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Pseudo-Macarius: the Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter

Pseudo-Macarius: the Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter

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NOTE the actual TEXT after INTRO> starts at PAGE 30//1992//298 pages//
George A. Maloney, S.J., provides a great service by bringing to the public the first modern English translation of the spiritual homilies and Great Letter of Pseudo- Macarius, a Syrian monk of the fourth century whose identity is still the subject of scholarly investigation.
The Fifty Homilies, in the form of a practical, monastic pedagogy, reveal the typical traits of Eastern Christian asceticism, with particular emphasis on the spiritual combat, the action of the Holy Spirit, and the importance of interior prayer. The Great Letter discusses the purging of the passions to bring the Christian into a state of tranquility and integration, and addresses the monastic community with instructions regarding organization, humility, and prayer.
-
1) THE AUTHOR
The anonymous author who was thought at first to be Macarius the Great, founder of Scete, was in fact a spiritual writer who lived in the region between Mesopotamia and eastern Asia- Minor in the second half of the fourth or in the beginning of the fifth century. The name of Symeon of Mesopotamia, a promotor of Messialianism, has been suggested because there are in these writings questionable opinions and ideas very close to Messalianism. The attribution to Symeon, however, rests on shaky premises. However it may be, Pseudo-Macarius is surely a profoundly spiritual person with a good knowledge of human nature. He was very well educated, had learnt much from his own milieu and from his reading and contacts with others. His writings reveal him as an imaginative person, with an artist's eye, who thinks pictorially rather than conceptually as he treats of the Bible, nature or society, but possessed of a very clear idea of the theology of the Trinity. He is clearly also a good teacher who can make sublime doctrine come alive. His rather large body of writings has had a great influence on posterity.
According to these writings, he was the head of communities of ascetics. There are indications which would lead us to believe that he practised a sort of ascetic exile. He seems to have some knowledge of Basil's writings as there are certain similarities in their works both in vocabulary and ideas; moreover, a text of Gregory of Nyssa seems to speak of Mesopotamian ascetics, "Like Abraham they have left country, family, and the whole world, and keep their eyes fixed on heaven.... their lips are vowed to silence... and they have a remarkable power over spirits." We have seen too that Gregory's Hypotyposis or De Instituto is a parallel version of Macarius' Great Letter. Probably Gregory's paraphrase was intended to put the writings of Macarius through the mill once more in order to distance it from Messalianism.
NOTE the actual TEXT after INTRO> starts at PAGE 30//1992//298 pages//
George A. Maloney, S.J., provides a great service by bringing to the public the first modern English translation of the spiritual homilies and Great Letter of Pseudo- Macarius, a Syrian monk of the fourth century whose identity is still the subject of scholarly investigation.
The Fifty Homilies, in the form of a practical, monastic pedagogy, reveal the typical traits of Eastern Christian asceticism, with particular emphasis on the spiritual combat, the action of the Holy Spirit, and the importance of interior prayer. The Great Letter discusses the purging of the passions to bring the Christian into a state of tranquility and integration, and addresses the monastic community with instructions regarding organization, humility, and prayer.
-
1) THE AUTHOR
The anonymous author who was thought at first to be Macarius the Great, founder of Scete, was in fact a spiritual writer who lived in the region between Mesopotamia and eastern Asia- Minor in the second half of the fourth or in the beginning of the fifth century. The name of Symeon of Mesopotamia, a promotor of Messialianism, has been suggested because there are in these writings questionable opinions and ideas very close to Messalianism. The attribution to Symeon, however, rests on shaky premises. However it may be, Pseudo-Macarius is surely a profoundly spiritual person with a good knowledge of human nature. He was very well educated, had learnt much from his own milieu and from his reading and contacts with others. His writings reveal him as an imaginative person, with an artist's eye, who thinks pictorially rather than conceptually as he treats of the Bible, nature or society, but possessed of a very clear idea of the theology of the Trinity. He is clearly also a good teacher who can make sublime doctrine come alive. His rather large body of writings has had a great influence on posterity.
According to these writings, he was the head of communities of ascetics. There are indications which would lead us to believe that he practised a sort of ascetic exile. He seems to have some knowledge of Basil's writings as there are certain similarities in their works both in vocabulary and ideas; moreover, a text of Gregory of Nyssa seems to speak of Mesopotamian ascetics, "Like Abraham they have left country, family, and the whole world, and keep their eyes fixed on heaven.... their lips are vowed to silence... and they have a remarkable power over spirits." We have seen too that Gregory's Hypotyposis or De Instituto is a parallel version of Macarius' Great Letter. Probably Gregory's paraphrase was intended to put the writings of Macarius through the mill once more in order to distance it from Messalianism.

