New Hieromartyr Macarius
- Hello everyone,
I got this off the Orthodox Tradition list and thought it would be
nice to post here. :-)
HIEROMARTYR MACARIUS, BISHOP OF OREL
Bishop Macarius, in the world Michael Gnevushev, was born in
1882 he graduated from Kiev Theological Academy, and became a
he became the Kiev diocesan missionary. In 1908, after the death of
he became a hieromonk and superior of the Moscow Vysokopetrovsky
with the rank of archimandrite. In 1909 he became superior of the
monastery. In 1914 he was consecrated Bishop of Balakhinsk. On
1917, he was made bishop of Orel and Sevsk. On May 26, 1917, he was
and went to live in the Spaso-Avraamiev monastery in Smolensk.
At the beginning of 1918, Vladyka Macarius arrived in the city
Vyazma, Smolensk province, and took up residence in the ancient and
well-organized monastery of the Holy Spirit, which was located in the
The church began to fill up with masses of people who came to
his inspired sermons which they later spoke of as being incomparable
anything they had heard before.
Of course, the local Bolsheviks could not fail to notice such an
"enemy". They began to spy on him, and tried to do away with him with
help of some appointed murderers. One day, while the bishop was
in church, the murderers gathered in the parvis, waiting for him to
in order to fall upon him. But they started a quarrel which turned
fight, as a result of which one of them was killed. Having been
the event, the bishop delivered one of his most striking sermons,
a shattering and ineradicable impression on the worshippers.
The Bolsheviks, having become convinced of the influence that
exerted on the people of the city and its vicinity, decided to strike
and then. One evening, in the summer of 1918, a detachment of Reds
in the monastery and searched the quarters of the bishop and all the
All the bells of the twenty-four churches of Vyazma tolled the alarm,
vain. The bishop was arrested and brought to the local revolutionary
committee, where he was subjected to various indignities and
beatings. He was
officially charged with having organized a White Guard rebellion.
The next day, Hieromonk D., Vladyka's cell-attendant, was
the bishop for confession and communion. He reported that the bishop
bravely endured insults and tortures, the traces of which were still
on his face and body. He wore a soldier's uniform, his hair had been
and his beard shaven.
However, the Bolsheviks did not dare to murder Bishop Macarius
Vyazma, where he was too popular and highly respected. It was only
the autumn of 1918, that he was taken in great secrecy to Smolensk
According to some statements, the bishop's daughter, dressed as
woman, at great risk to her life followed her father's way of the
a distance. His last minutes on earth were reported as follows. The
men, fourteen in number, with Vladyka Macarius among them, were taken
deserted place on the edge of Smolensk. They were ordered to line up
their backs towards a freshly dug pit. One of the executioners
each of the prisoners in turn and shot him through the forehead - not
nape of the neck, as was customary. The victims fell one after the
the bottom of the grave.
The bishop was standing at the end of the line, praying
fervently with a
prayer-rope in his hand. If he noticed a weakening in spirit of one
whom the executioner was approaching, he would leave the line, come
the man, bless him and say with great compassion: "Go in peace."
And so, strong and powerful in spirit, he comforted his weaker
until the last of them fell into the grave.
Then he stood alone at the edge of the grave. The stars had
the coming of dawn. Vladyka's fingers quickly moved across his prayer-
His gaze, full of faith, was directed to the heavens, and the joy and
of the Kingdom of God were probably opened to the spiritual eyes of
martyr. His lips whispered a last prayer. The executioner slowly went
Vladyka. Suddenly he was perplexed, and his arm holding his revolver
lowered. Perhaps some inner battle was still being fought within his
soul. But then his hand made a gesture of denial. His face lost all
expression, he clenched his teeth. His hand took aim, a shot rang
the hierarch of God fell into his grave.
According to one source, Bishop Macarius sang psalms on his way
execution and gave an inspiring speech during which he anathematized
A peasant of Smolensk province, who was suffering from
told the following to a nurse. Several months before, while carrying
military service in Smolensk, he had received the order to go to a
place somewhere outside the city together with certain of his
order to shoot a criminal, an enemy of the people. Of course, they
out the order. Soon they brought the "criminal": a priest or monk
came out of
the car, grey-haired, small in stature and frail. When the peasant
the "criminal" was a cleric, his heart contracted.
The "criminal" signed himself with the sign of the cross and
not to cover his eyes, but only show him the place where he had to
They showed it him. He briskly set off there and, passing by the Red
soldiers, suddenly stopped near the peasant, blessed him and said:
"My son, let not your heart be troubled - do the will of him who
Then, going up to the indicated place, he stopped and loudly
"My Father! Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
soul in peace." A shot rang out, and the tragedy came to an end...
Afterwards, the peasant saw the holy martyr-bishop in his sleep:
blessed him, but said nothing. Since then the peasant had seen him
frequently, and the bishop always blessed him, without saying
"I just understood," said the peasant, "that we had killed a
How otherwise could he have known that my heart contracted out of
he came in? And, you know, he knew it and blessed me out of pity, and
of pity he is appearing to me and blessing me, as if to say that he
angry. But I know that there is no forgiveness for my sin, and I will
the light of God. I did everything they ordered me, but I am unworthy
and I don't want to."
The holy bishop was clearly calling the peasant to repentance.
instead he despaired of his salvation. A few months later, the