Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Maro, Abbot

Article

A.D. 433.

Saint Maro, made choice of a solitary abode on a mountain in the diocess of Syria and near that city, where, out of a spirit of mortification, he lived for the most part in the open air. He had indeed a little hut, covered with goat skins, to shelter him from the inclemencies of the weather; but he very seldom made use of it for that purpose, even on the most urgent occasions. Finding here a heathen temple, he dedicated it to the true God, and made it his house of prayer. Being renowned for sanctity, he was raised, in 405, to the dignity of priesthood. Saint Chrysostom, who had a singular regard for him, wrote to him from Cucusus, the place of his banishment, and recommended himself to his prayers, and begged to hear from him by every opportunity.

Saint Zebinus, our saint’s master, surpassed all the solitaries of his time, with regard to assiduity in prayer. He devoted to this exercise whole days and nights, without being sensible of any weariness or fatigue: nay, his ardour for it seemed rather to increase than slacken by its continuance. He generally prayed in an erect posture; but in his old age was forced to support his body by leaning on a staff. He gave advice in very few words to those that came to see him, to gain the more time for heavenly contemplation. Saint Maro imitated his constancy in prayer: yet he not only received all visitants with great tenderness, but encouraged their stay with him; though few were willing to pass the whole night in prayer standing. God recompensed his labours with most abundant graces, and the gift of curing all distempers, both of body and mind. He prescribed admirable remedies against all vices. This drew great multitudes to him, and he erected many monasteries in Syria, and trained up holy solitaries. Theodoret, bishop of Cyr, says, that the great number of monks who peopled his diocess were the fruit of his instructions. The chief among his disciples was Saint James of Cyr, who gloried that he had received from the hands of Saint Maro his first hair-cloth.

God called Saint Maro to his Glory after a short illness, which showed, says Theodoret, the great weakness to which his body was reduced. A pious contest ensued among the neighbouring provinces about his burial. The inhabitants of a large and populous place carried off the treasure, and built to his honour a spacious church over his tomb, to which a monastery was adjoined, which seems to have been the monastery of Saint Maro in the diocess of Apamea.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Maro, Abbot”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 13 February 2013. Web. 18 September 2014. <>