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Published by: Hermit WithoutA permit on Mar 09, 2011
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04/05/2013

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 1
PSEUDO-MACARIUSTHE FIFTY SPIRITUAL HOMILIES AND THE GREAT LETTER 
 TRANSLATED, EDITED AND WITH AN INTRODUCTION BYGEORGE A. MALONEY, S.J.PREFACE BYKALLISTOS WAREPAULIST PRESSNEW YORK • MAHWAH
Cover art:
A graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, cover artistANDRIJ MADAY has won numerous awards for his graphic designs and prints. He has exhibitedhis paintings and woodcuts in over eighty shows in the United States and Canada, and his work canbe found in collections in Italy, Canada and the United States. For a number of years now he hasdevoted his time almost exclusively to Iconography, independently studying the craft as well as thescripture which Icons portray. Andrij's desire is "to live and work for the glory of Our Lord andSaviour Jesus Christ, which is a difficult struggle, a struggle toward the complete surrender to HisHoly Will." Andrij asks only that the reader remember Iconographers in their prayers.Copyright © 1992 by George A. Maloney, S.J.All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic or mechanical, including photcopying, recording, or by any information storageand retrieval system without permission in writing from the publisher.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataPseudo-Macarius.[Spiritual homilies. English]The fifty spiritual homilies; and, The great letter/Pseudo-Macarius; edited and translatedwith an introduction by George A. Maloney; preface by Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia.p. cm.(Classics of Western spirituality)Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 0-8091-0455-5 (cloth)ISBN 0-8091-3312-1 (pbk.)1. MysticismOrthodox Eastern ChurchEarly works to 1800. 2. Sermons, EarlyChristian. I. Maloney, George A., 1924- . II. Pseudo-Macarius. Great letter. En-glish. 1992. III. Title: Fifty spiritual homilies. IV. Title: 50 spiritual homi-lies. V. Title: Great letter. VI. Series.
CONTENTS
PREFACExiINTRODUCTION1
 
 2NOTES TO INTRODUCTION27GENERAL ABBREVIATIONS33HOMILIES ONE-FIFTY35INTRODUCTION TO THE
GREAT LETTER
 249THE
GREAT LETTER
 253NOTES TO THE FIFTY HOMILIES272NOTES TO THE
GREAT LETTER
 286BIBLIOGRAPHY289INDEX294-vii-Editor of this VolumeGEORGE A. MALONEY, S.J. was ordained in Rome as a priest of the Russian Byzantine Rite,April 18, 1957. He earned a doctorate in Oriental Theology June 21, 1962, summa cum laude fromthe Pontifical Oriental Institute.In 1965 he launched an ecumenical journal,
Diakonia,
to promote dialogue between OrthodoxChristians and Roman Catholics. He served as editor of all the Eastern Rite articles for the
NewCatholic Encyclopedia
.He is fluent in several languages, including Russian and Greek. He has travelled extensively inRussia, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Turkey in an attempt to meet the EasternChristian groups and to understand their religious background. Especially fruitful were two summersspent on Mt. Athos.Fr. Maloney is the founder and director of the John XXIII Institute for Eastern Christian Studies atFordham University. He teaches Oriental theology and spirituality on the master and doctoral levels.Fr. Maloney has established himself as an outstanding author of works on prayer and EasternChristian Spirituality as applied to the daily life of Western Christians. Some of his books include
The Cosmic Christ; Inward Stillness; Bright Darkness; Listen, Prophets; Nesting in the Rock; Jesus,Set Me Free!; Theology of Uncreated Energies; and InscapeGod at the Heart of Matter 
.Author of the PrefaceBISHOP KALLISTOS WARE was born in Bath in 1934 and studied Classics, Philosophy andTheology at the University of Oxford. Received into the Orthodox Church in 1958, he was ordaineda priest in 1966. In the same year he was appointed Spalding Lecturer in Eastern Orthodox Studies atOxford, and in 1970 he became a Fellow of Pembroke College. In 1982 he was consecrated titular Bishop of Diokleia and made an Assistant Bishop in the Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira andGreat Britain. He is a monk of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Patmos. He is the author of many books, including
The Orthodox Church
and
The Orthodox Way,
and he is a co-editor of thenew English translation of 
The Philokalia
. -viii-
Dedicated to Colleen and Bill Green
 
