A Testimony to Christianity as Transfiguration: The Macarian Homilies and Orthodox Spirituality

Given at the Conference on Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality, St. Vladimir's Seminary,

January, 1999, and published in Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality, ed. S. T. Kimbrough

(Crestwood NY:2002) 129-156.

It is an honor and pleasure for me to be here today at a conference which features the names of so many scholars who are either acquaintances of some years' standing, or else whose works I have long admired without the benefit of personal encounter. I must also confess a certain sense of inadequacy. I am not at all familiar with one half of our theme, that of Methodist spirituality, and am consequently obliged to take refuge in the hope that the nature of my subject will at least serve to provide some material for further thought and discussion. Kallistos Ware, for instance, begins his "Preface" to the recent, Paulist Press edition of The Fifty Spiritual Homilies with a quotation from John Wesley, "I have read Macarius and my heart sang", while Ernst Benz and Herman Doerries wrote some years ago on Macarian influences in, respectively, Anglo-Saxon Protestant thought and continental Pietism [1]. So it is at least clear that others have felt that my author does supply a number of points of contact between the Christian East and the later, post-Reformation West.

Given my limitations, I am obliged to focus on "Macarius" himself, with an eye perhaps toward pointing on occasion to his relationship with and influence on certain central themes, or, to borrow an expression from Jaroslav Pelikan, "melodies" within the harmonies and, once in a while, disharmonies of the theological and ascetico-mystical tradition in the Orthodox East [2] -- thus, for example, the "transfiguration" of this paper's title. I could as easily have said "transformation" or "deification", or else, particularly given the two traditions meeting here this week, "holiness" or "sanctification", since I take the transfiguration of my title as inclusive for "Macarius" of all of these. To touch briefly on some of the points to follow, he understands Christianity as the renewal of the human being. God in Christ has entered into our world and, in baptism, into the Christian's body and soul. The latter is thus, in potential, the royal throne of Christ (a note I shall come back to in detail below), and to work toward the conscious fulfillment of that potential, that is, to a loving awareness and even perhaps vision of the indwelling glory of Christ in the Spirit, is the whole aim of Christian life on this side of the eschaton. Hope and longing for that encounter engage one in a total effort of moral and psychological reform, an effort which, once committed to, reveals in its turn the limitations of any purely human effort, and so the necessity of grace to overcome the force of sin rooted in the soul. Humility, thus, and constant prayer provide the necessary ground for that stress on the visitation of grace for which the Macariana are primarily known: the light-filled experience (peira) of the divine presence "perceptibly and with complete assurance" (en pasei aisthesei kai plerophoriai) [3]. This program was not without controversy, but by way of arriving at that discussion perhaps we should have a look first at "Macarius" himself, at least as much as can be known about him, together with a few more details of his thought.

The Macarian Homilies were written in Greek at the end of the fourth century, but we do not have any exemplars in that language earlier than four medieval Byzantine collections, of which three (including the best known Fifty Spiritual Homilies) exist in critical editions [4]. We do not know, moreover, who the author of the Macarian Homilies was. He was certainly not Macarius the Great of Egypt, though it was under the latter's name that his writings were eventually to find a safe haven [5]. In this respect, our anonymous author has much in common with another late fourth century, monastic writer, Evagrius of Pontus (+399), several of whose works were also handed down under the protection of someone else's name [6]. In each case the pseudonymity was a posthumous device, and likely a necessary one, since both writers were controversial and even judged (if not always accurately or fairly, particularly in our writer's case) to have been heretical. In spite of those condemnations, Evagrius and Macarius -- to give our author the name he has gone by for centuries -- can fairly be called the most influential of the fourth century monastic writers. So influential, in fact, that it is no exaggeration to say that together they gave to the spirituality of the Christian East the shape which it has held to the present day. "Evagrius", in the words of a contemporary scholar who reflects the modern academic consensus, "established the categories; Macarius ...provided the affective content".

While I am myself not entirely happy with casting Evagrius as the mystic of the head and Macarius as the avatar of mystical Gefuehl, I will admit that there is considerable justice to seeing the works of the two men as "mutually corrective and complementary" [7]. Evagrius is the theoretician, often (though not always) cool and even remote in tone, whose preferred diction features the brief, dense and highly allusive sentences which he adapted from the style of biblical wisdom literature and contemporary, Cynic discourse, and which he intended his disciples and other readers to ponder slowly in the solitude of their desert hermitages [8]. Macarius, though he is also clearly a monastic geron or staretz, a charismatic and inspired elder charged with the guidance of souls, is much more the preacher intent on encouraging, exhorting, warning, and persuading [9]. His language in consequence is open and immediately accessible, flooded with imagery borrowed from the scriptures, contemporary society, and the natural world. He is also, unlike Evagrius in the latter's retreat in Egypt's empty wastes, fully immersed in the life of his own and related communities in the heavily populated regions of upper Mesopotamia (or southern Asia Minor), laying down a rule for his spiritual children, engaging in question and answer sessions with his own and other monks, sometimes fighting with the local hierarchy, defending himself and his followers, arguing for his understanding of the faith, and correcting other ascetics whose thinking and behavior he believes has strayed from the ways of Christian life and into demonic delusions [10]. Macarius is, in addition, clearly a man in whom several different Christian (and even pre-Christian) currents of tradition converge. He shares with Evagrius in his debts to the Christian Platonism of Alexandria through Clement and especially Origen, and -- as appears increasingly clear -- in personal ties with the Cappadocian Fathers, but he combines with these connections the different, Syrian Christian currents represented by Aphrahat and Ephrem, by the likewise anonymous and ascetic work called the Book of Steps or Liber Graduum, and by the encratism of the Thomas tradition and of the wandering Manichaean ascetics, together with elements from Jewish and Jewish-Christian apocalyptic and related literature [11]. Yet Evagrius may himself also, less the specifically Syrian element, have been aware of and responding to lines of biblical exegesis related to apocalyptic and rabbinical thought [12]. All in all, the differences in style, personality, and background are real enough, but do not point necessarily to the head versus heart distinction so favored by modern scholarship ever since Irenee Hausherr's famous article sixty years ago delineating the purported "schools" of Eastern Christian spirituality, according to which schema Evagrius represented the "school of intellect" and Macarius that of "feeling"; a taxonomy which is not a little -- and, to my mind, suspiciously -- reminiscent of the "intellective" and "affective" labels long applied to such Western Medieval writers as, say, Eckhardt and other Dominican Rhinelanders, on the one hand, and Bernard, together perhaps with the Franciscans, on the other [13].

One area where we can speak of a certain real difference in the doctrines which the two men teach concerns the ultimate role and eschatological destiny of the body. Put simply, for Evagrius the body has no role in the world to come while for Macarius it does. Both men teach an assimilation to the presence and activity of the living God, and both teach the vision of God as light, but Evagrius has no place for the transformation or transfiguration of the body [14]. The latter, together with the lower faculties of the soul, are for him providential and necessary, but, rather like booster rockets in a space-shuttle launch, are to be jettisoned once their purpose has been performed. They propel the initial phase of the ascent -- or return -- to God [15]. Macarius, though certainly also a Platonist and devoted to the allegorizing exegesis of Christian Alexandria, remains too firmly rooted in biblical realism to dispense with the body's share in the Kingdom of Heaven. Rather than an ultimately disembodied spirit (or nous), as in Evagrius, he sees the transfigured human being at the eschaton as one in whom the illumined and glorified soul shares its splendor and light with the risen body. The Gospel account of Christ's Transfiguration on Mt. Thabor serves as the image and promise both of the visio dei accorded the soul in this life, and of the eschatological transformation of soul and body: "Just as when the Lord had ascended the mountain He 'was transfigured' into His divine glory, so are there souls which even in the present time are illumined and glorified with Him, while on the last day their bodies as well will be glorified and flashing with light" (I.18.7.3). What is visible to the eyes of the illumined soul now and within, that is, the abiding and glory of Christ and the Spirit in the "inner man", will then become visible outside, in the very limbs of the transformed body [16].

Macarius' thought turns constantly around this duality or tension of "inner" and "outer", and it is always the former to which he accords priority. He uses a number of different words for it: heart, soul, nous or intellect, and, after the usage of St. Paul (and of Origen!), "inner man". Very occasionally he distinguishes among them, as for example when he speaks of the nous as the "eye" of the heart or soul, but more often he appears to employ them interchangeably as rough equivalents. The characterization of his thought as a mysticism of "the heart", at least in so far as heart is understood as denoting a primarily emotive or affective emphasis, strikes me therefore as misleading, or at least as one sided [17]. What he is concerned with first and foremost is the inner life where emotions, appetites, thought, and will all have their place, and perhaps most especially the will, the autexousion or capacity for self-determination [18]. It is the inner life of the human being, after all, which for him is first and most radically affected by the original Fall. It is there, within the soul, that Satan and his angels have set up their dwellings and palaces amid the cloud or, to use Macarius' own favored phrase, the "veil" of disordered drives and appetites which he covers with the term, "passions". The veil of the passions brought about by Adam's Fall and the devil's inhabitation prevent communion and conversation with God [19]. They block the vision of and share in divine glory that was Adam's original inheritance, his royal "robe" and "crown".

The robe and crown of divine glory are ancient themes in Jewish and Syrian Christian literature [20]. So is the language of the warfare between God and devil, light and dark, and of the"two ways" which Macarius also draws on in order to describe the post-lapsarian, human condition [21]. Stripped of participation in divine glory and life, naked in its own inadequacy, humanity is in a state of constant conflict in a disordered and perishing world. Though the power of self-determination, the capacity to choose the right and refuse the evil, never departs us (Macarius is the heir of such as Ephrem Syrus as much as of Origen in his refusal to accept fatalism of any kind), the cure for our condition is beyond our powers. We can of our own volition neither remove the veil that the evil one has wrapped around us, nor heal what Macarius calls the "incurable passions" (ta aniata pathe), nor dry up the "bubbling spring" of evil impulses which lies in the deeps of the heart or soul [22]. More powerfully and realistically, I think, than Evagrius, our Syrian Christian ascetic is aware of the power of evil. He is, though, marginally more optimistic than an Augustine. He believes that the human being can refuse to do what is sinful. The acts of the body are largely within our control. What we cannot do, in his view, is rid ourselves of sin within the soul, of the condition that renders us opaque to the vision and indwelling of God. In regard to the healing of the inner life, all that the human being can do is cry out for divine help [23].

So it is for God to act on our behalf in order to cure and to restore. Macarius' Christology is entirely orthodox and traditionally Eastern -- if I may speak so broadly -- in its emphasis on the ontological effects of the Word of God's incarnation, death, and resurrection. Theosis, deification, is quite as much the point of Christ's saving action for Macarius as it is for Athanasius, for Basil the Great, or for Ephrem Syrus [24]. Perhaps, though, we find somewhat more emphasis in his writings on Christ as precisely healer or physician, iatros, of the soul than we do in other Greek writers. The Lord as osyo, healer, is a very ancient and popular Syrian Christian theme, though certainly not absent in other early Christian writers [25]. In any case, it is only in and through Christ dwelling within the soul in the power of the Holy Spirit that the wellsprings of evil can be dried up, the veil removed, that we may be transfigured "from glory to glory" through looking on the "light of the face of Christ within the heart".

The allusion just now to St. Paul, specifically to I Corinthians 3:7-4:6, is deliberate. I might even venture to suggest that the whole Macarian corpus comprises a kind of extended meditation on this scriptural passage. Macarius seems to understand it as encapsulating virtually all the essentials of what he has to say to his monks [26]. It includes the contrasts between the Old and New Covenants, between veiled and unveiled, between outward and inward, between body and soul, and between Moses as type of the salvation to come and Christ and the Spirit as its fulfillment. Even more, it speaks of the change, alteration, or transfiguration -- metabole, alloiosis, metamorphosis -- which occurs in the Christian soul through the indwelling Spirit, and of the glory (doxa) of God in which the soul and ultimately the body are called to share. Finally, there is the overlap, I might say, between Christ and the Holy Spirit which is also a feature of the Homilies. All of these notes occur repeatedly in the Homilies. The obedience enjoined by the Law was an outward thing whereas, Macarius observes, in Christianity "everything is within (endon)" [27]. The whole of Israel's sacred history, of God's relations with His chosen people, becomes thus for the Christian the story of the soul's relation with Christ [28].

