mardi 10 mars 2015

Saint MACAIRE de JÉRUSALEM, évêque

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727–1804). Hélène de Constantinople découvre la Vraie Croix avec Macaire de Jérusalem Huile sur toile (1745 -1749), Église San Polo, Oratoire du Crucifix

Saint Macaire de Jérusalem, patriarche de Jérusalem

Patriarche de Jérusalem de 313 à sa mort, il fut un bâtisseur grâce à l'appui de l'impératrice sainte Hélène. Il fit construire les basiliques du Saint Sépulcre, du Mont des Oliviers et de Bethléem. Il combattit vigoureusement l’hérésie arienne. Il mourut en 334.

Saint Macaire de Jérusalem

Patriarche de Jérusalem ( 334)

Patriarche de Jérusalem de 313 à sa mort, il fut un bâtisseur grâce à l'appui de l'impératrice sainte Hélène. Il fit construire les basiliques du Saint Sépulcre, du Mont des Oliviers et de Bethléem.

Commémoraison de saint Macaire, évêque de Jérusalem, vers 325. À son instigation, les lieux saints furent purifiés et ornés de saintes basiliques par Constantin le Grand et sa mère, sainte Hélène.

Martyrologe romain

St. Macarius

Bishop of Jerusalem (312-34). The date of Macarius's accession to the episcopate is found in St. Jerome's version of Eusebius's "Chronicle" (ann. Abr. 2330). His death must have been before the council at Tyre, in 335, at which his successor, Maximus, was apparently one of the bishops present. Macarius was one of the bishops to whom St. Alexander of Alexandria wrote warning them against Arius (Epiphanius, "Hær.", LXIX, iv). The vigour of his opposition to the new heresy is shown by the abusive manner in which Arius speaks of him in his letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia (Theodoret, Church History I.4). He was present at the Council of Nicæa, and two conjectures as to the part he played there are worth mentioning. The first is that there was a passage of arms between him and his metropolitan, Eusebius of Cæsarea, concerning the rights of their respective sees. The seventh canon of the council—"As custom and ancient tradition show that the bishop of Ælia [Jerusalem] ought to be honoured, he shall have precedence; without prejudice, however, to the dignity which belongs to the Metropolis"—by its vagueness suggests that it was the result of a drawn battle. The second conjecture is that Macharius, together with Eustathius of Antioch, had a good deal to do with the drafting of the Creed finally adopted by the Council of Nicæa. For the grounds of this conjecture (expressions in the Creed recalling those of Jerusalem and Antioch) the reader may consult Hort, "Two Dissertations", etc., 58 sqq.; Harnack, "Dogmengesch.", II (3rd edition), 231; Kattenbusch, "Das Apost. Symbol." (See index in vol. II.)

From conjectures we may turn to fiction. In the "History of the Council of Nicæa" attributed to Gelasius of Cyzicus there are a number of imaginary disputations between Fathers of the Council and philosophers in the pay of Arius. In one of these disputes where Macarius is spokesman for the bishops he defends the Descent into Hell. This, in view of the question whether the Descent into Hell was found in the Jerusalem Creed, is interesting, especially as in other respects Macarius's language is made conformable to that Creed (cf Hahn, "Symbole", 133). Macarius's name appears first among those of the bishops of Palestine who subscribed to the Council of Nicæa; that of Eusebius comes fifth. St. Athanasius, in his encyclical letter to the bishops of Egypt and Libya, places the name of Macarius (who had been long dead at that time) among those of bishops renowned for their orthodoxy. Sozomen (Church History II.20) narrates that Macarius appointed Maximus, who afterwards succeeded him, Bishop of Lydia, and that the appointment did not take effect because the poeple of Jerusalem refused to part with Maximus. He also gives another version of the story, to the effect that Macarius himself changed his mind, fearing that, if Maximus was out of the way, an unorthodox bishop would be appointed to succeed him (Macarius). Tillemont (Mém. Ecclés., VI, 741) discredits this story (1) because Macarius by so acting would have contravened the seventh canon of Nicæa; (2) because Aëtius, who at the time of the council was Bishop of Lydda, was certainly alive in 331, and very probably in 349. Of course, if Aëtius outlived Macarius, the story breaks down; but if he died shortly after 331, it seems plausible enough. The fact that Macarius was then nearing his end would explain the reluctance, whether on his part or that of his flock, to be deprived of Maximus. Tillemont's first objection carries no weight. The seventh canon was too vague to secure from an orthodox bishop like Macarius very strict views as to the metropolitan rights of a Semi-Arian like Eusebius. St. Theophanes (d. 818) in his "Chronography" makes Constantine, at the end of the Council of Nicæa, order Macarius to search for the sites of the Resurrection and the Passion, and the True Cross. It is likely enough that this is what happened, for excavations were begun very soon after the council, and, it would seem under the superintendence of Macarius. The huge mound and stonework with the temple of Venus on the top, which in the time of Hadrian had been piled up over the Holy Sepulchre, were demolished, and "when the original surface of the ground appeared, forthwith, contrary to all expectation, the hallowed monument of our Saviour's Resurrection was discovered" (Eusebius, Vit. Const., III, 28). On hearing the news Constantine wrote to Macarius giving lavish orders for the erection of a church on the site (Eusebius, Ib., III, 30; Theodoret, Church History I.16). Later on, he wrote another letter "To Macarius and the rest of the Bishops of Palestine" ordering a church to be built at Mambre, which also had been defiled by a pagan shrine. Eusebius, though he gives the superscription as above, speaks of this letter as "addressed to me", thinking, perhaps of his metropolitan dignity (Vit. Const., III, 51-53). Churches were also built on the sites of the Nativity and Ascension


(For the story of the finding of the True Cross see CROSS AND CRUCIFIX I, 4.)

