Venerable Macarius the Wonderworker of Kalyazin

Troparion — Tone 8
You deadened your carnal mind by abstinence and vigil. / The place watered by the sweat of your labors proclaims your admonitions like God’s trumpet. / After your repose your relics pour forth healings. / Therefore we cry to you: pray to Christ our God that our souls may be saved!
Kontakion — Tone 2
You desired the life of heaven / and delighted in abstinence, labors and sweat. / You bridled the flesh and received the grace to work wonders. / You appear as a radiant light, O righteous Father Macarius. / Therefore the Church of Christ glorifies you!

Wednesday March 30, 2022 / March 17, 2022

Fourth Week of the Great Lent: Adoration of Cross. Tone seven.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Venerable Alexis the Man of God, in Rome (411). Venerable Macarius, abbot of Kalyazin (1483). New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1919). New Hieromartyr Victor priest (1942). Venerable Parthenius of Kiev (1855). Martyr Marinus, soldier, at Caesarea in Palestine (260)

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 26:21-27:9 (6th Hour)
Genesis 9:18-10:1 (Vespers, 1st Reading)
Proverbs 12:23-13:9 (Vespers, 2nd Reading)

St John Khakuli

The Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk

Commemorated on March 17

      The Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk (in the world Matfei) was born in 1400 in the village of Gribkovo (Kozhino), near the city of Kashin, into the family of the boyar Vasilii Kozha. From youth he yearned after monasticism, but at the will of his parents he married. After a year his parents died, and after three years more reposed also his wife Elena. Having nothing that would bind him to his former life, Matfei was vowed a monk at the Nikolaev Klobukovsk monastery. Out of love for solitude he left the city monastery and together with 7 monks he found a place 18 versts from Kashin amidst two lakes near the Volga. Here the monk raised up a cross and founded a solitary wilderness monastery. The boyar Ivan Kolyaga, to whom the nearby lands belonged, began to fear that a monastery would grow up, which would begin to cultivate the wastelands. The enemy of salvation planted in the boyar such spite and enmity, that he decided to kill the saint. But suddenly a grievous illness befell him. Fear of the nearness of death awakened repentance in the boyar. The sick Kolyaga gave orders to carry him to the monk and at his feet told about his evil intent and asked forgiveness. “God forgive thee”, – answered the humble ascetic. Wishing to expiate his sin and striving to help the monk, the boyar gave away his lands to the growing monastery. The monks erected a temple in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity. The talk that spread round about of the conversion of the boyar Kolyaga brought unto the monk many, seeking salvation. It became necessary to choose an hegumen. The monk Makarii was then already no less than 53 years of age, but he considered himself unworthy of this dignity and he asked each of those older coming to him to accept being priest and hegumen. But yielding to the common will, the monk was made hegumen by the Tver’ bishop Moisei*. (* The successor of Bishop Moisei upon the cathedra was the brother by birth of the Monk Makarii – Bishop Gennadii (Kozhin) (1460-1477). Famed for sanctity was also the nephew of the Monk Makarii – the Monk Paisii of Uglich (+ 1504; Comm. on 8 January and 6 June). At the Kalyazinsk monastery was preserved an anthology of sermons of Sainted Gregory the Theologian, copied by him.).