The echo of Alexandrian spiritual exegesis from Philo through Origen, mediated in Macarius' case perhaps especially through Gregory of Nyssa, is surely unmistakeable. I should like, though, to underline what I take to be the Homilies' particular emphasis on the Old Testamental motifs of the promised land and holy city, Jerusalem, and of the tabernacle and temple as the place of God's abiding. Christ is the reality of these images. He is the heavenly fatherland and the celestial city, the place of God's presence and -- to borrow an expression from the Targumim, since I think the traditions the latter represent are close to Macarius' own heart -- the "glory of the Shekinah" which dwells there and fills all with light [29]. This presence or abiding, the literal sense of Shekinah, which comes to the Christian through baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit, renders the soul in its turn the city and temple of God, at least in potential [30]. Here we arrive at once at the place of the ascetical life for Macarius, and at the question of the Church's sacraments and their relation to his thought. I will begin with the first: ascesis as the action of the body and soul, cooperating with divine grace, in order to ascend the inner Sinai and arrive at the conscious perception, and even the vision, of the Presence Who, even now, awaits the believer within the latter's heart of hearts, in its innermost recesses, at the sanctuary and altar of the soul.

Cooperation, synergia, is certainly a key term for Macarius, as it is for the Eastern Christian tradition generally [31]. If true healing and ultimate transformation come about only through the power of God, the human will is still required to contribute its part. Testing and trials are of the essence of being a Christian. We are called patiently to endure sufferings, and thereby to imitate the passion and death of Christ. Macarius returns again and again to this theme in his answers and sermons to his monks. Never, he insists, is the Christian -- a term which he uses, in the fashion of Basil the Great, as more or less synonymous with, and even preferable to, "monk" or "solitary" (monazon) -- going to be without trials in this life [32]. There is no security here below. All is struggle, though by God's mercy the glory and splendor of heaven may occcasionally be glimpsed. Furthermore, as one of his homilies puts it:

The warfare is...double for Christians...For after someone [i.e., a monk] has withdrawn from parents, spouse, possessions, comfort, fatherland, and customs....then, when he has gathered himself together and is concentrating

on the Lord, and after he has so to speak pried open the inside of his soul, he

faces another war, a great battle against opposing powers, against invisible

enemies and the activities of darkness, against which he is obliged to take up

heavenly armor in order to be able to emerge victorious...[33]

This battle, he continues, is "inside, in the soul, in the thoughts" [34]. The inner and deeper warfare requires divine assistance, precisely the "heavenly armor" mentioned above and borrowed from Ephesians 6:14-17. Heavenly aid begins and ends with love, the yearning desire for Christ which is at once the expression of the soul's own deepest longings and, simultaneously, the Lord's gift and presence. Like Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, Macarius uses eros and agape effectively as synonyms [35]. They express at bottom the dynamism of both the Creator-Redeemer, and of the created human being in process of redemption and, for Gregory and Macarius together in conscious opposition to Origen, in the everlasting growth of beatitude [36]. If love is the alpha and omega of the virtues, in between come the others: faith, repentance, hope, endurance, patience, long-suffering, meekness, humility, dispassion (apatheia), and, beginning as willed activity and ending as divine gift, perseverance in prayer [37].

The emphasis on prayer will surely remind us of Evagrius, as must Macarius' insistence on the mutually supporting chain of the virtues, his emphasis on the battle with the "thoughts", logismoi, and the value he accords dispassion. There are, just as clearly, important differences. First, there is next to none of Evagrius' careful effort to systematize these elements, most of them held in common virtually throughout the more learned monastic literature of the day, and arrange them into a precisely articulated pedagogy of the soul [38]. Again, we find here the contrast between the theoretician and the preacher. Second, certain of Macarius' emphases are typical of the specifically Syrian asceticism of his day and long afterwards. At this point we arrive at the matter of his alleged "heresy": the monastic movement or, perhaps better, bundle of ascetical beliefs and tendencies which the church hierarchy of Syria and Asia Minor condemned in a series of councils at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth centuries under the label of "messalianism". The word comes from the Syriac "to pray" (tslo, hence the participle, metsalyane, the "praying ones"), and it was the bishops' contention that these monks' emphasis on prayer and dispassion had led them into error. For our purposes here, we may single out the accusations that the monks claimed that human beings are entirely subjected to the devil, that the latter's presence within the soul could not be eradicated by Baptism, but only by prayer and by the subsequent indwelling of the Spirit which, once given, assured a permanent state of dispassion and freedom from sin. Together with these charges, we also find the assertion that these ascetics claimed a vision of the Holy Spirit, indeed, even of the Trinity, with their bodily eyes [39]. Now, it is beyond doubt that certain of these propositions were culled from the Macarian Homilies, in particular the co-indwelling of the sin and grace even after Baptism, insistence on the importance of prayer, and -- though only in a falsified way where the texts were clearly taken out of context -- in the possibility and experience of divine light [40].

While there may doubtless have been individuals and even groups who espoused the extremes these condemnations describe, it is also the case that Macarius himself was, on the one hand, struggling against certain of these ideas -- at least in their cruder form --among his monks, and, on the other hand, that both he and they were heirs of long-standing elements in Syrian, particularly Syriac-speaking Christianity. Here I have especially in mind the twin emphases on asceticism and pneumatology, together with a frankly visionary element, so prominent in, for example, the Acts of Thomas, which are as well to the fore in such later and more "orthodox" fourth century writers as Aphrahat and (a little more controversially) the Liber Graduum, and which at the same time draw on ancient currents dating from Second Temple Judaism, notably the literature of apocalyptic [41]. As one recent scholar remarked, with perhaps a little exaggeration: "Messalianism is originally no more and no less than an obvious irruption of Syrian Christianity, and it could have been taken as heterodox only from the narrow perspective of an imperial orthodoxy" [42]. Somewhat less fiercely, Columba Stewart has convincingly demonstrated that much of the Messalian controversy derived from what amounted to a kind of culture clash: Greek-speaking bishops confronted with, and reacting without either much sympathy or comprehension to a phenomenon and vocabulary whose origins lay in the Semitic earth of Syria-Palestine [43]. Macarius, we might say, was caught in the middle and branded quite undiscrimatingly with the same stigma that was attached with a trifle more justice to some of his more extreme countrymen. We have to thank those early generations of monks, wiser in at least this regard than their bishops, who sheltered the Homilies under the protective cover of a famous and uncontroversial name for the fact that these invaluable texts survived at all -- and, indeed, more than survived, since they have continued to nourish and influence both Eastern and, later on, Western Christians to the present day.

To speak of Macarius as a man in the middle is apt in a couple of ways. He is, as I have noted, someone who stands at the confluence of several different currents of Christian thought and tradition, though to what degree he is doing so consciously I will leave for others to determine. He is also, however, on occasion and very consciously facing in two directions at once: toward his monks, whom he is trying to guide and whose enthusiasms he is often seeking to temper and direct, and toward the bishops and other church authorities whose concerns for the sacramental and doctrinal integrity of the Church he is seeking to satisfy while at the same time defending as vigorously as he can, and often rather sharply, those elements of faith and practice which the heresiologists have fingered as doctrinal error, most notably the certainty which he shares with his monks that it is possible to experience and even -- if only momentarily -- to see God while still in this present life [44]. Regarding, for example, the debate around the Trinity which so preoccupied the fourth century, he is careful to include a confession of faith at the beginning of his Great Letter, otherwise devoted to setting out a community rule for his monks, which both precisely reflects the trinitarian settlement following the Council of Constantinople in AD 381 and insists on his faith in the "one baptism" of the Church [45]. Elsewhere in his works we can pick out strains of anti-Eunomian polemic that recall the controversial works of Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa [46]. In the space remaining to me, however I would like to focus on what Macarius has to say both about the visio dei, and about the relation which the Church's sacraments and, more generally, the liturgical assembly have with the life of the "inner man". What he wrote with respect to both would have great influence in subsequent Eastern Christian tradition. Let me begin with the first, the matter of vision.

There is no questions that visions of heavenly things were much on the mind of Macarius' monks. Consider, for example, the following exchange:

Question: What should one do who is led astray by Satan through, for example, an

appearance of blessedness, or else by what seems to be a revelation of grace in light?

Answer: One needs a great deal of discernment for this in order to recognize and understand

the exact difference between good and evil...So, too, should you receive even heavenly beings

with careful testing, knowledge, and discernment...[47]

Even angels are to be asked for their credentials and not accepted until after a careful perusal. On the other hand, it is evident that both Macarius and his interlocutor took for granted the possibility of such visitations. The chief criterion for distinguishing the true from the false light is the effect it has on the recipient. The reply thus continues:

...even if, wishing to deceive the soul, he [Satan] were to create fantasies by transforming

himself into brilliant visions...he is unable to effect love in you for either God or for the

brethren without immediately causing conceit and arrogance. Nor can he bring humility,

nor joy, nor peace, nor quieting of the thoughts, nor hatred of the world, nor rest in God, nor

desire for the good things of heaven...All these things are the results of grace...It is therefore

from its activity within you that you are to know whether the intelligible light that has shone

in your soul is of God or of Satan. [48]

Moreover, he concludes, the experienced soul should be able to differentiate between "the gifts of the Spirit and the phantasms of Satan" by virtue of its "spiritual perception" [aisthesis], just as "the throat knows the difference" between wine and vinegar. They look alike, but their taste distinguishes them immediately [49].

I should like to underline three things about this passage. There is , first, the insistence that the virtues, in particular love of God and neighbor, necessarily accompany any true visitation, and, as a kind of corollary, the implication that these virtues are not necessarily accompanied by vision. They stand, therefore, as in a sense primary, which is to say that the Christian experience of grace is not necessarily visionary, a matter of extraordinary experiences [50]. Second, the "spiritual perception" of which Macarius speaks recalls the "spiritual senses" of Origen and, again, it is this perception, broader than simply vision and itself the fruit of the experience of grace, together with its accompanying discernment, which he appears to hold out to his interlocutor as of more lasting importance for the spiritual life than vision per se [51]. Third, however, he is convinced that an experience of God in the form of a vision of light within the soul is not only possible, but -- and here I add to the passage cited above -- a foretaste of the eschatological transformation to come. This conviction doubtless derives in great part from his own experience. In the best known of the several Macarian collections, Collection II or the Fifty Spiritual Homilies, the eighth homily lists in the third person a series of visions, including a "cross of light" plunging itself "deep into the inner man", a "splendid robe...not made by human hands" like the clothes of Christ on the mount of the Transfiguration, and finally, citing from George Maloney's recent translation:

Sometimes indeed the very light itself, shining in theheart, opened up interiorly and in a

profound way a hidden light, so that the whole person was completely drowned with that

sweet contemplation...[52]

Later on in the same homiliy, in an exceptionally rare instance of the autobiographical in Greek patristic literature, he makes it clear that he was himself the subject of these experiences: "After I received the sign of the cross...grace quiets all my parts and my heart" [53]. Elsewhere he is emphatic that this light of grace is not a human or created thing [54]. In the following citation from Collection I, for example, he takes issue with what appear to be critics of visionary experience. Against their claim that any experience of light is to be understood as metaphorical, or perhaps as intellectual, that is, as a kind of mental illumination or flash of insight that may come as from studying the scriptures, Macarius opposes scriptural acccounts of a visio luminae, including Paul's conversion on the Damascus Road, the vision of Stephen at the latter's martyrdom, and his favorite text, I Corinthians 3:18, in order to conclude:

We ourselves acknowledge that revelation does take place by the Spirit through interpretation

as well, but let them admit in their turn that it may also be a divine light, shining essentially

and substantially [en ousiai kai hypostasei] in the hearts of the faithful...[the] divine and essential

[ousiodes] light which is that which appears and shines in souls more than the light of the sun. [55]

The relevance of this citation, and like passages in the Homilies, to the fourteenth century Hesychast debate over the "light of Tabor", and particularly to Gregory Palamas, must be clear, further evidence of what one scholar refers to as "an astonishing continuity in Church history" [56].

