Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Macarius the Younger Patron Saint of Pastry Chefs and Cooks

Macarius the Younger
Also known as
Macarius of Alexandria
Memorial
2 January
Profile
Successful merchant in fruits, candies, and pastries in Alexandria, Egypt. Convert to Christianity, he gave up his business in 335 to be a monk and hermit in the Thebaid, Upper Egypt. For a while he lived near Saint Anthony the Abbot, and some amazing stories grew up around the two, some of which are found in a separate file.

After several years, he travelled to Lower Egypt, and was ordained, and lived in a desert cell with other monks, practicing severe austerities.

For seven years he lived on raw vegetables dipped in water with a few crumbs of bread, moistened with drops of oil on feast days.

Once spent 20 days and 20 nights without sleep, burnt by the sun in the day, frozen by bitter desert cold cold at night. "My mind dried up because of lack of sleep, and I had a kind of delirium," the hermit admitted. "So I gave in to nature and returned to my cell."

Spent six months naked in the marshes, beset constantly by viscious blood-sucking flies and mosquitoes, in the hope of destroying his last bit of sexual desire. The terrible conditions and attacking insects left him so deformed that when he returned to the monks, they could recognize him only by his voice.

Poet. Friend of wild animals. Healer. Exiled by heretic Arians with Saint Macarius the Elder and other monks to an island in the Nile because of his orthodoxy, but he was later allowed to return. Wrote a constitution for the monastery at Nitria named after him, and some of its rules were adopted by Saint Jerome for his monastery.
Born
early 4th century at Alexandria, Egypt
Died
c.401 of natural causes
Patronage
confectioners; cooks; pastry chefs
Representation
flies; flies stinging a desert hermit; hermit with lamp; hermit with lantern; hermit leaning on a crutch in the form of a tau staff while conversing with a skull

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