Macarius The Canonist


A monk-priest of the in Wadi al-Natrun (first half of the fourteenth century). Macarius is known only through his great juridical compilation. There are eleven manuscripts in this collection, but three are only eighteenth-century copies of older manuscripts, most of which are either incomplete or lost. Since Abu al-Barakat (d. 1325), author of an encyclopedia entitled Misbah al- Zulmah (Lamp of Darkness), does not speak of Macarius’ work, it is supposed that Macarius was his or perhaps was a little younger. It is known that he lived after the CYRIL III IBN LAQLAQ (1235-1243), whose canons he cites, and that the two oldest manuscripts that contain his compilation are from the years 1350 and 1352.

An enumeration of the texts that contain his collection, or at least an analysis of the two principal manuscripts, will be found in German in the work of W. Riedel (1900, pp. 121-29). There is also an analysis of one of the most complete manuscripts (National Library; Paris, 251) in G. Troupeau’s catalogue; the text is published in R.-G. Coquin’s edition of the Canons of Hippolytus (PO 31, fasc. 2, pp. 278-79 and 285-95).

Macarius’ juridical compilation has preserved several documents, among them the Arabic Didascalia, the Letter of Peter to Clement, the canons of Hippolytus, the canons of pseudo-Basil, the canons of pseudo-Gregory of Nyssa, and the canons attributed to Epiphanius.


  • Coquin, R.-G. Les Canons d’Hippolyte. In PO 31, fasc. 2, pp. 272-444. Paris, 1966.
  • Riedel, W. Die Kirchenrechtsquellen des Patriarchats Alexandrien. Leipzig, 1900; repr. Aalen, 1968.
  • Troupeau, G. des manuscrits arabes, Vol. 1; Manuscrits chrétiens, fasc. 1. Paris, 1972.