In still another homily from the same Collection he presents a longer catena of proof texts, moving from 2 Cor. 3:18 to 4:6 (the "glory" of Christ within the heart), Pss. 118:18 and 42:3 (on light), Acts 9 and 22 (the light at St. Paul's conversion), I Cor. 15:49 ("the image of the heavenly man"), Phil. 3:21 (the "body of Christ's glory"), I Cor. 2:9-10 ("What eye has not seen..."), and R 8:11 (the indwelling Spirit) [57]. In yet other places, he will appeal to Moses' shining face in Exodus 34, to Ezekiel's vision of the chariot throne of God's Glory, to the Synoptic Transfiguration narratives, as well as to the Johannine passages, particularly John 14:21-23 and 17:22-24, which promise an indwelling manifestation and participation in divine glory, and to Rev 22 on the celestial city and the glory which shines within it [58]. Glory, doxa, is a key term for Macarius. There are some scholars, most recently Hans Veit Beyer, who see in this preoccupation with the vision of glory and light a fundamental surrender to Neoplatonism [59]. I beg to differ. Macarius certainly owes much to the Platonic tradition, though not specifically to the Neoplatonist writers (I do not find any echoes of Plotinus or the later Platonists in him -- perhaps through Gregory of Nyssa?), and I must also add that I cannot think of any single, important patristic writer who does not owe a fair bit to Plato. Given the background of Greco-Roman culture, the Platonism of the Homilies is an inevitable feature of their general emphasis on interiority. What is surely more significant about Macarius' use of doxa is that term's long-standing use in Greek-speaking Jewish and Christian traditions as the translation of the Hebrew kevod YHWH, such as, for example, in such texts of the Septuagint as Ex. 24 and 33-34, Nu 12:8 (where doxa translates the divine form, temunah, in the context of the visio dei), I K 11, Is 6 and 40 (the eschatological manifestation, "all flesh shall see..."), Ezk 1, 8-11, and 43, and -- not mentioned specifically, but implied -- in the shining of the righteous in Dan 12 [60]. The texts cited at the head of this paragraph give some idea of the term's importance for the New Testament, a feature of earliest Christian thought that is only very lately beginning to come into the prominence it deserves. Kavod and its Greek equivalent are, put simply, the biblical terms of choice for theophany.

What is at work in Macarius' use of doxa is therefore a persistent and conscious interiorization of the biblical glory tradition, of theophany. He is scarcely alone in this among monastic writers of the late fourth century. Evagrius, too, is engaged in exactly the same enterprise, and he is not the only such parallel [61]. I myself think that this common endeavor owes not a little to the sea-change in Christian thought entailed by the Nicene homoousion, whose confirmation at Constantinople we have already seen Macarius endorsing. The spirituality required by the doctrine of divine consubstantiality did not allow for the sort of crudely materialistic or frankly anthropomorphite cast to the visio dei suggested by the episcopal heresiologists' accusation, noted above, that the Messalians taught a vision of the Trinity accessible to the physical eye. We can find similar concerns and debate operative in the anthropomorphite controversy among Egyptian monks at the close of the fourth century, in Augustine's Confessions (recall his delight at discovering the Platonists!), as well as in his De Trinitate and Epistles 147-148, or in Cyril of Alexandria's correspondence with Palestinian monks in the 430's [62]. To sum up an argument I have made at length elsewhere, there was widespread controversy in the late fourth and early fifth centuries about the nature of the vision of God, and, further, this controversy was particularly associated with the monks [63]. Ancient traditions among Christian ascetics were in process of being re-shaped, and monastic leaders like Macarius and Evagrius were at the forefront of this reconfiguration.

The nature and provenance of these ancient traditions, together with an instructive glimpse into Macarius' program, are perhaps most stunningly displayed in the first homily of the better known Collection II. The latter begins by summarizing Ezekiel's vision on the banks of the Chebar (Ezk 1:1ff), and then goes on to add the following interpretation:

The prophet truly and assuredly saw what he saw, but [his vision] also suggested something else.

It depicted beforehand something secret and divine, a mystery truly hidden from eternity and,

after generations, made manifest in the last days with the appearance [lit. epiphany] of Christ.

For Ezekiel beheld the mystery of the soul that is going to receive its Lord and become His throne

[thronos] of glory, since the soul which has been made worthy of fellowship with the Spirit of His [Christ's] light, and which has been illumined by the beauty of His ineffable glory after having prepared itself for Him as a throne [kathedra] and dwelling place [katoiketerion], becomes all

light and all face and all eye. [64]

There are a number of things worth pointing out in this passage. First, there is the emphatic statement that Ezekiel's was a true vision. He really did see the glory of God. One might contrast this with Augustine's systematic reduction of the Old Testament theophanies to angelophanies, or to mere symbols. I do not think, though, that Macarius is primarily concerned here with countering such an interpretation, but that he wants rather to make it clear that he is in agreement with the interest of his monastic audience in, first of all, according this text its full, literal value. Second, I would suggest that they were so interested because they hoped to enjoy the sort of vision for which Ezekiel's was the likely prototype, by which I mean the sight of the enthroned glory of God in the heavenly sanctuary that we find so often to the fore in apocalyptic literature and, later on and perhaps simultaneously with writers like Macarius and Evagrius, in the merkabah (chariot) lore of the talmudic-era hekhalot texts [65]. This is not to say that Macarius' monks were reading rabbinic literature. They did not need to, since they -- or, certainly, other Christian ascetics -- were busy at the time and thereafter translating and copying the earlier apocalyptic and other pseudepigraphical materials for themselves [66]. Recall, for example, Athanasius' 39th Festal Epistle of 367, where the modern scriptural canon of the Christian churches (less the deutercanonical books) appears for the first time, and note that the great archbishop provides a list of authoritative books exactly in order to exclude apocalyptic texts like the Enochic books and the Ascension of Isaiah, about which he tells us certain overly enthusiastic ascetics, "the wretched Meletians" in this case, "have been boasting" [67]. We might also bear in mind the fact that Athanasius was markedly unsuccessful. Old Testament pseudepigrapha and related literature did not disappear immediately even in Egypt, let alone in other regions, such as, in our case, Syria-Mesopotamia. Jacob of Serug's long homily, On the Chariot that Ezekiel the Prophet Saw, provides significant testimony that, a century after Macarius, some Syrian monks were still interested -- unhealthily so, in Jacob's view -- in what I take to be an apocalyptic or hekhalot type of mystical ascent to see the human form, Christ, of the glory enthroned. I might add that I think similar concerns were at work in Jacob's anonymous (though more famous) contemporary, the unknown Syrian Christian who wrote under the name of Dionysius Areopagites, though no one else seems to have picked up on this element in "Dionysius" [68].

Macarius in any case does not oppose this tradition head-on. Instead, he affirms Ezekiel's vision, and only then adds his qualifying "but": "but [this] also suggests something else". The "something else" in question is my third point: Macarius engages in nothing less than a recasting of the ancient literatue of ascent and vision to which his monks were so attached. As Gershom Scholem put it, in an offhand remark at the close of the chapter on "Merkabah Mysticism" in his epocal study , Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, Macarius is engaged in "a mystical reinterpretation" of the Merkabah tradition [69]. There is no need to go "up" to heaven to see God on His glorious throne, since, "with Christ, everything is within", and therefore the chariot-throne of divinity, the place of divine abiding and heavenly palace or temple (hekhal, naos), has, through Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, become the Christian soul itself. Just as Evagrius, in the words of Nicholas Sed, provides us with "the first interiorization" of Moses' ascent at Sinai "of which we have a written attestation", such that the true mount of revelation is relocated to the intellect, so does Macarius rework the motifs of tabernacle, temple, and of the ascent to heaven for initiation into its mysteries [70]. The "all face and all eye" in the passage cited just above, for example, deliberately recalls the four faces and many eyes of the angelic bearers of Ezekiel's chariot throne, the "living creatures" or hayyot which feature so prominently in both apocalyptic throne visions and in the angelogical speculations of the later hekhalot texts [71]. Macarius thus continues:

The four living creatures which carry the chariot were also carrying a type of the four

governing faculties [lit., "thoughts", logismoi] of the soul...I mean the will, the conscience,

the intellect [nous], and the power to love [agapetike dynamis], for through them the

chariot of the soul is steered, and upon them God takes up His rest [epanapauetai]. [72]

The One Who rides and directs these steeds, the charioteer, Macarius stresses a few lines later, is the Same Who rode upon Ezekiel's cherubim, "Who holds the reigns and guides with His Spirit". While this passage obviously owes a great deal to Plato's Phaedrus, it is surely also Platonism with a difference. For the pagan philolosopher, it is the rational faculty, the logistikon, which holds the reigns and directs the soul, but, for our Christian ascetic, the intellect has been bumped out of the driver's seat and buckled into harness together with the other faculties in order to make room for the true Charioteer, Christ God, Who guides the soul with the Holy Spirit [73]. Visionary traditions and enthusiasms are not denied in this reworking, for theophany is still held out as possible and desirable, but they are tempered, redirected into channels more conducive to ascetical sobriety, toward, in fact, that inner warfare we noted earlier and the divine help needed to wage it. Attaining to vision within must and will only come as the result and gift of the soul's entire restoration and transfiguration, and then again, as Macarius frequently puts it elsewhere, only -- and fleetingly -- as an anticipation of the Day of Resurrection when the divine fire now hidden within the soul will, as it were, emerge and shine forth openly from a transformed and risen body [74].

My fourth observation about the chariot passage provides us with our entry into the second area of concern I promised to discuss, the matter of Macarius' relation to the sacraments and liturgical assembly which, as we have seen, was at issue in the Messalian controversy. In the passage on the chariot we find two Greek words used for "throne", thronos and kathedra. The second term has an obviously ecclesiastical ring to it, recalling the place of the bishop's teaching and presidency at the Church's liturgy. I think that this association is quite deliberate on Macarius' part. While he does not pursue the echo of church liturgy and even architecture in this particular homily, he certainly does so elsewhere, frequently, and, on one occasion at least, at some length. Throughout, perhaps his key scriptural texts are 1 Cor 3:16 and 6:19-20, especially the latter's equation of the individual Christian's body and the temple of the Spirit [75]. This is clearly the basis for the following passage, which joins the imagery of sancturary and, very popular among Syrian Christians, of nuptial union:

The body of the human being is a temple of God...and the human heart is an altar of the

Holy Spirit...With the temple of the Lord let us also sanctify the altar, that He may light

our lamps and that we may enter into His bridal chamber. [76]

The Jerusalem Temple was, of course, the place par excellence of divine abiding in Israel, the object of the Psalmist's frequent desire to look upon God's glory. Thus, just as with Ezekiel's Merkabah (itself written in part as a response to the imminent loss of the Solomon's temple), Macarius also picks up and interiorizes this motif: the holy of holies, the debir of the Shekhinah's abiding, is now the Christian soul. Likewise, the priesthood of the sons of Aaron celebrating within the holy place, and the ministry of the angels in the heavenly sanctuary, a frequent theme in intertestamental literature, is now also fulfilled and active within the soul once the latter has acquired -- and been given -- freedom from the passions: "For it is in such a heart that God and all the Church of heaven take their rest" [77]; and also, with the related imagery of the heavenly Jerusalem, the following: "[Christ] Himself ministers [diakonei] to her [the soul] in the city of her body, and she in turn ministers to Him in the heavenly city" [78].

