarius contends, that the experience of God is truly felt.

Ware maintains that,

Christianity, as Macarius understands it, involves much more that assent to reasoned arguments or outer obedience to a moral code. It consists above all in the awakening of our spiritual senses, so that we attain a direct, palpable awareness of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts.”[27]

Purifying the Heart

We move now to the topic of purifying the heart, for in St Macarius, this is a necessary process in order that we may come to the point of divinization[28], and receive that foretaste of eschatological glory which occurred in Christ[29].

In so far as anyone, through faith and zeal, has been deemed worthy to receive the Holy Spirit, to that degree his body also will be glorified in that day. What the soul now stores up within shall then be revealed as a treasure and displayed externally in the body…The glory of the Holy Spirit rises up from within, covering the and warming the bodies of the saints. This is the glory they interiorly had before, hidden in their souls. For what they now have, that same then pours out externally into the body.”[30]

On purifying the heart, many ascetical practices are recommended by St Macarius, but the emphasis lies mainly on inner warfare[31]. One, through the Holy Spirit[32] is to examine his/her thoughts, for they come out of the heart. Through such examination, one is to struggle against perverse intentions, burning them up through prayer. In this way the heart positions itself as an altar, arising from it, our prayers, which act as an anaphora, inviting the Lord to reside within, in the hope that He builds His kingdom within our hearts. For,

“This is the measure of your struggle, not to commit adultery in your thoughts, but to resist and to take up the interior war, and to battle and not to yield nor to delight in evil thoughts…It is, therefore, necessary to repair and rebuild it [the heart]; its storerooms and bedrooms must be cleaned up. For Christ the King with all his angels and spirits is coming there so that he may find his rest, he may live and move about freely and set up his kingdom.”[33] (Χρὴ οὖν τοῦτο ἀνακτισθῆναι καὶ ἀνοικοδομηθῆναι καὶ εὐτρεπισθῆναι τὰ ταμεῖα καὶ τὰ κουβοὺκλια. Ἐκεῖ γὰρ ὁ βασιλεὺς Χριστὸς μετὰ τῶν Ἀγγέλων καὶ τῶν ἁγίων πνευμάτων ἔρχεται ἐπαναπαυθῆναι καὶ οἰκῆσαι καὶ ἐμπεριπατῆσαι καὶ θεῖναι τὴν ἑαυτοῦ βασιλείαν.)[34]

Detachment and a renunciation of one’s will are necessary within the purification of the heart; one is to strive to fixate all thoughts unto God alone, to unite their will with the Lord’s. We are to free ourselves from the constraints of the worldly spirit, of an attitude detrimental to our faith, so that through the Lord’s mercy we may attach ourselves to the things of Heaven[35].

“But one cannot possess his soul and the love of the heavenly Spirit unless he cuts himself off from the things of this world and surrenders himself to seek the love of Christ. His mind must be freed from all crass and material concerns so that he may be totally taken up with only one aim, namely, to direct all these things according to the commandments so that his whole concern, striving, attention, and preoccupation of soul may be centered on the search for transcendent values as the soul may strive to be adorned with the Gospel virtues and the heavenly Spirit and may become a participator in the purity and sanctification of Christ.”[36]

Aside from detachment, the other emphasis on purifying the heart lies in prayer[37]. St Macarius, in line with scripture[38], commends that prayer should be ceaseless[39]; for this super-natural act is essential, so that we, who are foreign to the nature of divine grace, may receive through our undying cries, that which filters the heart from evil, the gift of the Holy Spirit[40].

“Then the Lord, seeing such an intention and his good diligence… has mercy on him and frees him from his enemies and the indwelling sin. He fills him with the Holy Spirit. And gradually without force or struggle he keeps all the Lord’s commandments in truth. Or, rather, it is the Lord who keeps in him his very own commandments and then he brings forth purely the fruits of the Spirit.”[41]

St Macarius holds prayer as the main perpetuator of all other virtues[42], prayer being the fundamental link which builds upon a chain of virtues[43]. But one must not misunderstand the emphasis on prayer, for all virtues are to be cultivated; the act of prayer though, becomes the driving force, in that we plead for an abundance of virtues, which come into fruition through prayer.

