Saints of the Day – Macrina the Elder, Widow

detail of a holy card of Saint Macrina by Bertino, date unknownArticle

Died at Neocaesarea, c. 340. Saint Macrina was mother to Saint Basil the Elder and grandmother of Saint Basil, Saint Macrina the Younger, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and Saint Peter of Sebastea. During her youth her spiritual director was Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus.

As if this isn’t enough to qualify anyone to be a saint, Macrina was known for her great sense of justice and the faith with which she and her husband endured their sufferings during the persecutions under Galerius. During the persecution of Diocletian she and her husband were forced to remain in hiding in Pontus on the shores of the Black Sea for six or more years. They had much to suffer – hunger, deprivation, loss of property – then and under later persecutions. Nevertheless, they succeeded in rearing up one of the most saintly families in Cappadocia and, perhaps, in Christendom (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer). In art, Saint Macrina is portrayed as a recluse with two stags near her or with two hinds (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 May 2020. Web. 27 January 2022. <>