The body as temple is the sphere thus of Christ's unique priesthood: "The true priest of the future good things...has entered into the tabernacle of their [the believer's] bodies, and he ministers to and heals the pasions" [79]. That which He effects within is, earlier in the same homily, specifically likened to the sacramental change, metobole, of the eucharistic elements, and in such a way as also to recall the Eastern (and especially Syrian) Christian tradition of the consecratory invocation of the Holy Spirit, the epiklesis:

For our Lord came for this reason, that He might change [allaxai] and transform [metabalein]

and renew and recreate the soul which had been overturned by the passions...mingling with it

His own Spirit of divinity...to make new men, anointing them with His own light of knowledge,

that He might put in them the new wine which is His Spirit. [80]

Another term Macarius uses with this same kind of echo is the word, synaxis. It means gathering or assembling, or a gathering or assembly, and is of course familiar to liturgists as an ancient expression for the liturgical assembly of the Church. In several passages, Macarius employs it simply, or with at least apparent simplicity, for the soul's "gathering" of its scattered thoughts, logismoi, in order, as he puts it in one such passage, that Christ may "gather her unto Himself and make her thoughts divine, and teach her true prayer" [82]. I say apparent simplicity because it becomes evident elsewhere that he does mean it to carry a specifically ecclesiastical and liturgical resonance, as in the following:

"Church" is therefore said with regard both to the many and to the single soul. For that soul

which gathers [synagei] all its thoughts is also the Church of God...and this term [thus] applies

in the case both of many [Christians] and of one. [83]

This citation is an obvious and open appeal to the principle of microcosm and macrocosm, the soul as a microcosm of the Church's macrocosm. Put another way, and borrowing an expression from Macarius' equally anonymous contemporary, the author of the Liber Graduum, the Christian, and particularly the Christian heart or soul, is a "little church" [84]. Mention of the Liber leads me to point out that, in all that we have touched on so far regarding Macarius' use of the language of temple and church, he is drawing on a manner of speaking which has many precedents, some of them very old indeed. The notion of the Christian as ecclesiastical microcosm -- and, indeed, microcosm as well of the Paradise Mountain and of the Sinai of theophany -- is at the least adumbrated in Ephrem Syrus' Paradise Hymns, while the body as "temple" goes back, as noted, to St. Paul [85]. We might also look to the Acts of Thomas in the earlier Syrian milieu where the bodies of the ascetics are hailed as temples, places of Christ's indwelling, and where the "holy ones" are in consequence even accorded sacerdotal powers, "empowered to forgive sins" [86]. Aphrahat speaks similarly of the Christian's priestly office of prayer [87]. The Alexandrian writers from Philo to Origen draw conscious comparisons between the worship of the community and liturgy of the soul [88], while Macarius' placing of the ascetic's body and soul in parallel with the eucharistic elements may also draw on Ignatius of Antioch's and Polycarp of Smyrna's second century characterization of the martyr's body as locus of theophany and sacramentally transformed, as well as their obvious deployement of eucharistic language in order to depict that transformation, and we should note that they in their turn were the heirs of still older, Jewish traditions of the martyr as a holy and reconciling sacrifice [89]. It is, by the way, a truism that the fourth century monastic movement drew on the imagery of martyrdom. What is perhaps less appreciated is the real possibility that the same imagery, and for likely just as long, had been applied to the ascetics. Christianity in Persian Mesopotamia seems to bear this out. There it was martyrdom that was the more recent, fourth century experience. When it thus came time to write the martyrologies, the language the authors used was that which previously their communities had employed for their ascetics -- precisely the reverse of the sequence in the Roman world [90].

Traditional, yes, and even ancient, but it is equally evident that many bishops at the end of the fourth century felt that this language threatened proper regard for the sacraments and, to be sure, that thereby their own authority was placed in question. With respect to the second concern, I would say that they were probably in part justified, though I would add that the real authority of the charismatic saint, almost inevitably an ascetic or monastic, has been a constant thorn in the Eastern hierarchy's side from the Messalian controversy and before to the present day, and that there is no sign that it will ever be removed short of the eschaton -- for which God be praised [91]. Regarding the bishops' concern over proper evaluation of the sacraments, however, there was surely misunderstanding, at least so far Macarius was concerned. The latter not only wrote of baptism and eucharist in such a way as to make it clear he accepted and indeed embraced the Church's doctrine, but in one of his homilies he also sought to reply both to the bishops and, on the other side of his typically two-way dialogue, surely as well to some of his monks who were raising questions, by elaborating on the notion of the ecclesiastical microcosm in such a way as to exercise profound influence on subsequent Eastern Christian thought, practice, piety, and even, I think, church architecture. I shall touch first and briefly on his affirmations of the traditional teaching before turning to his contribution.

Baptism and eucharist are real for Macarius. His understanding of the former was most usefully discussed by Dom Vincent Desprez in an article published ten years ago [92]. While acknowledging that Macarius shared with his Syrian Christian background in a certain neglect respecting the Pauline theme of baptism as a sharing in Christ's death (R 6), Dom Vincent points out his equally Syrian emphasis on the sacrament as the "earnest", arrabon, of the gift of the Holy Spirit [93]. This eschatological emphasis is the fore, of course, throughout all of his writings. In the case of baptism, the use of the imagery of the "earnest" and "talent" given the believer in the sacrament looks ever toward eschatological fulfillment, and opens thus onto the dynamic of growth into a conscious and perfected Christian life. Macarius is always interested in process. He thus criticizes in one homily what he takes to be his critics' static and in effect magical view of sacramental efficacy, insisting instead that, though participation in the Spirit through baptism is real indeed, that participation is an invitation to progress, to an increase in love and virtue and awareness "according to the measure" of each believer's faith, kat'analogian tes pisteos [94]. On the other hand, if baptismal grace is left uncultivated, the "earth of the heart" can indeed revert to weeds and thorns, that is, suffer again the inhabitation of evil. To be sure, later ascetic writers such as Mark the Monk and Diadochus of Photiki in the following century would, in view of the episcopal condemnations, develop and refine the Macarian teaching, laying more stress on baptism's ties with the Cross, stressing the plenitude of the gifts received, and moderating his language concerning the post-baptismal indwelling of evil, but in substance their modifications have much more in common with Macarius than they differ from him [95].

As for the eucharist, Macarius admittedly speaks relatively little of it, at least when he is not in a polemical mode replying to his critics. Yet this is scarcely untypical of monastic writers, and, when he does write of it, his language is fully traditional, as in the following citation with its typical emphasis on the Spirit:

Those who have truly partaken of the bread of the eucharist are made worthy of becoming

partakers of the Holy Spirit, and thus holy souls are enabled to live everlastingly. Just as he

who drinks wine possesses the latter mingled with all his members...so, too, with him who

drinks the blood of Christ, for the Spirit of divinity which is drunk is mingled with the perfect

soul and the latter is mingled with the Spirit and, thus sanctified, becomes worthy of the Lord. [96]

Then there is also the passage where, interpreting I Cor 2:9, "what eye hath seen", he holds out the sacraments as that which the prophets did not not see, though they foretold Messiah's coming:

...neither did it come to their understanding that there would be a baptism of fire and the Holy

Spirit, and that bread and wine would be offered in the Church as an antitype of the Lord'sbody

and blood, and that those who partake of the visible bread spiritually eat His flesh, and that the Apostles

and Christians would receive the Comforter and be clothed with power from on high and filled with

divinity, and that souls would be mingled with the Holy Spirit. None of this did the prophets know. [97]

I would also add the texts which I cited above in connection with the believer as microcosm. Macarius would surely not be using a word like metabole, with its echo of eucharistic consecration, for the inner transformation of the soul unless both he and his audience understood and accepted the term's original reference to the mysterious change of the sacramental elements. The allusion and implied analogy would otherwise lose their intended force, that is, as the elements are truly changed through the action of the Spirit at the Church's altar, so must it be with the "inner man" at the altar of the heart.

In sum, throughout the Macarian corpus the eucharist is understood as at once the real anticipation and the illustration of the Christian's eschatological transformation. The latter element, the illustrative character, or perhaps we might better say, the iconic aspect of the eucharistic assembly is what draws Macarius' particular attention in Homily 52 of Collection I, where I would see him as, typically, addressing both his episcopal critics and certain among his own monks, or monastic correspondents, who had raised questions about the importance of the liturgy [98]. Here, too, is where he makes another signal contribution to the thought of Greek-speaking Christianity: the visible church as the divinely given icon here below of the transfigured inner man called to participate in the heavenly liturgy. This is the note on which he begins his homily:

The whole visible arrangement of the Church of God came to pass for the sake of the living

and intelligent substance [noera ousia] of the rational soul which was made according to the

image of God, and which is the living and true Church of God...For the Church of Christ and

temple of God and true altar and living sacrifice is the man of God. [99]

He criticizes his critics for their superficiality: "They have complete confidence in the temporary arrangement and only trust in statutes of the flesh". Neglecting "the seeking according to the inner man and the renewal of the soul... they slander us out of ignorance". This does not mean that Macarius denies the reality of the present dispensation of altar and sacraments: "God gave His Holy Spirit to the holy and catholic Church, and arranged that He be present at the holy altar and in the water of holy baptism", so that, through this presence and divine action, "faithful hearts...might be renewed and refashioned by the power of grace" [100]. The Spirit was present in the Ark of Covenant of the Old Dispensation, so how much more then is this not the case for the Christian altar? But visible realities, as we have seen, are for Macarius always subordinate to the invisible, to the unseen and secret work within, thus:

Because visible things are the type and shadow of the hidden ones, and the visible temple

[a type] of the temple of the heart, and the priest [a type] of the grace of Christ, and all the

rest of the sequence of the visible arrangement [a type] of the rational and hidden matters

according to the inner man, we receive the manifest arrangement and administration of the

Church as an illustration [hypodeigma] of what is at work in the soul by grace. [101]

In the concluding section of the homily he develops this statement by taking up the sequence, akolouthia, of the eucharistic liturgy and the physical arrangement, oikonomia, of the assembled believers, by which he means, respectively, the two halves of the service, the liturgies of the word (synaxis) and of the eucharist proper (anaphora), and the progression from the catechumens in the church porch to the baptized believers in the nave to the presbyters on either side of the bishop's throne in the sanctuary apse. The first he presents as an image of the relationship of ascetic efforts to the grace of the Spirit. Just as the consecration of the gifts and holy communion crown and complete the reading and meditation on the scriptures in the service's first part, so does the "mystical activity of the Spirit" crown and complete the efforts of "vigil, prayer, ascesis, and every virtue". Neither one is sufficient without the other; both are required. The anaphora must have the synaxis to precede it, while the latter is obviously incomplete without the consecration and communion. Similarly, there is no point to ascetic labors without the visitation of the Spirit, but He will not rest upon us unless we labor in our turn. The physical ordering of the assembly likewise mirrors the ascent of the believer to God and participation in the heavenly liturgy. Just as "those who do not sin and make progress...come eventually to the priesthood, and are transferred from some outer place [presumably referring to the church porch] up to the altar so that they may become God's ministers and assistants [leitourgoi kai paredroi]" -- the sequence of promotion in the church's hierarchy, with the last phrase likely referring to the deacons and presbyters at the bishop's throne -- so the soul,

If...it does not embitter grace...but rather pleasingly follows the dominical statutes...and with all its

faculty of choice cleaves at all times to the Lord and welcomes grace, then indeed... it progresses and

is made worthy...of promotion and spiritual rank, and...will be inscribed in the Kingdom among the

perfect workers and with the blameless ministers and assistants [leitourgoi kai paredroi] of Christ. [102]

In its temporal sequence and spatial ordering, the order (kosmos) of the Church's liturgy therefore reflects both the order of the Spirit's activity within and cooperation with the soul, and the latter's rise to share in the ministry of the angels in the heavenly temple, that is, with those who serve (leitourgoi) and who stand beside (paredroi) the throne of Christ.

