Book of Saints – Macrina the Elder


(Saint) (January 14) (4th century) This holy woman was the paternal grandmother of Saints Basil and Gregory Nyssen. According to Saint Basil, she was a Christian, eminent for her piety, who had stored up in her memory the teachings of Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus, the famous Apostle of her native city, Neo-Caesarea in Pontus. During the persecutions under Diocletian and his colleague Galerius, she with her husband had been forced to take refuge in the forests of the province, and had remained concealed in a hiding-place on the shores of the Black Sea for seven years or more. In A.D. 311, they were able to return to Neo-Caesarea; but at the renewal of the persecution under Licinius, they suffered so much that Saint Gregory Nyssen, their grandson, was able to proclaim them “true Martyrs and Confessors of Christ.” Saint Basil, also her grandson, was in his boyhood committed to the care of Saint Macrina, who may be said, humanly speaking, to have laid the foundations of the sanctity of this celebrated Doctor of the Church. Saint Macrina passed away about the middle of the fourth century.

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “Macrina the Elder”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 November 2014. Web. 27 January 2022. <>