Macarius, Archbishop And Hieromartyr Of Dnepropetrovsk And Those With Him

Archbishop Macarius (Karmazinov) was born on September 1, 1875 in the town of Medzhibozh, Vinnitsa province (according to another source, in the village of Zagoryany, Ushitsky uyezd, Podolsk province). He was originally an army priest, who was raised to the rank of protopriest before being tonsured into the mantia with the name Macarius. In 1922 he was consecrated Bishop of Uman, a vicariate of the Kiev diocese, where he remained until 1924. From 1923 he was under investigation, and from 1924 to 1925 he was temporarily in charge of the Kiev diocese. From 1925 to 1928 he was Bishop of Dnepropetrovsk. According to another source, he became Bishop of Ekaterinoslav in 1925, was arrested in 1926, and was Bishop of Dnepropetrovsk from 1927 to 1928.

Vladyka Macarius came to be in charge of the Kiev diocese after the arrest of Metropolitan Michael. During this period he tried to organize a secret Church, and together with Bishop Parthenius of Ananiev secretly consecrated Bishops Sergius (Kuminsky), Athanasius (Molchanovsky) and Theodore (Vyshgorodsky) - although according to another source, the first two of these bishops were consecrated at an earlier date. They were to continue to serve as priests, and only to serve as secret bishops when that became necessary - and Archbishop Macarius had no doubt that it would become necessary. However, he was denounced and forced to reveal the secret.

According to one source, Archbishop Macarius was in prison in Kiev twice in 1924-25, and from December, 1925 to March, 1927 he was in Kharkov without right of leaving the city. In 1927 he was condemned according to article 66 of the criminal code and sentenced to three years in exile. From March, 1927 he was in exile in Gornoshersk region, Tomsk province.

Before the return of Metropolitan Michael (who was a sergianist), Archbishop Macarius was arrested for the third time and then he was ordered to leave.

In November, 1933 Archbishop Macarius moved to the village of Selishchi near Kostroma. There he celebrated secret services with the professor of history Serebryankovsky as reader. The services were also attended by Raisa Alexandrovna Rzhevskaya and Olga Lyudvigovskaya Rzhevskaya.

On September 30, 1934, Vladyka was travelling by train to Moscow when he was arrested. The next day he was accused of counter-revolutionary activity and propaganda, and was imprisoned in the arrest house Ardom. The details of his investigation are known to us from the files of the NKVD - although we cannot be sure that some of the confessions were not invented by his interrogators.

In answer to a question about Soviet power Vladyka replied: "I am hostile to Soviet power. This attitude was elicited by the fact that Soviet power is by its essence an atheist, God-fighting power which is building Socialism, which bears within itself the growth of unbelief in God and in the end - the complete annihilation of religion. I do not recognize Metropolitan Sergius as head of the Russian Church because of his indecisive politics in relation to Soviet power and the incorrect interview he gave in 1930 to foreign correspondents. I find that Soviet power does not carry out the law on the separation of the Church from the state, it fights with religion by means of purely administrative [i.e. extra-legal] measures. I affirm that there is no freedom of confession of faith in the Soviet Union, that the clergy are arrested and exiled for supporting religion, and that churches are closed, not in accordance with the will of believers, as is sometimes indicated in decrees for the sake of form, but against their will."

"... I condemn the existing church tendencies (renovationists-sergianists) because they recognize Soviet power, and there are also canonical differences between us and them. As a follower of the True Orthodox Church I have waged and will wage war with these tendencies. For a whole series of years I, together with other hierarchs, have been an ideologue of the True Orthodox Church. In 1934, through the priest [Nicholas] Piskanovsky, who was serving a term of exile in Archangelsk, I received a written order from Archbishop Seraphim (Samoilovich) of Uglich. In this order Seraphim, in spite of the fact that he is in exile, sees himself as the deputy of the patriarchal locum tenens and offered that I undertake the leadership of dioceses. Similar epistles were sent to metropolitans and bishops who stand on the platform of the True Orthodox Church... He suggested that I accept the Dnepropetrovsk diocese, which I administered before my arrest in 1927. Later, that is, soon after the arrest of Seraphim (Samoilovich), Piskanovsky offered that I take on the leadership of the Vyatka diocese and groups of the True Orthodox Church in the Ivanovo industrial area (IIA) [this territorial-administrative formation had been created at the end of the 1920s and included territories of the Yaroslavl, Kostroma and Vladimir provinces]."

In reply to a question concerning the programmatic-political principles of the True Orthodox Church, Archbishop Macarius listed: "1) The construction of the whole of Church life and activity on the platform of the decisions of the Local Council of 1917-18. 2) The illegal unification of the clergy, monastic and lay churchmen who are supporters of the True Orthodox Church. 3) The implanting of secret house churches on the model of ancient Christianity and the transfer to illegal service. 4) The spreading and strengthening among the broad masses of believers of the ideas of the True Orthodox Church by explaining to them the necessity for Orthodoxy, in the present critical moment, of multiplying the ranks of bearers and steadfast defenders of Christianity in the struggle with growing atheism. 5) The establishment of the principles of private property as the basis of the existence of a civilized society."