The notion of the Church's prayer as a participation in and reflection of the liturgy of heaven is very old, indeed, arguably with roots in the New Testament and, even before, in Second Temple Judaism [103], while the idea of the human soul as microcosm of the Church is, as I noted above, likewise very old. What Macarius brings to these themes is a more precise development and coordination. He argues systematically in this homily that what we see when we participate in the liturgy is a divinely established image or -- in the fully sacramental sense that the term would later acquire -- icon both of heaven, and of ourselves and our calling as Christians. Now, some might feel -- and have felt -- that this is an unfortunate allegorization of the liturgy and thereby a surrender, again, to Platonism [104]. We certainly do have a kind of allegorization here, and, equally, it owes not a little to Plato, but I do not agree that it is so regrettable. Let us first recall that Macarius is writing to his monks, and that, secondly, he does so at least as much to persuade them of the importance of the visible Church's worship as to engage his critics among the bishops. It is in this effort to reconcile his ascetics to the liturgy by demonstrating its relevance and application to their own intense focus on the inner life that we discover the lasting importance of what he has to say. He insists that the communal and objective character of public worship is both true, being grounded in divine revelation, and that it at once aids and reflects the Christian's own subjective appropriation of the unique sacrament, mysterion, of Christ. I would insist that the key here is the "both, and", and the reconciliation or harmony that it seeks to effect between the sacramental and the mystical, objective and subjective, public and private, institutional and charismatic, or -- in Macarius' own terms -- altar and heart. As the revealed icon of heaven and of the heart, the Church's altar becomes the necessary, middle term between the two, at once communicating heaven to us and leading us to its manifestation within us. Its role is a temporary one, since "the whole arrangement and ministry of the heavenly mysteries of the Church will pass away at the conclusion of the age", then, when heaven and glorified humanity will merge and become one, but, for now, in the present time of attendance and anticipation, it mediates the eschaton to us in image and in truth.

I cannot then regard Macarius' efforts here as in any sense a surrender or betrayl, for it seems to me that what he accomplished served in a very fundamental way to preserve the unity of the Church of the bishops, sacramentally based and necessarily structured, with the enthusiasm, charismaticism and generally inward thrust of the monastic movement. He helped establish the two in a union which, while it has had its tensions, has never since been broken. He was not alone in this endeavor. To be sure, Athanasius and Basil had also contributed significantly to this project, though not with respect to the specific matter of the "inner church" [105]. I have, however, already mentioned Ephrem Syrus' adumbrations of this reconciliation in his Paradise Hymns, and can point as well to the exact same ideas as Macarius, and probably for the exact same reasons, in the twelfth mimro of the Liber Graduum [106]. But both of the latter two works were written in Syriac, and neither one to my knowledge was ever translated into Greek, certainly not the Liber. So it is chiefly at Macarius' door that I would it place the later works of Dionysius Areopagites, especially on the hierarchies, and Maximus Confessor's Mystagogy, together with pervasive strains in, for example, the writings of Symeon New Theologian, Gregory of Sinai, and Nicholas Cabasilas [107]. These writers reflect over a thousand years of Greek-speaking Christianity. They also represent much of the best that the Eastern Christian world has to offer.

Macarius fully deserved the efforts his immediate successors must have expended to preserve his writings from the oblivion that befell too many others who ran afoul of hasty condemnations. He wrote about what he knew, both from scripture and tradition, and from his own experience, and he did so in such a way as to weave together into a single compelling tapestry threads from many, not always harmonious earlier Christian and pre-Christian groups and traditions. His was a genuine ministry of synthesis and reconciliation whose power to speak to subsequent generations sprang from the quality of its living and lived witness to the transfiguration promised by the Gospels and Apostles, to that change, effected by the Spirit of the risen Christ, which is at work in Christians even now, provided only they pledge their trust and longing.

Some years ago, after having been invited to sit in on a session of the Orthodox-Lutheran dialogue, I remember asking a prominent Lutheran theologian of my acquaintance how he pictured a Lutheran saint. He was at a loss for words for a moment, and then graciously admitted that he had never really given the matter any thought. For me, on the other hand, it still seems a very important question, even fundamental. What is the ideal we have of the Christian life in this world? Can it be lived? Whom may we look to for examples in our own and recent times, and throughout the history of the Church? Some this perspective strikes me as having been shared by the Wesleys. Thus when, at the sessions of their Holy Club, John and Charles Wesley picked up and read Macarius, and loved him in spite of the gulf of time and space, and equally of the centuries-old divisions of culture and in the Church which separated fourth century Mesopotamia from eighteenth century England, I would like to think that they were responding to the same Spirit Who inspired him [108]. If, moreover, that Spirit is the one and unique river of life which flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb, then might we not find in the welcoming response of two saintly Englishmen to this Syrian holy man, who so deeply impressed the thought and practice of Eastern Christianity, a kind of proof that those ages of difference and division can in fact be transcended and -- who knows? -- perhaps even the hope that they can be reconciled? Surely, if we look first to our saints for the truth of Christ's promises, for the presence in this age of the age to come, for the signs of the Spirit in short, will we not find a more certain, or at least a more promising ground for ecumenical encounter than merely the mutual exchange of confessional statements? We Orthodox are fond of saying that Orthodoxy is most fundamentally neither a system of doctrine nor an institution, important as both those are, but first and last a way of life, as in Bishop Kallistos' little book, The Orthodox Way. We do not very often live up to that claim, but we can and do point to those whom we believe have done so, to our saints, as the proof of things unseen and embodying the substance of things hoped for. I have the impression that that is part of the purpose of our meetings here this week. If so, it is a worthy project, and I hope that this paper has made some small contribution to it. Thank you.

Hieromonk Alexander (Golitzin)

Theophany, 1999

Marquette University



1. K.T. Ware, "Preface", in Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter, tr. G. Maloney (NY:1992) xi. See also E. Benz, Die protestantische Thebais. Zur Nachwirkung Makarios des Aegypters im Protestantismus des 17 und Jahrhunderts im Europa und Amerika (Goettingen: 1963), and H. Doerries, Die Theologie des Makarios-Symeons (Goettingen:1978) 16 ff. I am indebted for the reference to Benz' book to R. Staats, "Messalianerforschung und Ostkirchenkunde", in Makarios-Symposium ueber das Boese, ed. Werner Strothmann (Goettingen: 1983) 60, n.39.

2. I take the phrase from J. Pelikan's The Mind of Eastern Christianity, vol. II of The Catholic Tradition

3. The expression, "perceptibly and with complete assurance", is one of the signature phrases of the Macarian Homilies. For an analysis of the phrase, together with the related term, peira (experience), see esp. C. Stewart, "Working the Earth of the Heart": The Messalian Controversy in History, Texts, and Language to A.D. 431 (Oxford/NY: 1991) 96-168. For peira alone, see P. Miquel, Le vocabulaire de l'experience spirituelle dans la tradition grecque du IVe au XIVe siecle (Beauchesne: 1991).

4. Collection I appears in Makarios/Symeon. Reden und Briefen: Die Sammlung I des Vaticanus Graecus 694 (B), ed. H. Berthold (Berlin:1973); Collection II in Die 50 geistlichen Homilien des Makarios, ed. H. Doerries, E. Klostermann, and M. Kroeger (Berlin:1964); and Collection III in Neue Homilien des Makarios/Symeon. Aus Typus III, ed. E. Klostermann and H. Berthold (Berlin:1961). The last has also been more recently edited and supplied with a French translation by V. Desprez, OSB: Pseudo-Macaire, Oeuvres spirituelles. Vol. I: Homelies propres a la Collection III, in Sources chretiennes 275 (Paris:1980). When referring to or quoting from Macarius below, I shall be using my own translations unless otherwise stated, and referring to the original language texts above. Citations in the notes below will begin with uppercase Roman numerals for the Collections, followed by arabic numerals for the specific homiliy and its subsections.

The first item in the MSS of Collection I, Macarius' Great Letter, is not included in Berthold's edition as it was edited previously by W. Jaeger, Two Rediscovered Works of Ancient Christian Literature: Gregory of Nyssa and Macarius (Leiden:1965). It was Jaeger's thesis that Macarius had based this treatise on Gregory's shorter work, On Christian Perfection (also included in Rediscovered Works). A second edition of the Letter, however, together with the close analysis of its editor, R. Staats, in the latter's Makarios-Symeon: Epistola Magna (Goettingen:1980), demonstrated convincingly that the relationship was in fact the reverse, i.e., that Gregory edited Macarius. In that Macarius elsewhere appears often to have availed himself of ideas characteristic of Gregory (as well of as Basil the Great, see below, n.11), the evidence has been building for "an environment of mutual exchange" between the author of the Homilies and the great Cappadocians, to quote from Mr. S. Burns' paper, "'Sober Intoxication' as a metaphor for divine ecstasy in Gregory of Nyssa and Ps-Macarius", given at the North American Patristics Society Conference at Loyola, Chicago, in June 1998. I look forward to the eventual publication of Mr. Burns' thesis on this subject as it promises to be the most thorough study on Macarius' Syrian and Greek background available in English.

5. The name, Symeon of Mesopotamia, is often attached (particularly by German scholars) to "Macarius", owing to the appearance of that name, a leader in the Messalian movement, in a few of the ancient MSS. H. Doerries was the first to raise the possibility of Symeon in Symeon von Mesopotamien. Die Ueberlieferung des messalianischen Makarios-Schriften (Leipzig:1941), and was followed by many thereafter. For a brief consideration of the question of Macarius' identity, see V. Desprez, "Macaire", in Dictionnaire de spiritualite X:27, and at greater length in his "Introduction" to the SC edition of Collection III, pp.32-37.

6. Evagrius was preserved, partially, in Greek under the name of Nilus of Sinai, but the Kephalaia Gnostica, his main doctrinal work, survives only in two Syriac translations, tr. and ed. by A. Guillaumont, Patrologia Orientalis XXVIII. His Origenism was the source of his later condemnation in 553, and the best study of his thought in that regard is still Guillaumont's Les "Kephalaia Gnostica" d'Evagre le pontique (Paris:1962). More recent studies by, especially, G. Bunge have served to place Evagrius more securely in the setting of Egyptian eremeticism, and somewhat to ameliorate the charge of heresy. Thus, in chronological order, see the latter's "Evagre le Pontique et les deux Macaires", Irenikon 56 (1983) 215-227 and 323-360; "On the Trinitarian Mysticism of Evagrius of Pontus", Studia Monastica 17 (1986) 191-208; "Origenismus-Gnostizismus: zum geistesgeschichtlichen Standort des Evagrios Pontikos", Vigiliae Christianae 40 (1986) 24-54; Geistliche Vaterschaft: Christliche Gnosis bei Evagrios Pontikos (Regensburg:1988); and perhaps especially "Henade ou Monade? Au sujet des deux notions centrales de la terminologie evagrienne", Le Museon 102 (1989) 69-91.

7. Desprez, "Macaire", DSp. 39.

8. For the background in Wisdom literature and Cynic diatribe to the literary form Evagrius largely invents for Eastern monastic literature, the "chapters" or short sayings, see W.R. Schoedel, "Jewish Wisdom and the Formation of the Christian Ascetic", in R. Wilken, ed., Aspects of Wisdom in Judaism and Early Christianity (Notre Dame:1975) 169-199; and also, specifically in Evagrius, J. Driscoll, OSB, The "Ad Monachos" of Evagrius Ponticus: Its Structure and a Select Commentary (Roma:1991) 307-384. On meditation in the Egyptian hermitages, see D. Burton-Christie, The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism (Oxford/NY:1993) 76-177.

