September 14, 2015

Holy New Martyr Makarios the New (+ 1507)

St. Makarios the New (Feast Day - September 14)


You are Makarios and blessed is the place,
Where you died through martyrdom.

We do not know where Saint Makarios was from or who his parents were. He was a disciple of Patriarch Nephon II of Constantinople (+ 1508 - Aug. 11) and accompanied him, together with Saint Ioasaph (+ 1516 - Oct. 26), on his long and fruitful missionary journeys to Macedonia and Hungarovlachia. In 1505 they settled at Vatopaidi Monastery on Mount Athos where they lived for two years.

Having reached perfect divine love through the cultivation of the virtues and the practice of unceasing prayer, Makarios' heart became inflamed with the desire to be martyred for Christ. Patriarch Nephon understood his great desire, which was the result of God's will, so he gave him his blessing to pursue the path of martyrdom.

Makarios left Mount Athos and went to Thessaloniki where he boldly approached a crowd of Muslims and began to preach Christ and the message of salvation to them. For this the Turks beat him with sticks and stabbed him with a knife, then dragged him to prison in a pool of blood, where the next day he was sentenced to be beheaded, thus sealing his confession with his blood.

Sts. Nephon, Ioasaph and Makarios

Saint Nephon was informed of the martyrdom of Makarios through the grace of the Holy Spirit while he was at Vatopaidi Monastery. At the same hour the martyrdom took place, he told Saint Ioasaph: "Know, my child, that your brother Makarios was perfected today through martyrdom, and he goes to rejoice in the heavens, with the chorus of the Venerable Ones and Martyrs."

Saint Makarios is considered the first Athonite Neomartyr, and is celebrated on September 14th. His holy skull is kept at the Holy Skete of Saint Anna on Mount Athos.