For just as he forces himself to prayer, even when unwilling, so everyone must push himself likewise to trust, so also to humility, so to charity, so to meekness, sincerity, and simplicity, so “unto every patience and long-suffering with joy” (Col 1:11)… He strives to live according to all the ways of the Lord, in the practice of virtue and good noble conduct, to possess all manifestations of goodness.”[44]

One is to note that the purification of the heart is a life long journey, a gradual ascension; we move from grace to grace throughout it, for we can never exhaust it[45]. This is why St Macarius reminds us, that in all these things, much perseverance is needed, much struggle; for our wills will be tested constantly, and our hearts will be scathed, to see if we are strong in faith to receive the Holy Spirit, for our battle does not exist without it.

“We have offered these examples of Holy Scripture to show that the power of divine grace is in man and the gift of the Holy Spirit which is given to the faithful soul comes forth with much contention, with much endurance, patience, trials, and testings. Through such, man’s free will is put to the test by all sorts of afflictions.”[46] (Ταύτας δὲ τὰς ἀφορμὰς ἐκ τῶν Γραφῶν ἠνέγκαμεν πρὸς τὸ ἀποδεῖξαι ὅτι ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῆς χάριτος ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ γιγνομένη ἐνέργεια καὶ τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου, ὅπερ ἡ πιστὴ ψυχὴ λαμβάνειν καταξιοῦται, μετὰ πολλοῦ ἀγῶνος καὶ ὑπομονῆς πολλῆς καὶ μακροθυμίας καὶ πειρασμῶν καὶ δοκιμασιῶν γίγνεται, τῆς αὐτεξουσίου προαιρέσεως διὰ παςῶν θλίψεων δοκιμαζομένης.)[47]

Three particular stages one undergoes in Purification

Three particular stages are to undergone in the spiritual life according to St Macarius:

1.  Firstly, our hearts are full of sin, which although, as previously stated, does not relinquish our freedom of will, but we become susceptible to commit evil.

2.  In the second stage, after receiving baptism into the Holy Spirit, we are imbued with grace, and there in the heart, sin and grace co-exist together, competing as it were for the submission of the heart.

“There are some persons in whom grace is operative and working in peace. Within, however, evil is also present hiddenly, and the two ways of existing, namely, according to the principles of light and darkness, vie for dominance within the same heart.”[48]

3.  In the last stage sin is expelled from the heart, through God’s grace, and is united with Christ. This last stage can be seen as divinization, where one through struggle of will and perseverance becomes Christ like.

If, therefore, you have become a throne of God and the Heavenly Charioteer has mounted you and your whole soul is a spiritual eye and has become totally light…if finally your interior man has experienced all these and had been rooted in the abundance of faith, then, behold, you already live the eternal life, indeed, with your soul resting in the Lord.”[49]

But one should not assume that in acquiring such a state one is free from sin and temptation, for St Macarius attests, that as long as we are here in this life, one is never free from temptation, and Satan constantly wars against us[50]. One can always meet their downfall; great care is to be taken, to avoid pride and complacency.

“So it is also with man’s heart. It has the good thoughts, but the rivers of evil are always flowing near the heart, seeking to bring it down and draw it to its own side.”[51]

The Concept of Compassion

The concept of compassion in St Macarius takes the highest place with reference to the heart. He holds it as the peak of purity, denoting that it is the compassionate person who holds a pure heart; for he/her is truly God-like. This becomes the external manifestation par excellence of the inner purity cultivated, through we attain our salvation.