"In area IIA I chose the Kostroma region as the region which by its territorial position and the religious feelings of the population had good potential for receiving positive results from my activity. I learned about this from a personal conversation with a like-minded person, a formerly active member of the sisterhood founded by the (deceased) Archimandrite Spirydon attached to the church of the Brotherhood of Sweetest Jesus in Kiev - V. A. Andreyevna, who came to me in Vyazma from Kostroma, where she lived. Having arrived in Kostroma on November 13, 1933, and having settled in a flat found for me by the local priest and dean of the Kostroma city churches, Paul Ostrogorsky, I began by studying the most active members of the local church and attracting the most religious among them to myself, including, first of all, the priest Ostrogorsky and three nuns living as church guardians. This was the moment of the organizational formation of the group on which I depended in my activity. This group consisted of: the priest Ostrogorsky, Rzhevskaya, the nuns Rachel, Metrodora and Thaisia. Later this group increased in numbers with the addition of the former professor of history Serebryansky, who settled in Selishche in administrative exile. I trusted all these people... At the same time I entrusted Serebryansky with learning and telling me all the news of Church life and the activities of the Sergianist synod, and also of the Kostroma diocese. He did this, and at the same time he gave me for my information the printed herald of the Moscow Patriarchate, and copies of various decrees touching on the Church and the clergy, for example a copy of the government circulars 68 and 70. This gave me the opportunity not only to keep abreast of the news, but also served as material for my correspondence with like-minded members of the clergy. In reply to their complaints about the dreadful situation and the heavy taxes I gave them necessary advice..."

Nicholas Ilyich Serebryansky was born in 1872, being a native of the village of Krekshino, Novo-Rzhevsky region. In 1894 he graduated from the historical-philological faculty of Warsaw university, and in 1898 - from the historical department of the Moscow Theological Academy. Until 1916 he was a teacher of history in various secondary educational establishments in Pskov. From 1916 to November, 1919 he was a professor in the Moscow Theological Academy. From 1920 to 1921 he was a professor of Western Slavic literature. From 1922 to 1925 he was a teacher at the pedagogical technicum in Pskov. From 1925 to 1930 he was a scientific worker at the Academy of Sciences in Leningrad. On December 22, 1930 he was arrested by the OGPU in Leningrad and accused of belonging to a counter-revolutionary monarchist organization head by Professor Platonov. He was condemned to ten years on Solovki with the confiscation of his property. During his interrogation he confirmed that the group led by Archbishop Macarius had as its aim "the construction of the whole of Church life on the basis of the decisions of the Local Council of 1917, which condemned the revolution and did not recognize Soviet power."

Fr. Paul F. Ostrogorsky was educated in the Kostroma theological seminary. He was arrested by the Soviet authorities in 1923 and again in 1930 in accordance with article 58, point 10 of the criminal code, but was released. In 1924 he was arrested by the Kostroma OGPU in accordance with articles 68 and 69, but his case was closed. On October 8, 1934 he was arrested again and taken by special convoy to Ivanovo. The next day he declared during interrogation: "I consider Soviet power to be antichristian, atheist, and sent to us for our sins as a trial. I am a supporter of the kind of state structure which would support religion as a power capable of aiding national unity. This feeling and conviction of mine I do not hide and do not intend to hide." He refused to say anything about Archbishop Macarius. "I personally believe that the Orthodox Faith will never fall, since there will remain truly Orthodox people whose faith will be supported by the sermons of spiritual fathers and illegal prayer services in houses until the authorities understand that they are making a mistake with regard to the faith and the Church and recognize them and give them the position they need."

In answer to a question about his links with Metropolitan Cyril, Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich and others, Vladyka replied: "My links with the leaders of the former counter-revolutionary organization, the True Orthodox Church, and with the bishops who formed part of this organization were accomplished mainly through letters sent to encoded addresses which were communicated to me in a timely fashion. For example, I wrote to Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich in Arkhangelsk to the address of the daughter of his personal secretary Piskanovsky, to Bishop Zhevakhov [a sergianist] in Borovichi - through his landlord Sinyavin, to Bishop Damascene - through Shpakovskaya, to Bishop Parthenius in Moscow region - through his mother Bryanskikh, to Bishop Anthony in Belgorod - through his mother Pankeyeva. I also had encoded addresses for correspondence with a series of other likeminded people and followers who lived in Kharkov, Kiev and other cities.

"In the interests of concealing our activities we introduced a corresponding code into our correspondence. For example, we called the GPU "Ekaterina Ivanovna"; arrest and isolation - "he was ill", "they put him in hospital"; exile - "he went to a spa"; release from arrest or from the camps - "he recovered"; Metropolitan Cyril - "uncle Kiryusha"; Metropolitan Sergius - "Ivan Nikolayevich", etc. This gave us the opportunity of carrying out practical work in an agreed manner while remaining unnoticed.