9. For Macarius as himself the recipient of revelations, see II.8, cited below, esp. II.8.6. On the necessity of an inspired guide, see I.4.12; II.14.4; 15.20 (saints as theodidaktoi); 18.5-6; III.7.3-4 (vs. false guides); 14.1; and 16.3; but against false claims to perfection, impossible in this life, see II.8.5; 15.36 (we are always free to fall); 17.5-6; 38.4-5; I.31.6; 39 and 64 (the need for meekness vs. conceit); III.22.1-2 (vs. pretenders to knowledge through intellectual effort alone); and for comment, Doerries, Theologie des Makarios/Symeon, 336-366. On the phenomenon of the enlightened elders in the fourth century (and afterwards) and their claims to authority, often in tension with the official hierarchy, see, e.g., P. Rousseau, Ascetics, Authority, and the Church (Oxford:1978) 18-67; P. Brown, Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity (Berkeley:1982) 103-195; and A. Golitzin, St. Symeon the New Theologian on the Mystical Life, vol. III, Life, Times, Theology (NY:1997) 19-21 and 38-53.

10. On the social and ecclesiastical setting of monasticism in Asia Minor and upper Mesopotamia, see J. Gribomont, "Le monachisme au sein de l'eglise en Syrie et en Cappadoce", Studia Monastica 7 (1965) 7-24; I. Pena et. alii, Les reclus syriens: recherches sur les anciennes formes de vie solitaire en Syrie (Milano:1980) esp. 93-162 on the life and continual contacts of Syrian hermits with larger groups; and S.H. Griffith, "Asceticism in the Church of Syria: The Hermeneutics of Early Syrian Monasticism", in V.L. Wimbush and R. Valentasis, ed.s, Asceticism (Oxford/NY:1995) 220-245. On Macarius' Great Letter as a "rule" for his community ascetics, see Staats, "Messalianerforschungen" 56-57, and in detail, Epistola Magna 63-72.

11. Doerries' annotations in his edition of Die 50 geistliche Homilien are especially good on noting links to apocryphal materials, as well as other echoes of earlier Christian writers. See also G. Quispel, Makarius, das Thomasevangelium, and das Leid von der Perle (Leiden:1967) on the echoes of the earlier Syriac literature of the Thomas tradition; together with A. Baker, "Syriac and the Scriptural Quotations of Pseudo-Macarius", Journal of Theological Studies 20 (1969) 133-149; and Stewart, "Working the Earth" 84-95, 188-203, and 211-233 for parallels in later, fourth century Syriac literature. I know of no studies devoted to the influence of Clement and Origen, but see Desprez, "Introduction", SC 275, 55-56; and for the Cappadocians, esp. R.Staats, Epistola Magna, and, ibidem, Gregor von Nyssa und die Messalianer (Berlin:1968), as well as the forthcoming work by S. Burns, n.4 above. I shall touch on some possible parallels with Jewish thought on specific issues below.

12. See above, n.6, and especially N. Sed, "La shekinta et ses amis arameens", in Cahiers d'Orientalisme XX (1988) 233-242 for Evagrius' links with Jewish exegesis on the visio dei.

13. I. Hausherr, "Les grands courants de la spiritualite", Orientalia Christiana Periodica 1 (1935) 114-138, esp. 121-124 and 126-128. See my remarks on this influential article in "Temple and Throne of God: Pseudo-Macarius and Purity of Heart", in Purity of Heart: Essays in Memory of Juana Raasch, OSB, ed. H. Luckman (Liturgical Press, forthcoming).

14. On the vision of light in Evagrius, see again Sed, op.cit., together with A.Guillaumont, "Un philosophe au desert: Evagre le Pontique", Revue de l'histoire des religions 181 (1972) 29-56; ibidem, "La vision de le l'intellect par lui-meme dans la mystique evagrienne", Melanges de l'Universite Saint Joseph 50 (Beirut:1984) 255-262, and, critical of both Evagrius and Macarius (together with the later Byzantine Hesychasts) as in thrall to the light mysticism of Neoplatonism, H. V. Beyer, "Die Lichtlehre der Moenche des vierzehnten und des vierten Jahrhunderts", in XVI Internationaler Byzantinistenkongress, Akten I:2, Jahrbuch des oesterreichischen Byzantinistik 31,1 (1981) 473-512.

15. See my discussion of Evagrius in Et introibo ad altare dei: The Mystagogy of Dionysius Areopagita (Thessalonica:1994) 322-340; and, in greater detail, M. O'Laughlin, Origenism in the Desert: Anthropology and Integration in Evagrius Ponticus, MS Phd. (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor:1988) esp. 88-188. The sketch of Evagrius' thought in David Evans' Leontius of Byzantium: An Origenist Christology (Wash.DC:1970) 89-111 may also be consulted with profit.

16. The citation is from I.18.7.3. For other references to the Transfiguration, see I.10.3.1; II.4.13; 8.3; 15.38. For more examples of the contrast between the "now" (nyn) of the light within, and the "then" (tote) of the body's visible glorification, see I.18.6; 24; 28.1; 58.3; II.2.5; 5.7-12; 11.1; 15.38; 34.2; and III.2.1. On the place of the Transfiguration in particularly Eastern Christian thought, see J. A. McGuckin, The Transfiguration of Christ in Scripture and Tradition (Lewiston/Queensland:1986) 99-128, esp. 117-128 on the Gospel episode taken as an illustration of the deification of the flesh, and as an epiphany of the age to come.

17. Macarius certainly makes use of "heart" as equivalent to "inner man", thus see I.3.2; 4.30; 27.2; 39; 54.2-3; II.4.4; 5.4; 8.3; 10.1; 11.9-13; 13.1; 15.8,20,28,33-34; 19.7; 24.2; 26.21-22; 32.3; 43.3 and 7; III.3.2; 20.2; 28.4; Great Letter 6, 22, 34, 40, and 42. Elsewhere, however, he will freely use "inner man", soul, or even intellect (nous) instead of "heart", as in, for example, virtually all his references to the inner temple (naos), church (ekklesia), house (oikos) or dwelling-place (oiketerion) or palace (palation) or throne (thronos) or city (polis) or altar (thysiasterion) or tabernacle (skene) of God: I.3.3; 4.7 (soul); 5.3 (intellect); 7.18 (soul and inner man); 25.1 (soul); 29.2 (soul); 40.1 (soul); II.1.2 (soul); 6.5 (intellect); 12.15 (soul); 27.19 (soul and intellect); 28.1 (soul); 32.5-6 (soul); 33.2 (soul); 37.8-9 (soul); 45.5 (soul); 47.14 (soul); III.6.2 (soul); 19.2 (soul); 21.3 (soul); 25.4 (soul); and 27.6 (soul). Relatedly on the importance of the soul or "inner man", see I.5.2; 18.7 ("inner man" as the image of God); 23.2; 24 (soul as key to the spiritual reading of Scripture); 25.1 (soul as locus of interior warfare); 40.1; 54.2-3; 62 (intellect called to rule over passions); 64; II.28.1; 30; 37.1; 43.7 (the intellect as the "eye of the heart", and cf. II.6.8 for the intellect as "eye of the soul"); 47.2-14; III.18.2; 26.4 and 7 (soul as the image); and 28.2.

18. On the autexousion and its rooting in the image of God, see, e.g., I.41; 42; II.15.23 and 36; 19.1ff.; III.25.2 and 5; and 26.3; and, for comment, Doerries, Theologie 96-100.

19. For the "veil of the passions", II.2.2-3; together with I.2.2-3; 35 (Adam's loss of glory); 50.1 (the "mingling" of the soul with the passions); II.15.25; and III.26.5, together again with Doerries, Theologie 41-58, on this and related imagery.

20. See esp. S. P. Brock, "Clothing Metaphors as a Means of Theological Expression in Syriac Tradition", in M. Schmidt and C.F. Geyer, editors, Typus, Symbol, Allegorie bei den oestlichen Vaetern und ihren Paralleln in Mittelalter (Regensburg:1982) 11-38. For the donning of the luminous robes of the angelic priesthood as an image of transformation in apocalyptic literature, see M. Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (Oxford/NY:1993) 3-4 and 9-46, and C. R. A. Morray-Jones, "Transformational Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition", Journal of Jewish Studies 43 (1992) 1-31, esp. 16-21.

21. For "two ways", "two spirits", "two kingdoms", etc. language in Macarius, see I.18.4; 27.2; 33.3; 34; III.4; and 31.1 and 3. For military language, see I.20.2; 60.2; II.5.5; 11.14; 15.28 and 33; 21; 27.20-23; III.9.4; 23.5 ("holy war"); and esp. I.50.4, with its appeal to Dt.20's call to "holy war", together with R. Murray, "An Exhortation to Candidates for Ascetical Vows at Baptism in the Ancient Syrian Church", New Testament Studies 21 (1974) 59-80 on the antiquity of this appeal, going back to the texts of Qumran.

22. For the "bubbling spring" and related imagery, see I.6.3 (the spring); 25.1 (invisible wounds of soul); 36 (serpent within); 50.1 (mingling of passions with soul); II.2.2-3 (inhabitation of evil); 15.48 (inner spring of evil); 20.4; III.25.11; 26.5 (veiling of soul); and for comment, Doerries, Theologie 63-75.

23. III.26.3; and see M. Canevet, "Macaire", DSp. X:32-33.

24. See, for example, Macarius on the traditional scriptural locus for deification, 2 Pet. 1:4 ("partakers of the divine nature"), in I.1.8; 14.23; 54.5.6; II.25.5; 34.2; 39; 49.9; III.8.2; 18.1; and Doerries, Theologie 316-348. For deification in Ephrem and a comparison with the Alexandrians and Cappadocians, see S.P. Brock, The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Ephrem the Syrian (rev.ed., Kalamazoo:1992) 145-154.

25. For Christ the healer of the soul's wounds and the "hidden passions", see I.2.10; 25.1; 63.3; and II.20.4 and 6. On the importance of Christ as physician in Syrian Christian thought, see R. Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom (Cambridge:1975) 199-203.

26. For a by no means exhaustive sampling of 2 Cor. 3:7-4:6 in Macarius, see I.10.3; 28.2; 48.2; II.5.5; 25.3; III.3.2 and 28.2.

27. III.8.1.

28. See I.2.3 (on Gen.3 as at once historical and psychological); 24 (Israel's history as that of the soul); II.25.7 (the Christian and the Exodus narrative); 28.1 (the soul as Jerusalem despoiled); 42.15 (Passover and Exodus as "mysteries of the soul"); 47.2-13 (again, the soul and Israel's history); III.20.1 (the soul and resurrection); and 24 (soul as tabernacle of David).

29. See esp. II.34.1-2 for Christ as house and tabernacle and city. On the development of the post-biblical term, shekhinah, in the Targumim and early rabbis, see A. M. Goldberg, Untersuchungen ueber die Vorstellung von der Shekhinah in der fruehen rabbinischen Literatur (Berlin:1969), esp. 439-530; and, particularly for the antiquity of the expression, "glory of the Shekhinah", D. Munoz-Leon, Gloria de la Shekina en los Targumim del Penteteuco (Madrid:1977), esp. his conclusions 487-494. The term, shekinto, turns up in Christian writers in Syriac, for example in Ephrem's Paradise Hymns 2.12; 3.1, 6, and 12-13; and 10.12 (identified with the Presence enthroned at the Tree of Life and visible atop Sinai, respectively), and, over a century later, in Jacob of Serug's "On the Chariot that Ezekiel the Prophet Saw", in Mar Jacobi Sarugensis: Homiliae Selectae, ed. P. Bedjan (Paris:1908), vol. IV, 569:19-29; 570:13; and 602:20; and for the related term, yikoro (glory), see 559:13; 571:17; 576:2; 592:5; and 593:13. In each case, Ephrem and Jacob, the terms in question seem primarily identified with Christ. Macarius, I think, stands within this tradition, thus see my remarks on light and glory below.

