Gerontissa Macrina (1921-1994)


The life of Gerontissa Macrina is one marked by the vibrant experience of God’s grace which permeated through daily encounters with her fellow person.

Born in 1921 in Asia Minor, Macrina came to Greece with her parents in the 1922 Exchange of Population, growing up in the city of Volos. At age nine Macrina was an orphan left to fend for herself and her four-year old brother. During the war she endured particular hardship, almost starving to death several times and becoming ill with pleurisy from which she was miraculously cured by the Mother of God. As a young girl, she enjoyed reading the Scriptures, the lives of the Saints and the writings of the Church Fathers.

In her late thirties, Macrina, together with a group of young women, founded the Holy Monastery of Panagia Odigitria (Directress) in Volos through the blessing of their spiritual father Elder Joseph the Hesychast.

During her life Macrina was highly respected by several modern-day ascetics and Saints of our Church including St Paisios the Hagiorite, St Porphyrios of Kapsokalyvia, Elder Iakovos Tsalikis and Elder Ephraim of Arizona. In her first meeting with St Paisios, upon making a full prostration before him, the Elder responded by making a full prostration before her and would not rise until she had risen first. St Ephraim wrote: ‘She had a wondrous purity of mind. I have never seen such pure thoughts in any other person’.

In 2013, the monastery of Panagia Odigitria published a book ‘Λόγια Καρδίας’ (Words from the Heart) on the life and teachings of Gerontissa Macrina. In it she emphasises the need for patience, obedience to one’s spiritual father, to pray for those who hate us, and not to judge others:

‘Let’s be very watchful concerning passing judgement!… Even if we don’t have virtues, Christ will save us, He will take us into Paradise if we abstain from judging.’

Gerontissa Macrina reposed on May 22nd 1994, a true witness to the calling we all have – to become holy.


Source: Lychnos August / September 2017