This is purity of heart, that, when you see sinners and the weak, you have compassion and show mercy toward them.”[52] (Αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ καθαρότης τῆς καρδίας, ἵνα ἰδὼν τοὺς ἁμαρτωλοὺς ἢ ἀσθενεῖς, συμπαθήςῃς, καὶ εὔσπλαγχνος ἐπ’αὐτοῖς γενῇ)[53] and, “There is no other way to be saved except through your neighbor[54]

St Isaac the Syrian, a 7th century saint of the church, continues along the same tradition as St Macarius, aligning compassion with those pure in heart, as reported by John McGuckin who states that, “For Isaac, compassion is the pre-eminent sign of lucidity and purity of heart.”[55] We see evidence of this in St Isaac’s third Ascetical Homily,

“Let this be for you a luminous sign that your soul has reached limpid purity: when after thoroughly testing yourself, you find that you are full of mercy for all humankind, and that your heart is afflicted by the intensity of your pity for people, and burns like a fire, without making distinctions between people. By this, when it constantly occurs, the image of the heavenly Father will be seen in you.”[56]

The legacy of St Macarius

The legacy of St Macarius’ spirituality of the heart continues throughout the Christian tradition. Many examples[57] can be seen from the writings of St Diadochos, 5th century, St Maximus, late 6th-7th century, and, as noted previously, St Isaac the Syrian. The tradition of the heart takes on further nuances in later centuries with the development of Hesychasm[58].

St Diadochos continues from St Macarius, but develops are more nuanced approach to the heart, diverging from the idea that the heart is corrupt. McGuckin states that for St Diadochos, “It is not the heart which is corrupt, he teaches, but the thoughts of the intellect which we feel in the heart once we have admitted them from outside.”[59]

Other than this one can see many similarities in his theology coming from St Macarius. One particular example is seen in reference to the Holy Spirit.

The communion of the Holy Spirit brings this about within us. For unless His divinity actively illumines the inner shrine of our heart, we shall not be able to taste God’s goodness with the perceptive faculty undivided.”[60]

Finally we come to St Maximus, who along with St Isaac continues the tradition of compassion being the height of all virtues, a manifestation of divine love.

“This is why the Savior says, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they see God,” because he is hidden in the heart of those who believe in him. They will see him and the treasures in him when they purify themselves by love [compassion] and self-mastery.”[61]

Marcus Plested records the legacy of St Macarius in St Maximus, stating that, Maximus follows St Macarius in seeing the heart as the locus of the spiritual struggle, the place where man encounters God and evil,”[62] and also when he notes that, “Maximus has used the Macarian understanding of the place of the heart to balance the primacy of the intellect found in Evagrius. This gives his anthropology a far more holistic quality. He has grounded Evagrian spirituality in the earth of a Macarian heart.”[63]

 

 

Turning back to St Isaac, one can find in his writings a strong influence from St Macarius’ spirituality, namely, the concept of compassion as the measure of pure heart, as noted previously, but also in reference to the heart, St Isaac too, holds it along with St Macarius, as the gateway into the spiritual life.

“The beginning of virtue is the fear of God [which], is said [to be] the offspring of faith. Indeed it is sown in the heart when a man allows his mind to contain its roving impulses from the distractions of the world within the inner illuminations which arise from the reflection on the order of the things to come.”[64]

 

We thus bear witness to the strong imprint St Macarius has made within Christian tradition, with his legacy perpetuating through many Saints of the church.

What St Macarius can tell us today

Many things can be gained from St Macarius’ spirituality, and be implemented by Christians today; particularly the stress St Macarius focuses on the internal warfare.

Today we can bear witness to the many Christians who attempt to live a Christ-like life by just laying emphasis on the external aspects of our tradition, focusing on deeds, without enriching the content of their inner selves.

Too often we try and live out these commandments of the Lord without prayer, then ponder as to why we fall. Prayer must become the prerequisite before all other virtues are to be put into practice, as we learn from the Macarian homilies, for without, we are sure to fall, attempting to bear the yoke of the Lord without Him.