30. See n.17 above, and my discussion of baptism in Macarius below.

31. A glance at Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon, 1323-1324, should sufice for the widespread use of this term and its relatives in Greek Christian authors.

32. On the need for trials and struggles, see for example I.2.3.7-9; 20.1-2; 62; II.3.4; 5.5; 15.28; 19.1ff (need of "violence"); III.1; 4.3; 5; and 9.1.

33. I.50.4.4.

34. Ibid. 4.6.

35. For Macarius on the equivalence of eros and agape, see II.5.5; 10.4; 15.37; and Great Letter 23; in Gregory Nyssa, e.g., Vita Moysii II.231-232 (SC 1:106-107), and for comment, J. Danielou, Platonisme et theologie mystique (Paris:1944) 201 ff., and Origen's "Prologue"to his commentary on The Song of Songs (tr. Lawson, Ancient Christian Writers 26, pp. 30-38).

36. See thus Macarius on the insatiable (akorestos) yearning (eros), love (agape), or longing (pothos) in I.21; and II.10.1-2, together with the endless appropriation of grace in II.8.6 and continual "stretching" (epekteinesthai) in Great Letter 14. It is difficult not to see in this a reaction to the notion of "satiation" with divinity traditionally ascribed to Origen, and an echo of Gregory of Nyssa's notion of epektasis. For the latter, see P. Deseille, "Epectase", D.Sp. !V:1785-788.

37. For lists or chains of vices and virtues, see I.2.1; 39; II.40.1; and Great Letter 10 and 21.

38. On the Evagrian pedagogy, see Driscoll, The "Ad Monachos" 25-44 and 361-384, and on the sources of the vocabulary through fourth century usage in monastic circles, J. Raasch, "The Monastic Concept of Purity of Heart and its Sources", Studia Monastica 8.1-2 (1966) 7-33 and 183-213, 10.1 (1968) 7-55, 11.2 (1969) 269-314, and 12.1 (1970) 7-41.

39. For the "Messalian" dossier, see M. Kmosko, Liber Graduum, in Patrologia Syriaca III (Paris:1926) clxxii-ccxciii; and for discussion of the lists of errors and evolution of the controversy, Stewart, "Working the Earth" 12-69.

40. The modern literature on Macarius as "Messalian" begins with L. Villecourt, "La date et l'origine des 'Homelies spirituelles' attribuees a Macaire", Comptes rendus du l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Paris:1920) 250-258, and reaches perhaps its most virulent expression in I. Hausherr's "L'erreur fontamentale et la logique du Messalianisme", OCP 1 (1935) 328-360, where Macarius emerges as a virtual compendium of heresies. For a more recent and balanced discussion, see V. Desprez, "Introduction", SC 275, pp.38-56.

41. On Jewish asceticism in the Second Temple era, see S.P. Fraade, "Ascetical Aspects of Ancient Judaism", in Jewish Spirituality, Vol. I: From the Bible to the Middle Ages, ed. A. Green (NY:1988) 253-288; and for the visionary element in temple worship and apocalyptic, see for example J. Levenson, "The Jerusalem Temple in Devotional and Visionary Experience", ibid. 32-64, and C.R. Rowland, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (NY:1982), esp. 9-22 and 214-247. On motivations for earliest Christian asceticism, see G. Kretschmar, "Ein Beitrag zur Frage nach dem Ursprung fruehchristlicher Askese", Z.f.Theologie u.Kirche 64 (1961) 27-67, and P. Nagel, Die Motivierung der Askese in der alten Kirche und der Ursprung des Moenchtums (Berlin:1966), esp. 20-74 on eschatological anticipation and the ascetic as pneumatophor. On the Thomas tradition, see A.F.J. Klijn, "Das Thomasevangelium und das altsyrische Christentum", Vigiliae christianae 15 (1961) 146-159; G. Quispel, "The Study of Encratism: A Historical Survey", in La Tradizione dell'Enkrateia, ed. U. Bianchi (Rome:1985) 35-81; A. De Conick, Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas (Leiden:1996); and H. Drijvers' "Introduction" to the Acts of Thomas, in New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, tr. R. McL. Wilson (rev.ed., Louisville:1992), Vol. II:322-338, esp. 327-337. On the Liber, see A. Guillaumont, "Situation et signification du 'Liber Graduum' dans la spiritualite syriaque", Orientalia Christiana Analecta 192 (Rome:1974) 311-325. For Aphrahat, see again Murray, "Exhortation", and for early Syrian Christian literature generally and the Holy Spirit, S. P. Brock, Holy Spirit in the Syrian Baptismal Tradition (Poona, India:1979) 37-69, and ibidem, Spirituality in the Syrian Tradition (Kottayam, India:1989) 60-83.

42. Staats, "Messalianerforschungen" 53.

43. Stewart, "Working" 69 and 234-240.

44. For some echoes of this controversy in Macarius, see the citations below from I.17.3 and 52.1-2, together with my discussion. Macarius also clearly takes issue against the exaggerated claims of perfection and dispassion singled out by the bishops' complaints. See his insistence that no one in this life is either perfect or secure in I.39 (conceit is the enemy); 64; II.8.5; 15.8 and 20; 17.5-6; 38.4-5; and III.7-3-4 (vs. pretended spiritual guides). See also his occasional reminders that grace can work hiddenly, i.e., with out conscious perception, in the soul, as in, e.g., I.34 and III.14.2l.

45. Great Letter 1-3, and see Staats, Epistola Magna 23-26 and 63-66.

46. See esp. III.22.1-2.

47. I.1.10.1-2.

48. I.1.10.4-5.

49. I.1.10.5

50. I offer this particularly in response to I. Hausherr's assertions, in "L'erreur fondamentale" 337-338, that Macarius simply identifies grace with the conscious -- and necessarily spectacular -- perception of grace. This not true, as also in n.44 above.

51. For the spiritual senses in Origen, see esp. his Dialogue with Heracleides, in SC 67, pp.78-102, together with K. Rahner, "Le debut d'une doctrine des cinq sens spirituels chez Origene", Revue d'ascetique et de mystique 13 (1934) 113-145, and, for a wider survey of the theme in Greek Christian literature, B. Julien-Fraigneau, Les sens spirituels et la vision de Dieu chez saint Symeon le nouveau theologien (Paris:1985). On the use of aisthesis in Macarius, see Stewart, "Working" 116-138.

52. II.8.3, in Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies 82.

53. II.8.6, Ibid. 84.

54. See, for example, his insistence that the visitation is foreign, xenon, to our nature and, by implication and occasionally specifically, not a created thing in I.18.6.2 ("foreign" and "eternal light"); 50.1 (the "uncreated [aktiston] Spirit"]; 58.2 (not a product of the intellect, a noema, but phos hypostatikon); II.4.7-8; 6.5-7 ("uncreated crowns"); 24.5-6 ("foreign to our nature"), 26.19 (the same); III.2.1 (same); 22.2 ("divine power and fire"); 25.3 ("light of the Holy Spirit"); and the Great Letter 25-27 (the activity of the Holy Spirit is "supernatural", hyper physin).

55. I.17.1.3.

56. For example, the following from the Tomos of the Holy Mountain, the hesychast manifesto written by Palamas around 1339, "If anyone maintains that the light which shone about the disciples on Mount Tabor was an apparition and a symbol of the kind that now is and now is not, but has no real being..[he].contends against the doctrine of the saints...[who] call this light ineffable, uncreated, eternal, timeless...archtypal and unchanging beauty, the glory of God, the glory of Christ, the glory of the Spirit...", from the translation by K. T. Ware, et alii, The Philokalia (London:1995), Vol.IV:422. Macarius is, in fact, one of the saints Gregory invokes by name earlier on (Ibid. 421) I shall come back to the importance of the term, "glory", in my discussion and n.59 below.

57. I.58.1-2; cf. the shorter catenae in I.17.1; 21; and 29.2

58. For appeals to Moses' encounter with the divine glory on Sinai in Ex. 34 as a type of the Christian, see I.2.3.14; II.12.14; and 47.1; for Ezekiel's chariot, see I.29.1; II.1 ff. (discussed below); and 33.2; and, for a sampling of Macarius' use of the Johannine texts, I.4.7; 18.4; 22.2; 29.1; 35; II.15.38; III.16.4 and 28.2.

59. Beyer, "Lichtlehre" 498ff; and cf. Hausherr, "Les grands courants" 121-124. "Neoplatonist" is one of those words, beloved of some scholars, which is too often used without a great deal of precision and simply attached to phenomena which the writer does not like very much. With regard to most fourth century Christian writers, it really serves more as an epithet than as a useful designation. For "glory" in Macarius, see I.2.1; 10.3; 35; 58.1; II.4.13 (identified with the "unapproachable light" of I Tim. 6:16); 12.8-9 (Adam and Moses clothed with it); 15:38 (citing Jn 17:22-24); 20.2 ("vesture of glory"); 25.3 (to be "participants of divine glory"); 47.1; III.2.1; 3.3; 16.8 ("vesture of glory"); 28.4 (to become "pure temples" with "glory in heart").

60. For kavod in the Hebrew scriptures, see M. Weinfeld, "Kavod" in The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G.J. Botterwick et alii, tr. D.E. Green (Grand Rapids:1995), Vol.VII:23-38; and, at greater length, T.D.N. Mettinger, The Dethronement of Sabaoth: Studies in the Shem and Kabod Traditions (Lund:1982) 80-123. For doxa, G. Kittel, "Doxa", Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. G. Kittel, tr. G.W. Bromily (Grand Rapids:1968), Vol. III:233-253; and for carrying on the trajectory into later Christian literature, P. Deseille, "Gloire de Dieu", D.Sp. VI:421-463. For the visionary importance of this term and these texts in Jewish and Christian thought, see the articles by Levenson and Morray-Jones cited above, n.20, as well as the articles and books by A. Segal, notably Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (Leiden:1977) 159-237, Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven:1990) esp. 9-11 and 58-64; C.C. Newman, Paul's Glory Christology (Leiden:1992); and J. Fossum, "Jewish-Christian Christology and Jewish Mysticism", VC 37 (1983) 260-287. This is merely to scrape the surface of a large and growing bibliography.

61. See N. Sed, "La Shekinta" (above, n.12) for Evagrius with regard to the glory theophany on Sinai in Ex. 24:10, and cf. the "Letter 13" of Ammonas, Patrologia Orientalis XI:612-613 for reference to Ezekiel, and "Letter 10", XI:594, citing the Ascension of Isaiah.

62. See John Cassian, Collationes X, in CSEL 13:288-308, for the Anthropomorphite debate in Egypt, together with G. Florovsky, "Theophilus of Alexandria and Apa Aphou of Pemdje", The Collected Works of Fr. Georges Florovsky (Belmont, MA:1975) IV:97-129; Augustine, De Trinitate, Books II-III (Latin in Oeuvres de S. Augustin 15 [Paris:1955] 183-321), and Epistles 147-148 (Obras de San Augustin 11 [Madrid:1972] 41-113); and, for Cyril, Cyril of Alexandria: Select Letters, ed. L.R. Wickham (Oxford:1983), esp. 140-149, 156-157, and 168-171.

63. A. Golitzin, "The Form of God and Vision of the Glory", extant at present only in Rumanian translation, as "Forma lui Dumnezeu si Vederea Slavei: Reflectii asupra Controversei Anthropomorfite din Anul 399 d. Hr.", in Hieromonah Alexander Golitzin, Mistagogia: Experienta lui Dumnezeu in Orthodoxie, tr. I. Ica (Sibiu:1998) 184-267, esp. 232-236.

