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St. Macarius the Spiritbearer: Coptic Texts Relating to Saint Macarius the Great

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These three ancient texts-The Sayings of Saint Macarius, The Virtues of Saint Macarius,åÊandåÊThe Life of Saint Macarius of Scetis-provide insight into one of the most venerated saints of the Coptic Church and into life in the Egyptian monastic communities of the fourth century.

Macarius the Great (also called Macarius of Egypt or Macarius the Egyptian) came to preside, in a loose manner, over the monks of Scetis in Wadi al-Natrun. These monks lived alone or in small groups in scattered cells and came together as a larger community only on Saturday and Sunday, when they celebrated the Eucharist together and participated in a communal meal. Later architectural and organizational structures, such as defensive high walls or rules and regulations of medieval Benedictine monasticism, were unknown to them.

This work is a companion volume toåÊFour Desert Fathers, which contains four monasticsåÊLives-Pambo, Evagrius, Macarius of Egypt, and Macarius of Alexandria-preserved in Coptic (the CopticåÊPalladiana) and clearly related to the GreekåÊLausiac HistoryåÊof Palladius. The two volumes together, introducing the thought and practice of these desert dwellers through theiråÊSayings, Virtues,åÊandåÊLives, offer the best access to their world. Translated by Tim Vivian.
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