Also to be gained is St Macarius outlook on compassion as the sign of those pure in heart. Rather than admonish, we are to have mercy on our fellow human beings, sinners or righteous, faithful or unfaithful; compassion does not distinguish, and we are to strive for it. We see the height of this purity coming from St Macarius himself.

“After I received the experience of the sign of the cross, grace now acts in this manner. It quiets all my parts and my heart so that the soul with the greatest joy seems to be a guileless child. No longer am I a man that condemns Greek or Jew or sinner or worldling. Truly, the interior man looks on all human beings with pure eyes and finds joy in the whole world. He really wishes to reverence and love all Greeks and Jews.”[65]

 

Having witnessed the spiritual treasure of St Macarius’ homilies, one can conclude the great significance they have within the Christian tradition. The spirituality of the heart lays out the importance of internal cultivation, and the need for cultivation of a compassionate heart.

We see how the Homilies lie as one of the many sources to the spiritually of the heart, and how St Macarius’ legacy impacts heavily upon tradition.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

St Isaac of Nineveh. St Isaac of Nineveh on Ascetical Life. Translated by Mary Hansbury. Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1989.

Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου. Edited by Σωτηρίου Ν. Σχοινά. Βόλω: Αγιορειτικής Βιβλιοθήκης, 1964.

St Macarius. Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter. Edited and translated by George A. Maloney, S.J. New York: Paulist Press, 1992.

St Maximus. Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings. Translation and notes by George C. Berthold. New York: Paulist Press, 1985.

Nelson, Thomas.  The New King James Bible, New Testament. New York: American Bible Society, 1982.

Philokalia. The Philokalia: The Complete Text. 4 vols. Edited and translated by G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1979.

Secondary Sources

Burns, Stuart. ‘Divine Ecstasy in Gregory of Nyssa and Pseudo-Macarius: Flight and Intoxication’. GOTR 44 (1999): 309-327.

Golitzin, Hieromonk Alexander. ‘A Testimony to Christianity as Transfiguration: The Macarian Homilies and Orthodox Spirituality’. In: S. T. Kimborough, Jr (ed). Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality. Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 2002: 129-156.

Golitzin, Hieromonk Alezander. Et Introibo Ad Altare Dei: The Mystagogy of Dionysius Areopagita, with Special Reference to its Predecessors in the Eastern Christian Tradition. Θεσσαλονίκι: Πατριαρχικόν Ίδρυμα Πατερικών Μελέτων, 1994.

Louth, Andrew. The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983.

McGuckin, John. ‘The Prayer of the Heart in Patristic and Early Byzantine Tradition’. In: Allen, Pauline (ed). Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church. Brisbane: Centre for Early Christian Studies, 1999: 69-108.

Plested, Marcus. The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Orlov, Andrei and Golitzin, Alexander. ‘”Many Lamps are Lighted from the One”: Paradigms of the Transformational Vision in Macarian Homilies’. Vigiliae Christianae 55 (2001): 281-298.

Saint Macarius the Great. ‘The Good God, the Holy Power, and the Paraclete: “To the Sons of God” (Ad filios Dei) by Saint Macarius the Great’. Translated by Vivian, Tim. Anglican Theological Review 80:3 (1998): 338-365.


[1] For more information about the identity of St Macarius, see St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter, Ed. and trans. George A. Maloney, S.J. (New York: Paulist Press, 1992), 6.

[2] “The spirituality of the Macarian Homilies is a spirituality of the heart…of longing for God in the depth of one’s being, of feeling that is deeper than thought, a spirituality that seeks to penetrate the depths of the soul.” – Andrew Louth, The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 116.

[3] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter 15:20, Ed. and trans. George A. Maloney, S.J. (New York: Paulist Press, 1992), 116.