64. II.1.2 (my translation).

65. On the rabbinical literature of ascent to the divine "palaces" (hekhalot), and its dating to the era of the Talmud, the pioneer of modern studies was Gershom Scholem. See esp. his Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (3rd rev. ed., Jerusalem:1973) 1-79, and Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition (2nd.ed., NY:1965). I. Gruenwald traces the continuity from apocalyptic literature in Apocalyptic and Merkavah Mysticism (Leiden:1980) and, although his and Scholem's views on continuity were subsequently challenged by P. Schaefer, "New Testament and Hekhalot Literature: The Journey into Heaven in Paul and Merkavah Mysticism", Journal of Jewish Studies 35 (1984) 19-35, and ibidem, The Hidden and Manifest God: Some Major Themes in Early Jewish Mysticism (NY:1992) which rejects "mysticism" altogether, xi-10, in which he is joined by D. Halperin's resolutely sceptical and literary approach in Faces of the Chariot:Early Jewish Responses to Ezekiel's Vision (Tuebingen:1988) esp. 1-114, Morray-Jones has recently published an impressive response, "Paradise Revisited (2 Cor. 12:1-12): The Jewish Mystical Background of Paul's Apostolate", in Harvard Theological Review 86 (1993) 177-217 and 265-292, seconded with some reservations by A. Goshen-Gottstein, "Four Entered Paradise Revisited", HTR 88 (1995) 69-133. P.J. Alexander's "Comparing Merkavah Mysticism and Gnosticism", JJR 35 (1984) 1-18, provided useful models for persuing the trajectory of apocalyptic ascent to heaven from the Second Temple era through Gnosticism, on the one hand, and simultaneous rabbinical developments leading to the hekhalot texts, on the other. For the texts themselves and critical comment, see Schaefer, Synopse zur Hekhalot Literatur (Tuebingen:1981). On their precedents in the literature of Qumran, see C. Newson, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice: A Critical Edition (Atlanta:1985), esp. 39-72, and more recently the articles by J. Baumgarten, "The Qumran Sabbath Shirot and the Rabbinic Merkabah Tradition", Revue de Qumran 13 (1988) 199-213, and D. Diamant and J. Strugnell, "The Merkabah Vision in Second Ezekiel (4Q 385 4)", RQ 14 (1990) 331-348, esp. 344-48 suggesting a wider interest in the "Chariot" than simply among the Qumran sectaries. Thus see also the studies by Rowland et alii cited above, nn.40 and 60. For striking echoes in Macarius of the imagery of the heavenly realm found often in apocalyptic and the hekhalot texts, see esp. I.33.3; II.14.4-5 (the "bright land" of divinity and "creatures of fire"); and III.13.2 where the "palaces" and "camps" of the angels in the heavens are held out as present possibilities within the soul.

66. We would have none of the OT Pseudepigrapha today were it not for Greek, Coptic, Syrian, Ethiopian, Armenian, and even Latin monks. On the continued interest in these materials, see most recently R.A. Kraft, "The Pseudepigra in Christianity", in J.C. Reeves, ed., Tracing the Threads: Studies in the Vitality of Jewish Pseudepigrapha (Atlanta:1994) 55-86. Reeves has himself written a valuable study on the impact of the visionary aspect of this literature on Mani and early Manichaeanism, Heralds of that Good Realm: Syro-Mesopotamian Gnosis and Jewish Traditions (Leiden:1996), esp. 5-30, a movement which we note was certainly active in the regions where Macarius lived and wrote.

67. From D. Brakke's translation of the Coptic version of the letter, in Brakke's Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism (Oxford:1995) 330-332.

68. See On the Chariot in Bedjan, Homiliae IV, esp. Jacob's emphatic warning that it is not for his listeners to ascend the chariot on high, "else you sin in your seeking!", in 605:16-606:6, and his insistence a little earlier that "there is no chariot either to ascend to or to seek out" (601:1), since, as he argues earlier, the merkabah is not God's secret home, but a condescension to the needs of the angels (569:16 - 572:8). For Christians, however, the Church's altar offers the same presence and a greater: they are to "hold Him fast in the hollows of their hands" Whom the cherubim carry on their backs with trembling (609:13-14). On Dionysius' focus on the altar and liturgy, see A. Golitzin, "Hierarchy vs. Anarchy? Dionysius Areopagita, Symeon New Theologian, Nicetas Stethatos and their Common Roots in Ascetical Tradition", St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 38 (1994) 131-179, esp. 142-152; and ibidem, Et Introibo 222-230.

69. Scholem, Major Trends 79.

70. Sed, "La Shekinta" 240-242, and for Macarius see above, nn.17 and 65.

71. See, for example, P.S. Alexander's translation of 3 Enoch 19-26, a later hekhalot text, in Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (NY:1985), Vol.II:275-281 for the hayyot and their "princes".

72. II.1.2.

73. For a like combination of Ezekiel and the Phaedrus, see II.2.3 and 9; and 33.2. For the Phaedrus taken straight, as it were, with the nous as charioteer, II.40.5. St. Symeon New Theologian will take up precisely this combination of Ezekiel and Plato, together with the related imagery of the Byzantine offertory hymn, the cherubikon, at the conclusion of his third Ethical Discourse. See St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses, tr. A. Golitzin (NY:1995) Vol.I:137-138 and 138, n.5.

74. See again II.8.6, and the now/then distinctions in n.16 above.

75. On the believer as "temple of God", see again n.17 above.

76. I.7.18.3. For the importance of the "bridechamber" and bridal imagery in early Syrian Christianity, see Murray, Symbols 131-142.

77. II.15.45.

78. II.44.3.

79. II.44.4

80. II.44.1 and also 2. For a like use of metaballo/metabole, see I.21.11; 26; 52.1; 63; III.18.2; 22.2; and 25.5. On the term's association with the eucharistic change from the time of Justin Martyr, see Lampe, Patristic Greek Lexicon 848 and 850.

81. See again Lampe 1302-1303.

82. I.4.7.1, and see also II.24.2; 31.1-2; and 33.1-2.

83. II.21.5; and cf. 37.8.9 and III.27.6.

84. Kmosko, PO III:285-304, ET in S. Brock, The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life (Kalamazoo:1987) 45-53, and 294 (ET:49) for the "three churches" of heaven, the visible assembly, and the heart. On this coordination of liturgy, heaven, and heart in Syrian Christian writers, see Murray, Symbols 262-276, on its presence in Macarius and the Liber; Stewart, "Working" 218-221; Golitzin, Et Introibo, 371-384; and on Macarius, Doerries, Theologie 367-434. Relatedly, see also S.P. Brock, "Fire from Heaven: From Abel's Sacrifice to the Eucharist. A Theme in Syrian Christianity", Studia Patristica XXV, 229-243 (esp.239ff.); ibidem, "Prayer of the Heart in the Syriac Tradition", Sobornost 4:2 (1982) 131-142; and ibidem, "The Priesthood of the Baptized: Some Syriac Perspectives", Sobornost/Eastern Churches Review 9 (1987) 14-22. See also V. Desprez, "Le bapteme chez le Pseudo-Macaire", Ecclesia Orans V (1988) 121-155, esp. 125-130.

85. On Ephrem's Paradise Hymns, see Brock's "Introduction" to his translation, Hymns on Paradise (NY:1990) 7-75, esp. 39-74 and the chart of parallels on p.53; and Golitzin, Et Introibo 368-371.

86. Acts of Thomas 92, ET in Schneemelcher, NT Apocrypha II:375.

87. For references in Aphrahat, see Brock, "Fire from Heaven" and "Prayer of the Heart".

88. See Philo, de somnis II:215, on the two temples of the universe and the inner man typified by the worship of the Jerusalem Temple; Clement, Stromateis VII.13.82.2-5, citing I Cor.6:19 on the "Christian gnostic" as temple paralleling the Church; and for Origen, see Comm.in Mt, PG 16:161BC, and Fragments on I Cor., cited by P. Brown, The Body and Society (Oxford/NY:1988) 175, respectively on the "true bishop" as the spiritual man and the virgin as "priest" within the temple of her heart.

89. See Ignatius, Romans 4 and 7; on Polycarp's martyrdom, the Letter of the Smyrneans 14-15, and for discussion, A. Golitzin, Et introibo 245-247. On the Jewish origins of the theology of martyrdom, W.H.C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church (Garden City, NJ:1967) 22-57.

90. See S.A. Harvey, "The Edessan Martyrs and Ascetic Tradition", V Symposium Syriacum, ed. R. Lavenant (Roma:1990) 195-206, esp. 196-201. Relatedly to this theme and n.89, the transfigured body, see also Harvey's remarkable article on Symeon Stylites, "The Sense of a Stylite: Perspectives on Symeon the Elder", VC 42 (1988) 376-394, esp. 381-386.

91. See K. Holl, Enthusiasmus und Bussgewalt beim griechischen Moenchtum: Eine Studie zum Symeon dem neuen Theologen (Leipzig:1898), which is largely devoted to this theme, together with the references in n.9 above.

92. Desprez, "Bapteme", esp. 131-154.

93. Ibid. 140-145; relatedly, see A. Guillaumont, "Les 'Arrhes de l'Esprit' dans le Livre des Degres", In Memorian Msgr. Gabriel Khouri-Sarkis (Louvain:1969) 107-113.

94. Ibid. 135-7 and145, citing Macarius, I.43, and noting parallel expressions in Gregory Nyssa, Basil the Great, and others.

95. Ibid. 153-154, and see also esp. K.T. Ware, "The Sacrament of Baptism and the Ascetic Life in the Teaching of Mark the Monk", Studia Patristica 10 (1970) 441-452.

96. I.22.1.7-8.

97. II.27.17.

98. See n.84 above for the scholarly discussion of this homiliy.

99. I.52.1.1.

100. I.52.1.3.

101. I.52.2.1.

102. I.52.2.2-8.

103. See, for example, Rev 4-5 and Heb. 12, and recall the Qumran Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice cited above, n.65. This is not, to be sure, an issue without debate. On the one hand, see P. Prigent, Apocalypse et liturgie (Neuchatel:1964) 14-68, and E. Petersen, The Angels and the Liturgy, tr. Walls (1964), and, on the other, E. Schuessler-Fiorenza, "Cultic Language in Qumran and in the New Testament", Catholic Biblical Quarterly 38 (1976) 159-177.

104. See the criticisms of Macarius in this regard summarized by Desprez, "Bapteme" 123-124, and, more generally and with application to Eastern Orthodox critics of "platonizing" the liturgy, the argument and the many references cited in P. Vassiliades, "Eucharisic and Therapeutic Spirituality", Greek Orthodox Theological Reveiw 42 (1997) 1-23.

105. On Athanasius, see again Brakke, Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism, and for Basil, Gribomont, "Monachisme au sein de l'Eglise", together with, more recently, P. Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea (Berkeley:1994), esp. 190-232.

106. See the references in n.84 above.

107. For a sketch of this trajectory, see Golitzin, Et introibo 402-413, and 219-230 for Dionysius in particular. On Maximus in this regard, see A. Louth, The Wisdom of the Byzantine Church: Evagrius of Pontus and Maximus the Confessor, ed. J. Raitt (U. of Missouri:1998) esp. 34-43; and R. Bornert, Les commentaires byzantins de la divine liturgie du VIIe au XVe siecle (Paris:1966) 83-104. For Symeon, see A. Golitzin, On the Mystical Life, Vol.III:156-173; and for Gregory of Sinai, M. Van Parys, "La liturgie du coeur chez S. Gregoire le Sinaite", Irenikon 51 (1978) 312-337 (though without reference to either Dionysius or to Symeon).

108. See A.C. Outler, "Preface", and F. Whaling, "Introduction", to the Paulist Press edition, John and Charles Wesley: Selected Writings (NY:1981) xiv-xvi and 12-13, respectively.