 The new hegumen  prepared with long solitary prayer for his first service at the altar of God, and then communed all the brethren with the Holy Mysteries. In the dignity of hegumen, the monk Makarii laboured at guidance with all the brethren. Afterwards there were preserved at the monastery 2 chalices, a paten and 2 scutellae (plates – bliuda), fashioned by the monk Makarii on a lathe. He guided not only the monks, but also laypeople coming to the monastery, equally dealing with both the knowledgeable and the simple. Despite his origin and position of hegumen, the monk wore scrawny, frayed and patched clothing. In his mannerism and all his way of life the Monk Makarii was so simple, that the haughty heretic, prince-monk Vassian, sneeringly called him the “Kalyazinsk peasant”. The monk himself love more to hear mockery about himself than praise. He went often to the solitary places, so as to take delight in the desired aloneness with nature. Wild animals, sensing his gentleness, sometimes took food from him.
      The spiritual visage of the Monk Makarii was close to the spiritual visage of the Monk Paphnutii of Borovsk (+ 1 May 1477). Not by chance did the disciple of the Monk Paphnutii – the Monk Joseph of Volotsk (+ 9 September 1515) – visit the Monk Makarii in 1478 and write down his account about him: “When I arrived at this place, – said the monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk, – there came with me seven elders from the monastery of Klobukovsk. They were so excellent in virtues, fasting and monastic life, that all the brethren came to them to receive instruction and benefit. They enlightened all and taught for their benefit: they affirmed the living in the virtues, and those inclined to misconduct they restrained with censure, and neither did they connive to do their own will”. The humble hegumen was however silent about his own efforts. But they were not hid from the insight of the monk Joseph. Perceiving the holiness of the hegumen, he accounted him blessed and told about the life of the monastery: “Such piety and decorum were in that monastery, whereof everything was done in harmony with the patristic and communal traditions, that even the great starets (elder) Mitrophan Byval’tsev was amazed. He had then come from Holy Mount Athos, where he spent 9 years, and said to the brethren: “In vain and without success did I take such a path to the Holy Mountain missing the Kolyazinsk monastery. Indeed it is possible for the living to find salvation in it: here everything is done similar like in the coenobic (“koino-biotic” or communal monasteries) of the Holy Mountain”.
      From the moment when the monk Makarii settled in the wilderness, he did not take leave of his strict rule through old age. Already during his life the monk repeatedly healed the paralysed and the demon-afflicted. The monk reposed on 17 March 1483. At the time of his death they found on him heavy chains, about which no one knew. The undecayed relics of the monk Makarii were uncovered on 26 May 1521 during the digging of ditches for a new church. A Council of 1547 established his local festal celebration.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.


HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT ALEXIS THE MAN OF GOD

Alexis abandoned all that the world deems glorious,

And he embarked on the narrow but true path to God.

First, he decided to be impoverished for the sake of Christ;

After that, he hurriedly left his parents’ opulence.

When he departed to a distant land and when he returned,

Neither in splendor nor in poverty did he stumble into sin.

Like a lighted candle, he raised his mind to God,

With strong faith and prayer, of the kind that moves mountains.

His sorrowful mother, inconsolable Aglaida,

Together with his aged father Euphemianus sorrowed and sobbed;

And the bride, at one time young, faded in her grief.

One day the servants berated the beggar.

No one suspected who this withered beggar was:

He was the heir of that household!

But about this he had remained silent.

He had disowned his inheritance while in early bloom,

To be a fellow heir in the heavenly world.

But the saint was unable to hide; the Lord made him known.

Whoever glorifies God by his life, God glorifies him.

Alexis glorified God, that is why he became glorious.

In truth, he was and remains the Man of God.

REFLECTION

Why are we here on earth? To show our love for God. To learn to love God more than sin. That by our inconsequential love, we may respond to the greater love of God. Only God’s love is a great love, and our love is always inconsequential. God abundantly showed and shows His love for man both in Paradise and on earth. We are given this brief earthly life as a school and as an examination, to be examined as to whether we will respond with love to the great love of God. “Every day and every hour, proof of our love for God is required of us,” says St. Isaac the Syrian. God shows His love for us every day and every hour. Every day and every moment we stand positioned between God and sin. We have either to give our love to God and elevate ourselves among the angels or to choose sin and fall into the gloom of hades. Alexis the Man of God loved God more than he loved his parents, his wife and riches. He spent seventeen years as a beggar far away from the home of his parents, and another seventeen years as an unknown one, scorned in the house of his parents. He did this all for the sake of the love of God. And the merciful God answered love with love: for these thirty-four years of suffering He gave Alexis eternal life and joy among His angels in heaven, and glory on earth.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the Lord Jesus on Golgotha:

1. How the soldiers removed His garments, and He remained silent and did not defend Himself;

2. How they nailed Him to the wood with spikes, and He remained silent and did not defend Himself;

3. How with uproar and tumult they raised the Cross from the ground and placed it upright, and the Lord remained silent.

HOMILY

on the Second Coming of Christ

“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:27).

The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus will be an appearance in glory. Our Lord repeated this many times. Here He tells us in more detail as to what His appearance will resemble. He says it will be like lightning. Through this He reveals the five characteristics of His glorious advent.

First: His Second Coming will be unexpected, like lightning. That is why He reminded us: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour (Matthew 25:13).

Second: His Second Coming will be as bright as lightning. The sun and the stars will be darkened. The entire universe will lose its radiance when He shines forth. The sinner’s light and brightness are darkened; how much darker will the sinner be under this heavenly flame! That is why He reminded us to keep the lamps of our souls filled with oil and trimmed. O my brethren, let us not find ourselves in darkness in that terrible hour!

Third: His coming will be as powerful as lightning. For He Himself says elsewhere that He will come with great power and glory (Mark 13:26).