[4] Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου (15), Ed. by Σωτηρίου Ν. Σχοινά (Βόλω: Αγιορειτικής Βιβλιοθήκης, 1964), 75

[5] St Macarius, op. cit. (Fn 3), 116.

[6] Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου, op. cit. (Fn 4), 75.

[7] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (15:32), 120.

[8] Kallistos Ware in St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter, pg. xvi.

[9] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (43:7), 222.

[10] “So also Adam was created pure by God for his service. All these creatures were given to him to serve him. He was destined to be the lord and king of all creatures. But when the evil word came to him and conversed with him, he first received it through an external hearing. Then it penetrated into his heart and took charge of his whole being.” – St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (11:5), 92.

[11] Ibid., (15:35), 121.

[12] Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου, op. cit. (Fn 4), 79.

[13] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (42:2), 218.

[14] Ibid., (42:2-3), 218-219.

[15] “For the sin which gained entrance, being a sort of power and an intellectual creation of Satan, sowed the seeds for all evils. It works in a hidden manner in the inner man and in the mind and contends with the thoughts. However, men are unaware that they are being moved by a certain foreign power when they do these things, but they think these are done naturally and that they do them with a certain self-determination.” – St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (15:49), 127. Also see Ibid., (15:48), 126.

[16] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (4:8), 53.

[17] Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου (4), 31.

[18] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (44:3), 224.

[19] On the Spirit-centeredness of St Macarius, cf. Saint Macarius the Great, ‘The Good God, the Holy Power, and the Paraclete: “To the Sons of God” (Ad filios Dei) by Saint Macarius the Great’, Trans. Tim Vivian (Anglican Theological Review, 1998), 349.

[20] “It is impossible that anyone can serve God not using God’s vessels, which means without grace, and still seek to please him in all God’s will.” – St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (15:5), 110.

[21] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (30:3), 191.

[22] See also Hieromonk Alexander Golitzin, ‘A Testimony to Christianity as Transfiguration: The Macarian Homilies and Orthodox Spirituality’, in Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality, ed. S. T. Kimborough, Jr. (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 2002), 132.

[23] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (5:6), 68.

[24] Ibid., (44:1), 223.

[25] Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου (44), 160.

[26] St Macarius, op. cit. (Fn 3), 116.

[27] Kallistos Ware, op. cit. (Fn 8), pg. xiv.

[28] “That heavenly fire of the Godhead which Christians receive interiorly in their hearts now in this life, that same fire which now directs their hearts, bursts forth upon the dissolution of the body. It again pulls together the members of the body and brings about a resurrection of the dismembered body.” – St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (11:1), 90.

[29] Cf. St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (15:38), 122-123.

[30] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (5:8-9), 73.

[31] See Golitzin, op. cit. (Fn 22), 133-134.

[32] “Truly the soul is incapable of studying its own thoughts and discerning them. But with the divine lamp lit, the light dispels the darkness from the house. Then a person sees his own thoughts, how they have been covered by impurity and the mud of sin.” – St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (11:4), 91-92. Also see Ibid., (14:6), 107.

[33] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (15:28,33), 119-120.

[34] Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου, op. cit. (Fn 4), 79.

[35] “The Christian always should be mindful of God. For it is written: “Thou shalt love the Lord the God with thy whole heart” (Dt 6:5). He should love the Lord, not only when he enters into the place of prayer, but in walking and talking and eating, may he remember God and love him with affection. For it says: “Where your heart is, there also is your treasure” (Mt 6:21; Lk 12:34). For whatever thing one’s heart is tied and where his desire draws him, that is his God. If the heart always desires God, he is Lord of his heart.” – St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (43:3), 220.

[36] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (9:10), 86.

[37] “Prayer produces among those who are worthy of it a certain mystical communion of holiness with God, thanks to the action of the Spirit. It brings about a certain union with the Lord that fills the human spirit with an inexpressible love. And each day he who is moved to continue in prayer is drawn by the love of the Spirit to a love and a desire that is full of fire from God. Each one receives the grace from the Spirit of the perfection of a free will. It is God who gives this gift.” – George Maloney in St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter, 18.