Acta SS., 10 March; VENABLES in Dict. Christ. Biog., s.v.

Bacchus, Francis Joseph. "St. Macarius." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 9 Mar. 2017 <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by WGKofron.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.


Macarius of Jerusalem B (RM)

Died c. 335. Saint Macarius was named bishop of Jerusalem in 314. He fought the Arian heresy and was one of the signers of the decrees of the Council of Nicaea. According to legend, he was with Saint Helena when she found three crosses and was the one who suggested that a seriously ill woman be touched with each of the crosses; when one of them instantly cured her, it was proclaimed the True Cross. He was commissioned by Constantine to build a church over Christ's sepulcher and supervised the building of the basilica that was consecrated on September 13, 335.
He died soon thereafter (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).


Saint Macarius of Jerusalem

Also known as
  • Macario

Bishop of Jerusalem in 314. Fought Arianism. Participated in and signed the documents of the Council of Nicaea, and helped formulate the Nicene Creed. When Saint Helena discovered a collection of crosses, one of which was the True Cross, Macarius suggested identifying the real one by touching them to a seriously ill woman, and seeing which one cured her. Supervised the construction of the church of the Holy Sepulcher.

  • 335 of natural causes

San Macario di Gerusalemme Vescovo

Vescovo di Gerusalemme dal 313 al 334

Conosciamo Macario soltanto come vescovo di Gerusalemme. Ma al suo tempo Gerusalemme non c'è più. Già nell'anno 70 il Tempio era stato distrutto. Nel 135, poi, la città stessa è stata rasa al suolo: sulle sue rovine è sorta Aelia Capitolina, col suo Campidoglio costruito sul luogo della sepoltura di Gesù. Macario vive come vescovo un momento importantissimo. La "pace costantiniana" si estende a tutto l'Impero. Macario ottiene dal sovrano il consenso per abbattere il Campidoglio, e così fa tornare alla luce l'area del Calvario e del Sepolcro. Macario, inoltre, si oppone alla dottrina ariana, e interviene poi nel maggio del 325 al Concilio celebrato a Nicea. Si ritiene che il vescovo Macario sia stato uno degli autori del Simbolo niceno, ossia del Credo che ancora oggi pronunciamo. (Avvenire)

Etimologia: Macario = felice, beato, dal greco

Emblema: Bastone pastorale

Martirologio Romano: Nello stesso giorno, commemorazione di san Macario, vescovo di Gerusalemme, per esortazione del quale i luoghi santi furono riportati alla luce da Costantino il Grande e da sua madre sant’Elena e nobilitati con la costruzione di sacre basiliche.

Il suo nome, Macario, significa “felice”, “beato”. Ma ci sono ignote la sua famiglia, il luogo di origine e buona parte della sua vita. Lo conosciamo soltanto come vescovo di Gerusalemme, la città che è santa per gli Ebrei come luogo dell’unico Tempio innalzato all’unico Dio, e per i cristiani, come luogo della crocifissione e della risurrezione di Gesù Cristo. Ma, all’epoca di Macario, Gerusalemme non c’è più. Già nell’anno 70, dopo aver schiacciato un’insurrezione antiromana, il futuro imperatore Tito aveva distrutto il Tempio. Nel 135, poi, dopo un’altra rivolta al tempo dell’imperatore Adriano, la città stessa è stata rasa al suolo, perdendo anche il nome: sulle sue rovine è sorta infatti una colonia romana chiamata Aelia Capitolina, col suo Campidoglio costruito sul luogo della sepoltura di Gesù. 

Macario vive come vescovo un momento importantissimo. Dopo l’ultima persecuzione anticristiana, ordinata e poi disdetta dall’imperatore Galerio (anni 305-311), i suoi successori, Costantino e Licinio, danno ai cristiani piena libertà di praticare la loro fede, di celebrare il culto, di costruire chiese. 

È la “pace costantiniana” estesa a tutto l’Impero, e dunque anche a Gerusalemme, dove Macario si mette al lavoro; ottiene dal sovrano il consenso per abbattere il Campidoglio, e così fa tornare alla luce l’area del Calvario e del Sepolcro. Su di essa sorgerà più tardi la basilica grandiosa della Risurrezione. Qui verrà in pellegrinaggio anche Elena, la vecchia madre di Costantino, prima di una serie infinita di pellegrini. 

Negli stessi anni c’è nel mondo cristiano un’aspra divisione, provocata dalla dottrina del prete libico Ario, sulla natura di Gesù Cristo. Macario, da Gerusalemme, si oppone subito alla dottrina ariana, e interviene poi nel maggio del 325 al Concilio celebrato a Nicea (presso Costantinopoli), dove viene confermata la dottrina tradizionale. 

Si ritiene anzi che il vescovo Macario sia stato uno degli autori del “Simbolo niceno”, ossia del Credo che ancora oggi pronunciamo nella Messa, professando la fede "in un solo Dio, Padre Onnipotente" e "in un solo Signore, Gesù Cristo...
Dio vero da Dio vero".

Domenico Agasso