Fourth: His coming will be all-encompassing and known to everyone from east to west. That is, He will not appear as He did the first time–to be seen only by His disciples, or one people, or one nation, or one country, or one state–but He will appear like lightning, which all the nations and all the peoples on earth will see at once.

Fifth: Just as lightning precedes rain and hail, so shall His Second Coming precede the Dread Judgment, which will be, for the righteous and faithful, like the desired rain–and, for the unrighteous and unfaithful, like hail.

Let us make preparation, my brethren, for the clouds are gathering and the divine lightning may descend from them at any time. O Lord, great and awesome, give oil to the lamps of our souls so that we may not find ourselves in eternal darkness when Thine eternal light appears.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

SAINT ALEXIS THE MAN OF GOD

Alexis abandoned all that the world deems glorious,

And he embarked on the narrow but true path to God.

First, he decided to be impoverished for the sake of Christ;

After that, he hurriedly left his parents’ opulence.

When he departed to a distant land and when he returned,

Neither in splendor nor in poverty did he stumble into sin.

Like a lighted candle, he raised his mind to God,

With strong faith and prayer, of the kind that moves mountains.

His sorrowful mother, inconsolable Aglaida,

Together with his aged father Euphemianus sorrowed and sobbed;

And the bride, at one time young, faded in her grief.

One day the servants berated the beggar.

No one suspected who this withered beggar was:

He was the heir of that household!

But about this he had remained silent.

He had disowned his inheritance while in early bloom,

To be a fellow heir in the heavenly world.

But the saint was unable to hide; the Lord made him known.

Whoever glorifies God by his life, God glorifies him.

Alexis glorified God, that is why he became glorious.

In truth, he was and remains the Man of God.

REFLECTION

Why are we here on earth? To show our love for God. To learn to love God more than sin. That by our inconsequential love, we may respond to the greater love of God. Only God’s love is a great love, and our love is always inconsequential. God abundantly showed and shows His love for man both in Paradise and on earth. We are given this brief earthly life as a school and as an examination, to be examined as to whether we will respond with love to the great love of God. “Every day and every hour, proof of our love for God is required of us,” says St. Isaac the Syrian. God shows His love for us every day and every hour. Every day and every moment we stand positioned between God and sin. We have either to give our love to God and elevate ourselves among the angels or to choose sin and fall into the gloom of hades. Alexis the Man of God loved God more than he loved his parents, his wife and riches. He spent seventeen years as a beggar far away from the home of his parents, and another seventeen years as an unknown one, scorned in the house of his parents. He did this all for the sake of the love of God. And the merciful God answered love with love: for these thirty-four years of suffering He gave Alexis eternal life and joy among His angels in heaven, and glory on earth.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the Lord Jesus on Golgotha:

1. How the soldiers removed His garments, and He remained silent and did not defend Himself;

2. How they nailed Him to the wood with spikes, and He remained silent and did not defend Himself;

3. How with uproar and tumult they raised the Cross from the ground and placed it upright, and the Lord remained silent.

HOMILY

on the Second Coming of Christ

“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:27).

The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus will be an appearance in glory. Our Lord repeated this many times. Here He tells us in more detail as to what His appearance will resemble. He says it will be like lightning. Through this He reveals the five characteristics of His glorious advent.

First: His Second Coming will be unexpected, like lightning. That is why He reminded us: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour (Matthew 25:13).

Second: His Second Coming will be as bright as lightning. The sun and the stars will be darkened. The entire universe will lose its radiance when He shines forth. The sinner’s light and brightness are darkened; how much darker will the sinner be under this heavenly flame! That is why He reminded us to keep the lamps of our souls filled with oil and trimmed. O my brethren, let us not find ourselves in darkness in that terrible hour!

Third: His coming will be as powerful as lightning. For He Himself says elsewhere that He will come with great power and glory (Mark 13:26).

Fourth: His coming will be all-encompassing and known to everyone from east to west. That is, He will not appear as He did the first time–to be seen only by His disciples, or one people, or one nation, or one country, or one state–but He will appear like lightning, which all the nations and all the peoples on earth will see at once.

Fifth: Just as lightning precedes rain and hail, so shall His Second Coming precede the Dread Judgment, which will be, for the righteous and faithful, like the desired rain–and, for the unrighteous and unfaithful, like hail.

Let us make preparation, my brethren, for the clouds are gathering and the divine lightning may descend from them at any time. O Lord, great and awesome, give oil to the lamps of our souls so that we may not find ourselves in eternal darkness when Thine eternal light appears.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.