[38] 1 Thes 5:17 – “pray without ceasing”.

[39] Cf. St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (19:1-2), 146-147 and (33:4), 202.

[40] “Those who have been deemed worthy to become children of God and to be reborn by the Holy Spirit from above, who have within themselves Christ, illuminating and bringing them rest, are guided in many and various ways by the Spirit. They are invisibly acted upon in the heart, in the spiritual tranquillity, by grace.” – St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (18:7), 144.

[41] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (19:2), 147.

[42] “ The summit of all zeal toward the good and peak of all virtuous practices is in one’s striving in prayer, thanks to which we can obtain each day the rest of the virtues and demand them of God” – As cited in the introduction of George Maloney in St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter, 18.

[43] “You, however, must direct your work more to prayer. This is the superior in the chorus of the virtues. By it we seek other virtues from God so that communion and fellowship thrive through mystical holiness and certain spiritual way of acting with an ineffable disposition of the person intent on prayer.” – St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter, 266.

[44] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (19:5), 148.

[45] Cf. Stuart Burns, ‘Divine Ecstasy in Gregory of Nyssa and Pseudo-Macarius: Flight and Intoxication’, GOTR 44 (1999): 319.

[46] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (9.10), 85.

[47] Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου (9), 51.

[48] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (17:4), 137.

[49] Ibid., (1:12), 44.

[50] C.f Ibid., (26:14), 169.

[51] Ibid., (43:6), 221.

[52] Ibid., (15:8), 111.

[53] Άγ. Μακαρίου τού Αιγυπτίου, op. cit. (Fn 4), 72.

[54] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (37:3), 207.

[55] John McGuckin, ‘The Prayer of the Heart in Patristic and Early Byzantine Tradition’, in Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church, ed. Pauline Allen (Brisbane: Centre for Early Christian Studies, 1999), 102.

[56] Loc. cit.

[57] St Macarius’ legacy can also be traced in St Dionysius the Areopagite, as noted by Fr. Alexander Golitzin who states that, “Macarius’ development of the soul as throne of God and little church is the foundation upon which Dionysius would build his synthesis, his correction of Evagrius and the Origenists, and his incorporation of those elements in late Neoplatonism that he felt were compatible with the Christian tradition.” – Hieromonk Alezander Golitzin, Et Introibo Ad Altare Dei: The Mystagogy of Dionysius Areopagita, with Special Reference to its Predecessors in the Eastern Christian Tradition (Θεσσαλονίκι: Πατριαρχικόν Ίδρυμα Πατερικών Μελέτων, 1994), 385. Also cf. Ibid., 371 – 392.

[58] Golitzin notes, that within the Hesychast tradition, particularly in the era of St Gregory Palamas, that, “In Hesychast transformational visions of the Taboric light, the concept of the image of God still continued to play a crucial theological role. It is especially noticeable in Gregory Palamas’ theology of the divine image which shows amazing parallels to the concepts and imagery of Macarius.” – Andrei Orlov and Alexander Golitzin, ‘”Many Lamps are Lighted from the One”: Paradigms of the Transformational Vision in Macarian Homilies’, Vigiliae Christianae 55 (2001): 291.

[59] McGuckin, op. cit. (Fn 55), 87.

[60] St Diadochos, The Philokalia: The Complete Text, ed. and trans. by G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1979), 1: 261.

[61] St Maximus, Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings 4:72, trans. and notes by George C. Berthold (New York: Paulist Press, 1985), 83.

[62] Marcus Plested, The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 241.

[63] Ibid., 242.

[64] St Isaac of Nineveh St Isaac of Nineveh on Ascetical Life 1:1, trans. by Mary Hansbury (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1989), 25.

[65] St Macarius, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (8:6), 83.

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