Macarius is the name of several distinguished Christians of the early centuries. Among them the most important are,
1. MACARIUS AEGYPTIUS, or, as he is sometimes surnamed, the Great, or the Elder, was born, according to Eusebius, in Upper Egypt, about the year 300. He was a disciple of St. Antonius (some say of St. Ephrem), and while yet a youth was distinguished for his asceticism, which won for him the surname of παιδαριογέρων. At the age of thirty he entered upon a life of asceticism, in the wilderness of Scete or Scetis, a part of the great Libyan desert, and there he remained until about 340, when he was ordained priest. He died about 390. Palladius relates several extraordinary miracles said to have been performed by this saint; among others, a resurrection which he accomplished for the purpose of confounding a heretic. During the persecution of the Egyptian monks by the Arian bishop Lucius of Alexandria, in the reign of Valens, Macarius was banished to an island of the Nile, but allowed to return afterwards. There is yet in Libya, according to Tischendorf (Reise in d. Orient), a convent which bears his name. He left 50 homilies (Greek edit. Morel, Paris, 1559; J.G. Pritius, Leipz. 1698), seven ascetic treatises, together with a number of apophthegmata (J. G. Pritius, Leipzig, 1699). Both these works have been translated into German by G. Arnold, under the title Ein Denkmal d. alt. Christenthums (Gosl. 1702), and by N. Casseder (Banb. 1819). H.J. Floss has published a very able criticism on them, together with several formerly unknown letters and fragments (Colossians 1850). J. Hamberger gives a selection from them in his Stimmen aus d. Heiligthum d.christl. Mystik u. Theosophie.
2. MACARIUS OF ALEXANDRIA, also called πολιτικός, the townsman, a contemporary of the preceding, was by trade a baker, but became subsequently a disciple of St. Antonius, having been baptized when about forty years of age. He also embraced an ascetic life, and became the spiritual adviser of over 5000 monks. Palladius relates a number of miracles said to have been wrought by him. He was likewise one of the victims of the persecution instituted by Valens, and died, according to Tillemont (Memoires, 8:626), in 394, but according to Fabricius (Biblioth. Graeca, 8:365), in 404, aged nearly a hundred years. He is said to have been the author of some regulations for monks contained in the Codex regularum, collectus a sancto Benedicto Ananiensi, auctus a Holstenio (Rome, 1661, 2 volumes, 4to); and a homily, περὶ ἐξόδου ψυχῆς δικαιῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν (J. Tollius, Itinerar. Ital. Traj. 1696; Cave, Hist. Lit. 1; Gallandi, 7), which latter, however, is by some ascribed to a monk called Alexander. Mosheim (Eccles. Hist. book 2, cent. 4, part 2, chapter 3) says of him and his work: "Perhaps, before all others who wrote on practical piety, the preference is due to Macarius, the Egyptian monk; from whom, after deducting some superstitious notions, and what savors too much of Origenism, we may collect a beautiful picture of real piety." He is commemorated by the Romish Church January 12, and by the Greek January 19. See Smith, Dict. of Greek and Rom. Biog. and Mythol. volume 2, s.v.; Ceillier, Auteurs sacred, 7:709, 712.
3. MACARIUS OF ANTIOCH, a patriarch in the Church of Antioch in the 7th century, is noted for his avowal, at the third Constantinopolitan Council (A.D. 680-81), of his belief in the doctrine "that Christ's will was that of a God-man (θεανδρικήν)." SEE MONOTHELITES. He and his followers (known as Afacarians) were banished on this account. His Travels were written down by his attendant archdeacon, Paul of Aleppo, in Arabic, and were published in an English dress in 1829-37, in 2 volumes, 4to. See Smith, Dict. of Greek and Rom. Biog. and Mythol. 2:875 (4); Milman's Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 4:553.
4. MACARIUS OF IRELAND flourished about the close of the 9th century. He is said to have propagated in France the tenet, afterwards maintained by Averrhoes, that one individual intelligence or soul performed the spiritual and rational functions in all the human race.
5. MACARIUS OF JERUSALEM. There were two bishops by this name; one flourished in the 4th century, the other in the 6th. The former became bishop A.D. 313 or 314, and died in or before A.D. 333. He was present at the Council of Nice, and is said to have taken part in the disputations against the Arians. The latter was elected bishop A.D. 544, but the choice was disapproved by the emperor Justinian I, because he was accused of avowing the obnoxious opinions of Origen, and Eutychius was appointed instead. Macarius was, however, after a time. reinstalled (about A.D. 564), and died about 574. A homily of his, De inventione Capitis Praecursoris, is extant in MS. See Smith, Dict. of Greek and Rom. Biog. 2:876.