Acknowledgments
 
 3Deepest thanks to Dorothy Reeme and Suzy Caruther for their patience in deciphering my writingand typing up the manuscript and many footnotes. Thanks to Reverend Anthony Paul Clarkson,O.C.S.O., who allowed me to read excerpts from his doctoral thesis,
Christ in the Writings of Pseudo-Macarius;
to Bernard McGinn, editor of this Paulist Series, for his encouragement to help inobtaining some needed Greek texts; and to Georgia Christo for her editorial hints and helps.
PREFACE
"I read Macarius and sang," wrote John Wesley in his diary for July 30, 1736. There are countlessothers, alike in Eastern and in Western Christendom, who have experienced a similar joy throughreading Macarius. The Homilies are written with a warmth of feeling, an affectivity and enthusiasm,that are instantly attractive. Their message is one of hope, light and glory:The soul that is counted worthy to participate in the light of the Holy Spirit by becoming his throneand habitation, and is covered with the ineffable glory of the Spirit, becomes all light, all face, alleye. There is no part of the soul that is not full of the spiritual eyes of light. That is to say, there is nopart of the soul that is covered with darkness (H. [=
Homilies,
Collection II] 1:2).Yet at the same time the Homilies are devoid of facile optimism. The Christian journey, Macariuswarns us, is a struggle, a spiritual combat that continues right up to the end of our life: "I have notyet seen any perfect Christian or one perfectly free" (H. 8:5). If Macarius is to be termed anenthusiast, yet his is an enthusiasm rooted in the realism and austerity of the desert.Who is the author of the Spiritual Homilies? His precise identity is a mystery and is likely to remainsuch, unless fresh evidence comes unexpectedly to light. The complex debate concerning "Pseudo
 Macarius" during the past seventy years is carefully summarized by Father George Maloney in hisIntroduction. There is general agreement that the author of the Macarian writings has no connectionwith the Coptic Desert Father, St. Macarius of Egypt (c. 300-c. 390). The milieu presupposed in theHomilies is definitely Syria rather than Egypt. Although the language used by the author is Greek,his highly distinctive -xi-vocabulary and imagery are Syrian. This is indicated with full andconvincing detail in the latest study of the Macarian problem, written by Columba Stewart, OSB:"
Working the Earth of the Heart 
."
The Messalian Controversy in History, Texts, and Language toAD 431
(Oxford, 1991). Dom Columba concludes that the Homilies date basically from the 380s,and were probably written in Mesopotamia or Asia Minor.Macarius has links of some kind with the ascetic and "charismatic" movement known asMessalianism. Originating in Syria during the second half of the fourth century, Messalianismspread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean and was condemned as heretical at a series of synods,including the Council of Ephesus in 431. The Messalians were accused of undervaluing thesacraments and overemphasizing dreams, visions and the practice of continual prayer. It is difficult,however, to establish exactly what they believed and did. Like the twentieth-century "charismatic"movement, they were not a clearly defined group, and their standpoint was very probablymisunderstood by those who condemned them.Several of the phrases and images associated with the Messalians occur prominently in the text of the Homilies, although other Messalian tenets are more or less absent. Those who classify theHomilies as Messalian are bound to concede that they represent a moderate and qualified type of Messalianism. Hermann Dörries, in his fundamental study
Die Theologie des Makarios/Symeon
 (Göttingen, 1978), even suggests that Macarius is, if anything,
anti
-Messalian, although the

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