Macrina On Universal Salvation  

Posted by Joe Rawls

The Episcopal Church today remembers Macrina (330-379), one of the few women to appear in the Patristic writers.  She came from an amazing family; three of her brothers were bishops--Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Peter of Sebaste--and she persuaded her widowed mother to turn the family estate into a monastery.  A family monastery, as things turned out. 

Macrina is surnamed "the Teacher" because of her prominence as a spiritual leader.  She wrote nothing that has survived, but her brother Gregory frequently quotes her in two of his own works, the Life of Macrina and On the Soul and the Resurrection.  The latter contains her thoughts on universal restoration, a frequent topic in Eastern Christian thought.  It is quoted below in a post found on the Tentmaker site. 


He probably gives us her exact sentiments in his own language on universal restoration, in which she rises into a grand description of the purifying effects of all future punishment, and the separation thereby of the evil from the good in man, and the entire destruction of all evil. Her words tell us their mutual views. On the "all in all" of Paul she says:
"The Word seems to me to lay down the doctrine of the perfect obliteration of wickedness, for if God shall be in all things that are, obviously wickedness shall not be in them."
"For it is necessary that at some time evil should be removed utterly and entirely from the realm of being. For since by its very nature evil cannot exist apart from free choice, when all free choice becomes in the power of God, shall not evil advance to utter annihilation so that no receptacle for it at all shall be left?"
In this conversation in which the sister sustains by far the leading part, the resurrection (anastasis) and the restoration (apokatastasis) are regarded as synonymous, as when Macrina declares that "the resurrection is only the restoration of human nature to its pristine condition."
On Phil. 2:10, Macrina declares. "When the evil has been exterminated in the long cycles of the æons nothing shall be left outside the boundaries of good, but even from them shall be unanimously uttered the confession of the Lordship of Christ."
She said: "The process of healing shall be proportioned to the measure of evil in each of us, and when the evil is purged and blotted out, there shall come in each place to each immortality and life and honor."

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at Tuesday, July 19, 2016 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Mr Rawls, Just discovered your blog this day. What a wonderful interplay you bring here. So very similar and yet not not to my own existential interplay.

You see I am a Benedictine monk in the Russian Orthodox Church observering the 10th c. Anglo-Roman Rite.

Now to dig into your archive of past entries.

Pax Christie,
Monk Symeon of Syracuse

September 21, 2016 at 11:26 PM

Post a Comment