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New Hieromartyr Macarius

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  • John Somers
    Hello everyone, I got this off the Orthodox Tradition list and thought it would be nice to post here. :-) In Christ, John HIEROMARTYR MACARIUS, BISHOP OF OREL
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11 9:32 AM
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      Hello everyone,
      I got this off the Orthodox Tradition list and thought it would be
      nice to post here. :-)
      In Christ,
      John

      HIEROMARTYR MACARIUS, BISHOP OF OREL
      Bishop Macarius, in the world Michael Gnevushev, was born in
      1858. In
      1882 he graduated from Kiev Theological Academy, and became a
      teacher. Later
      he became the Kiev diocesan missionary. In 1908, after the death of
      his wife,
      he became a hieromonk and superior of the Moscow Vysokopetrovsky
      monastery
      with the rank of archimandrite. In 1909 he became superior of the
      Novospassky
      monastery. In 1914 he was consecrated Bishop of Balakhinsk. On
      January 28,
      1917, he was made bishop of Orel and Sevsk. On May 26, 1917, he was
      retired,
      and went to live in the Spaso-Avraamiev monastery in Smolensk.
      At the beginning of 1918, Vladyka Macarius arrived in the city
      of
      Vyazma, Smolensk province, and took up residence in the ancient and
      well-organized monastery of the Holy Spirit, which was located in the
      city
      itself.
      The church began to fill up with masses of people who came to
      listen to
      his inspired sermons which they later spoke of as being incomparable
      with
      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
      the
      help of some appointed murderers. One day, while the bishop was
      officiating
      in church, the murderers gathered in the parvis, waiting for him to
      come out
      in order to fall upon him. But they started a quarrel which turned
      into a
      fight, as a result of which one of them was killed. Having been
      informed of
      the event, the bishop delivered one of his most striking sermons,
      which made
      a shattering and ineradicable impression on the worshippers.
      The Bolsheviks, having become convinced of the influence that
      the bishop
      exerted on the people of the city and its vicinity, decided to strike
      there
      and then. One evening, in the summer of 1918, a detachment of Reds
      appeared
      in the monastery and searched the quarters of the bishop and all the
      monks.
      All the bells of the twenty-four churches of Vyazma tolled the alarm,
      but in
      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
      summoned to
      the bishop for confession and communion. He reported that the bishop
      had
      bravely endured insults and tortures, the traces of which were still
      visible
      on his face and body. He wore a soldier's uniform, his hair had been
      cut off
      and his beard shaven.
      However, the Bolsheviks did not dare to murder Bishop Macarius
      in
      Vyazma, where he was too popular and highly respected. It was only
      later, in
      the autumn of 1918, that he was taken in great secrecy to Smolensk
      and shot.
      According to some statements, the bishop's daughter, dressed as
      a beggar
      woman, at great risk to her life followed her father's way of the
      Cross from
      a distance. His last minutes on earth were reported as follows. The
      doomed
      men, fourteen in number, with Vladyka Macarius among them, were taken
      to a
      deserted place on the edge of Smolensk. They were ordered to line up
      with
      their backs towards a freshly dug pit. One of the executioners
      approached
      each of the prisoners in turn and shot him through the forehead - not
      in the
      nape of the neck, as was customary. The victims fell one after the
      other to
      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
      of those
      whom the executioner was approaching, he would leave the line, come
      nearer to
      the man, bless him and say with great compassion: "Go in peace."
      And so, strong and powerful in spirit, he comforted his weaker
      brethren
      until the last of them fell into the grave.
      Then he stood alone at the edge of the grave. The stars had
      paled with
      the coming of dawn. Vladyka's fingers quickly moved across his prayer-
      rope.
      His gaze, full of faith, was directed to the heavens, and the joy and
      light
      of the Kingdom of God were probably opened to the spiritual eyes of
      the
      martyr. His lips whispered a last prayer. The executioner slowly went
      up to
      Vladyka. Suddenly he was perplexed, and his arm holding his revolver
      was
      lowered. Perhaps some inner battle was still being fought within his
      darkened
      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
      out, and
      the hierarch of God fell into his grave.
      According to one source, Bishop Macarius sang psalms on his way
      to
      execution and gave an inspiring speech during which he anathematized
      the
      Bolsheviks.
      A peasant of Smolensk province, who was suffering from
      tuberculosis,
      told the following to a nurse. Several months before, while carrying
      out his
      military service in Smolensk, he had received the order to go to a
      certain
      place somewhere outside the city together with certain of his
      comrades in
      order to shoot a criminal, an enemy of the people. Of course, they
      carried
      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
      saw that
      the "criminal" was a cleric, his heart contracted.
      The "criminal" signed himself with the sign of the cross and
      asked them
      not to cover his eyes, but only show him the place where he had to
      stand.
      They showed it him. He briskly set off there and, passing by the Red
      Army
      soldiers, suddenly stopped near the peasant, blessed him and said:
      "My son, let not your heart be troubled - do the will of him who
      sent you."
      Then, going up to the indicated place, he stopped and loudly
      declared:
      "My Father! Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
      Receive my
      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:
      he
      blessed him, but said nothing. Since then the peasant had seen him
      frequently, and the bishop always blessed him, without saying
      anything.
      "I just understood," said the peasant, "that we had killed a
      holy man.
      How otherwise could he have known that my heart contracted out of
      pity when
      he came in? And, you know, he knew it and blessed me out of pity, and
      now out
      of pity he is appearing to me and blessing me, as if to say that he
      is not
      angry. But I know that there is no forgiveness for my sin, and I will
      not see
      the light of God. I did everything they ordered me, but I am unworthy
      to live
      and I don't want to."
      The holy bishop was clearly calling the peasant to repentance.
      But
      instead he despaired of his salvation. A few months later, the
      peasant died.
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