Commemorated on September 7, May 13
Makarii of Kanevsk lived in the XVII Century. This was a most terrible of
times for Orthodox Christians in western Rus'. The vital effort, made by the
monkmartyr, was an effort of defence of the Orthodox Faith under conditions of
inequitably exhaustive struggle, when it was possible only to defend the future
of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was preserved from the brusque passing of
the hurricane of the Unia, endured together with Tatar incursions.
The holy MonkMartyr
Makarii was born in 1605 in the city of Ovrucha in Volynia – into the
illustrious Tokarevsky family, reknown adherents of Orthodoxy. In the years
between 1614-1620 the saint studied at the Ovruchsk Dormition (Uspenie)
monastery, and upon the death of his parents he became a monk at this
monastery, having begun his service in the minor monastic rank of novice. In
1625 the Monk Makarii, with the blessing of the archimandrite, left the Uspensk
monastery and was sent to the Pinsk bishop, – Avramii, who assigned him to the
Pinsk Kupyatichsk monastery. In 1630 he was ordained to the dignity of
monk-deacon, and in 1632 – to the dignity of priest-monk. Fame about the
excellence of the monastic life of the priest-monk Makarii spread beyond the
bounds of the Kupyatichsk monastery, and in 1637 the brethren of the Bretsk
Simonovsk monastery turned with a request to the hegumen of the Kupyatichsk
monastery – Ilarion (Denisevich), to send them Saint Makarii to be their head.
But the Kupyatichsk hegumen also had need of the priest-monk Makarii. In 1637
the head of the Kupyatichsk monastery sent him to the Kiev metropolitan Peter
Moghila to hand over money collected by the brethren for the rebuilding of the
Kiev Sophia temple, and for the solicitation of help for the construction and
repair of damaged monastery churches. Seeing in the priest-monk Makarii a
talented son of God's Church, the metropolitan issued him an universal
certificate for the collection of offerings, and in 1638 appointed him head of
the Kamenetsk Resurrection (Voskresenie) monastery (in Grodnensk district).
Until the pillaging and seizing of the monastery by the Uniates in 1642, the
Monk Makarii guided the brethren of the Voskresensk monastery. In these harsh
times the brethren of the Kupyatichsk monastery summoned as hegumen the Monk
Makarii, who held the monastery until 1656. From 1656 through 1659 the Monk Makarii
headed the Pinsk monastery, and from 1660 in the dignity of archimandrite the
Monk Makarii guided the brethren of his original Ovruchsk Uspenie monastery.
More than ten years passed in incessant struggle with the Latino-Polish in
Ovrucha. But neither the tearing-away by the Dominicans of the farm-lands
belonging to the monastery, nor the rapacious pillaging of moveable property,
nor thrashing, – nothing was able to compel the brethren to quit the
monastery. Only in the year 1671, after the devastation of Ovrucha by the
Tatars, did the holy archimandrite Makarii leave the monastery, in which there
remained not a single monk, and he set off for spiritual deeds to the
Kievo-Pechersk Lavra. But the defenders of Orthodoxy, like the Monk Makarii,
were needed not only at Kiev, but even moreso outside of Kiev. Metropolitan
Joseph (Neliubovich-Tukal'sky) assigned Archimandrite Makarii as head of the
Kanevsk monastery. Thus, after thirty years of struggle with the Uniates, the
Monk Makarii was again on the front lines of giving battle for the Orthodox
In 1672 at the
Kanevsk monastery the son of Bogdan Khmel'nitsky, – Yuri, sought shelter. The
hetman Doroshenko, having petitioned Metropolitan Joseph for the assignment of
the Monk Makarii, repeatedly visited Kanevsk monastery and in 1675 switched to
Russian allegiance, having renounced allegiance to the Turks, evidently, not
without counsel from the Monk Makarii. In response the Turkish powers
dispatched an army to Little Russia. On 4 September 1678 the aggressors rushed
on the monastery. Saint Makarii met the enemy with cross in hand at the
entrance to the church. The Turks demanded from the monk to hand over to them
the monastery treasury. Hearing the answer of the monk, that his treasure was
in Heaven, the furious robbers hung the saint hand and foot between two posts.
After two days they beheaded the monkmartyr (+ 7 September 1678).
Witnesses to the martyr's death of Archimandrite Makarii carried his body to
the monastery church, in which for safety they were hidden. But the returning
Turks placed firewood around the church and burnt everything concealed in the
temple. When the citizens of Kanev that survived began removing the bodies of
those that perished, then only one body was found whole and as though alive –
this was the body of the MonkMartyr Makarii, attired in hairshirt, with a cross
on the breast and another cross in the hand. The holy body was buried in this
temple beneathe the altar on 8 September 1678.
The holy MonkMartyr
Makarii was a man of highly righteous and spiritual life, glorified while still
alive by miracles and the gift of perspicacity. At Kanev he healed the blind
and the dying.
In 1688, during
renovation of the temple, the grave of the monkmartyr was opened and in it was
found the undecayed body of the saint. In connection with the danger of
invasion for the Kanevsk monastery, on 13 May 1688 the holy relics were
solemnly transferred to the Pereyaslavl' regimental Resurrection church. There
also they transferred the beloved book of the monkmartyr – "Discourse of
John Chrysostom on the 14th Epistle of the holy Apostle Paul" (Kiev
edition 1621-1623) with his signature on one of the page-leafs. Under Bishop
Zakharii (Kornilovich) the relics were transferred in 1713 to a new-built
temple of the Pereyaslavl' Mikhailovsk monastery, and after its closing the
relics reposed from 4 August 1786 at the Pereyaslavl' Resurrection monastery.
In 1942 the relics
were transferred to the Trinity church in the city of Cherkassa, and from 1965
they are situated in a temple in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother
of God in that same city.
The commemoration of
the MonkMartyr Makarii is made twice: 7 September – on the day of repose, and
on 13 May – on the day of transfer of the holy relics.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.