An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Macrina the Younger

(c. 327-c. 379). Superior of a religious community of women, ascetic, spiritual director, and older sister of the Cappadocians Basil of Caesarea (c. 330-379) and Gregory of Nyssa (c. 331-c. 395). She was strongly influenced by Macrina the Elder (d. 340), her paternal grandmother. After the death of Macrina the Younger's fiancé when she was 12 years old, she decided to remain a virgin and stay with her mother, Emmelia. Their household at Annesi in Pontus, Asia Minor, became a religious community of women, with Macrina as superior. She was very influential in the education and spiritual development of Basil and Gregory. Much of what is known of her comes from Gregory's writings, including his Life of Macrina. She was a person of great spiritual depth. She was well educated, and a competent theologian. Macrina influenced Basil to receive holy orders instead of pursuing a secular career. When she was on her deathbed, she taught Gregory concerning the nature and destiny of the human soul. Macrina's life is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on July 19. See Cappadocians, or Cappadocian Fathers.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.