St. Macarios the anchorite from Egypt
and St. Macarios the city-resident from Alexandria
On this day we celebrate the memory of Macarios the Egyptian who was an anchorite from Egypt and Macarios the Alexandrian who was a city-resident from Alexandria.
Macarios the Egyptian lived during the reign of Theodosios in 373. Macarios left for the desert when he was 30 years old. He showed such patience with the pains of asceticism that in a few years he was made worthy to receive the gift of discernment, authority and power against the demons, and the ability to predict the future and perform miracles. At the bishop's entreaties he was ordained priest, because he could not suffer to keep the lamp hidden under the bushel. Once he fortold a disciple of his, who was stealing the money which was to be given to the poor, that, unless he amended his ways, he would receive the anger and instructive torments of the Lord. Indeed, his prediction was fulfilled. That brother did not mend his ways and became a leper. Many were moved by these gifts of the saint and rushed to him disturbing his peace. But the saint dug a pit under the earth with a lot of turns (like a snail's shell) half a stadion away from his cell. At the end of the pit he dug a cave with his own hands. When a lot of people came and were disturbing him, he would secretly pass through the pit and hide inside the cave. So, nobody could find him.
Once a heretic, who disputed the resurrection of the dead, came to Macarios, so in order to convince and inform the heretic, Macarios raised a Greek from the dead, who immediately believed in Christ, was baptised and became a monk under the name Miles.
Macarios would say that there are two orders of demons: The first order strives against people with various passions of anger and desire but the second order, which is called primary, fights against people and makes them fall to various heresies and blasphemies and delusions. This primary order of demons is sent by their leader Satan to the magicians and the heresiarchs. Once, while he was walking in the desert, Macarios found the skull of a pagan priest. He asked it and heard that, whenever he offered his prayers to God, those who are in hell were somewhat relieved. Macarios also foretold that the Scete was going to be deserted. Palladios relates that a lecherous man, who was trying to seduce a prudent woman but failing, turned the woman into a mare. So, Macarios called upon God and restored her the appearance of woman, and advised her to receive the Holy Communion often.
So, when he was ninety years old, he departed to the Lord.
Macarios the Alexandrian was the priest of the so-called cells. He exercised extreme abstinence and patience. So, he received from God the gift of performing miracles. St. Antony the great admired Macarios the Alexandrian and told him: "Behold, the Holy Spirit has rested upon you and you will inherit my virtues". When Macarios heard that the monks in Tavenna would not eat food cooked on fire throughout Great Lent, he imitated them and for seven years he did not eat food cooked on fire but he only used to eat raw vegetables.
Once a wild boar brought her little one which was blind and put it in front of the Macarios's feet. Macarios spit on the blind eyes of the animal and made it see. So, the wild boar received her little one and left. But the following morning she rushed back to bring to the saint the big pelt of a sheep. However, the saint told her: "I do not accept things won by injustice". At this the wild boar bowed her head and went out of the yard.
Some very glorious noblemen of the king were once travelling together with these two Macarios and they were amazed at their complete poverty. So, one of them said: "Blessed are you, who laugh at the world". Macarios the Alexandrian answered him: "We have indeed laughed at the world and the world laughs at us but know well that we are also called Macarios (Blessed) as you have called us even unwillingly". When the saint had said this, the nobleman felt such contrition that he despised the splendid things of the world, he discharged his property and became a monk.