In answer to the question what instructions and assignments he received from Cyril and Seraphim, he replied: "I was entrusted by Seraphim with gathering various kinds of information. I collected this from the replies to my questions from numerous likeminded people who wrote to me about the difficult situation of the faith and the Church, about the wretched position of the clergy, especially the Ukrainian clergy, who were saved from repressions at the hands of the Soviet authorities and from famine by fleeing. About the massive closure and destruction of churches in various cities, about the situation of the bishops and clergy freed from camps and exile, about the mood of the deportees, about the actions of Metropolitan Sergius and his subordinates. I periodically wrote about all this in letters to Piskanovsky, the secretary of Seraphim of Uglich, and to other bishops with the aim of informing the people abroad and working out our tactics, how to act...

"In the month of May, 1934 I was invited by Seraphim Samoilovich through Piskanovsky to go to Arkhangelsk for a meeting, but I decided against this trip for reasons of concealment and to avoid the collapse of the activity of the True Orthodox Church and its representatives. So I limited myself to a written communication to Seraphim to the effect that I would not betray the True Orthodox Church and would firmly carry out my work on the creation in Russia of a free True Orthodox Church. And I assured him that the trials which the Church and clergy were going through would unfailingly come to an end soon, and the Church would triumph, since the situation in our country was so tense that a small explosion would be enough for the believing people to rise up against the Soviet government. The spark for these events in the mass of believers, as I supposed, could be a war, and then "his Beatitude" Metropolitan Sergius, who was at present in power unlawfully, together with the Soviet authorities with whom he worked hand in glove, would be overthrown, and then the Orthodox Church of Christ would occupy the position that befitted her. Soon I received from Piskanovsky an order from Archbishop Seraphim concerning my acceptance of the leadership of the parishes and groups of the True Orthodox Church in Vyatka diocese and IIA.., and also a letter of instructions concerning the methods of our work which were aimed at the successful advancement of the programmatic-political aims of the True Orthodox Church - in particular, the organization of illegal house churches, secret services and the union of those who thought like us people around them.

"Right up to my arriving to live in Kostroma and afterwards, I carried on a constant correspondence with Bishop Joasaph (Zhevakhov) and Anthony (Pankeyev), who tried to prove to me the possibility and necessity, especially at the present time, of a union between the representatives of the True Orthodox Church and Metropolitan Sergius. In objecting to this and desiring to convince them of the opposite, I presented to them my reasons and my information concerning the difficult position of the Church and clergy, etc., and I linked this with the name of Metropolitan Sergius, who covered himself with the actions of Soviet power. In trying to prove to Zhevakhov that his reasoning was unsubstantiated, I wrote to him that this was not the time to think about rewards, while they were commemorated by the sufferings of thousands of clergy in exile and the camps."

"At the base of the illegal activity of the True Orthodox Church we placed the [antisergianist] declaration of 1928 signed by Metropolitan Agathangelus of Yaroslavl, the former deputy of the patriarchal locum tenens Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich, Metropolitan Joseph (Petrovykh), Bishop Barlaam, formerly of Lyubimsk... and Bishop Eugene of Rostov. In this [declaration] the indicated group of hierarchs sharply condemned the epistle of Metropolitan Sergius of 1927 and spoke against the published programme of the Church's loyalty to the Soviet government, against the condemnation and excommunication from the Church of the counter-revolutionary clergy who had departed to the camps and of the clear walling off of the Church from those who harmed her and the enemies of the Soviet people..."

On December 25, 1934 Archbishop Macarius and Fr. Paul Ostrogorsky were convicted on the basis of article 58, points 10 and 11. Two other women who supported Vladyka who were tried with him, R.A. Rzhevskaya and Segerkrants, were released for lack of evidence against them. In 1989, however, Rzhevskaya was rehabilitated together with Archbishop Macarius and Fr. Paul, which implies that she also suffered for her faith.

According to Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, in 1936 Vladyka Macarius was still living in Kostroma. At the end of that year he was arrested and disappeared without trace. According to one source, he died in Karaganda in 1937.

Another supporter of Archbishop Macarius, Deacon Paul Victorovich Kalinnikov, was interrogated in November, 1934, but nothing more is known about him. The nun Seraphima (Rozanova) settled in Selishchi in 1936, and found three True Orthodox nuns still alive: Metrodora, Thaisia and Tavrida. Nun Seraphima died at the age of 97 on the eve of the Great Fast, 1996.

(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyatejshego Tikhona, Patriarkha Moskovskogo i Vseya Rossii, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, pp. 964, 979, 992; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Novye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1957, vol. II, pp. 90-91; Russkiye Pravoslavnye Ierarkhi, Paris: YMCA Press, 1986, p. 47; Ikh Stradaniyami Ochistitsa Rus', Moscow, 1996, p. 69; Michael Khlebnikov, "O tserkovnoj situatsii v Kostrome v 20-20-ye gody", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', 49, N 5 (569), May, 1997, pp. 18-28; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997, p. 20; "Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4(8), p. 5; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogn' Muchenij i Vody Slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, p. 262)





Redeeming the Time

↑ Grab this Headline Animator





We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas