Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow
Macarius (1482 – January 12, 1563) was a notable Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n cleric, writer, and iconographer who served as the Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia from 1542 until 1563.

Early life and work on the Menaion

Macarius was born in the region around Moscow. His parents names (at least his mother's monastic names) are known because he dedicates the Great Menaion
The Menaion refers to the annual fixed cycle of services in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches. Commemorations in the Menaion are tied to the day of the calendar year.-Service books:...

to them. His secular name is thought to have been Mikhail.

In the late 15th century, Macarius became a monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 at the St. Paphnutius
The Greek name Paphnutius takes its origin in Egyptian pa-ph-nuti The Greek name Paphnutius (Παφνούτιος) takes its origin in Egyptian pa-ph-nuti The Greek name Paphnutius (Παφνούτιος) takes its origin in Egyptian pa-ph-nuti ("the [man] of God" or "that who belongs to God"; see: the Coptic name...

 Monastery in Borovsk
Borovsk is a town and the administrative center of Borovsky District of Kaluga Oblast, Russia, located just south from the oblast's border with Moscow Oblast. It is situated on the Protva River, about southwest of Moscow.Population: 12,000 ....

, where he would serve as a reader, subdeacon
-Subdeacons in the Orthodox Church:A subdeacon or hypodeacon is the highest of the minor orders of clergy in the Orthodox Church. This order is higher than the reader and lower than the deacon.-Canonical Discipline:...

, deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

, and priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

. It was here that Macarius mastered the art of iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

. He is also known to have been a firm supporter of Joseph Volotsky
Joseph Volotsky
Joseph Volotsky — also known as Joseph of Volotsk or Joseph of Volokolamsk ; secular name Ivan Sanin — was a prominent caesaropapist ideologist of the Russian Orthodox Church who led the party defending monastic landownership.He is a saint ; his memory is celebrated on 9 September and 18...

 and his disciples.

In 1523, Metropolitan Daniel
Daniel, Metropolitan of Moscow
Daniel was Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia in 1522–1539 and representative of the belligerent ecclesiastic circles interested in alliance with the princely authority....

 raised Macarius to the rank of archmandrite of a monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 in Mozhaisk. It was there that Macarius became acquainted with the Grand Prince
Grand Prince
The title grand prince or great prince ranked in honour below emperor and tsar and above a sovereign prince .Grand duke is the usual and established, though not literal, translation of these terms in English and Romance languages, which do not normally use separate words for a "prince" who reigns...

 of Moscow, Vasili III. He was one of a few clerics who supported Vasili III's divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

 from the barren Solomonia Saburova
Solomonia Saburova
Saint Solomonia Yuryevna Saburova was the first wife of Grand Prince Vasili III of Muscovy. She was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Sofia of Suzdal....

 and blessed his second marriage with Elena Glinskaya
Elena Glinskaya
Elena Vasilyevna Glinskaya April 1538, Moscow) was the second wife of Grand Prince Vasili III and regent of Russia for 5 years .- Background :...


In 1526, Macarius was appointed Archbishop of Novgorod
Archbishop of Novgorod
The Archbishop of Novgorod is the head of the eparchy of Novgorod the Great and is one of the oldest offices in the Russian Orthodox Church. The archbishops have, in fact, been among the most important figures in medieval Russian history and culture and their successors continued to play...

, where he conducted pro-Muscovite policies. In 1533 and again in 1535, he sent the monk Il'ia and others on missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 work among the Finno-Ugric peoples
Finno-Ugric peoples
The Finno-Ugric peoples are any of several peoples of Europe who speak languages of the proposed Finno-Ugric language family, such as the Finns, Estonians, Mordvins, and Hungarians...

 along the Neva, Lakes Ladoga and Onega, and up into the Kola Peninsula. (His successor in Novgorod, Feodosii, send missionaries to the same region a decade later.) In 1541, Macarius and his companions finished work on the first edition of their great work, the Great Menaion Reader
Great Menaion Reader
The Great Menaion Reader is a collection of biblical books with interpretations of exordiums, patericons, translated or original hagiographies of Russian saints, works of church fathers, and Russian ecclesiastical writers. Also, the Great Menaion Reader includes the so called kormchiye knigi ,...

 (Velikie Minei-Chetii in Russian). This compilation of lives of the Russian saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s comprised 12 volumes arranged on monthly basis. He is also credited with beginning the Stepennaia Kniga (The Book of Degrees of Royal Genealogy) which traced Ivan the Terrible's lineage back to a fictitious brother of Caesar Augustus named Prus. He is also said to have painted the icons in the little iconostasis of the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in Novgorod
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod
The Cathedral of St. Sophia in the Kremlin in Veliky Novgorod is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Novgorod and the mother church of the Novgorodian Eparchy.-History:...


Metropolitan of Russia

Having secured the support of powerful Prince Andrey Shuisky, Macarius was elected Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia on March 16, 1542. During Ivan IV's nonage and Shuisky
The Princes Shuisky were a Rurikid family of boyars descending from Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich of Vladimir-Suzdal and Prince Andrey Yaroslavich, brother to Alexander Nevsky. Their name is derived from the town of Shuya, of which they gained ownership in 1403. The family briefly reached the...

s' regency
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

, Macarius's relations with the Boyar Duma gradually worsened due to his constant "grief" over the disgrace of courtiers and church dignitaries. His independent-mindedness induced a number of attempts to dislodge him. In the summer of 1544, Macarius escaped a sure death in the fire raging in the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

. Three years later, he took part in removing Ivan's maternal relatives, the Glinskys, from the Russian government.

Upon becoming one of the closest advisers of Ivan the Terrible, Macarius arranged his coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 on January 16, 1547. That same year, he blessed the tsar's marriage with Anastasia Zakharyina-Yuriyeva. Macarius was an active participant at the zemsky sobor
Zemsky Sobor
The zemsky sobor was the first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The term roughly means assembly of the land. It could be summoned either by tsar, or patriarch, or the Boyar Duma...

s of 1547, 1549, and 1550, advocating conciliation between the opposing boyar groups.

During the synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

 of 1549, Macarius achieved the excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 of Maximus the Greek
Maximus the Greek
Maximus the Greek, also known as Maximos the Greek or Maksim Grek , was a Greek monk, publicist, writer, scholar, humanist, and translator active in Russia...

's associate Isaac Sobaka (archmandrite of Chudov Monastery
Chudov Monastery
The Chudov Monastery was founded in the Moscow Kremlin in 1358 by Metropolitan Alexius of Moscow. The monastery was dedicated to the miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae...

). Curiously enough, Macarius would later correspond with the exiled Maximus the Greek and include some of his essays in his the Great Menaion Reader, rejecting, however, his appeals for pardon. During Stoglav and other such synods (traditionally known as Macarius's synods in Russian historiography), Macarius carried out canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 of 39 all-Russian saints. In 1551, Macarius (together with the tsar) convened the so called Stoglavi Sobor. He also blessed the Russian army before its departure to Kazan
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

 in 1552.

During his Kazan campaign in 1552, Ivan the Terrible left Macarius in Moscow to "protect the tsardom", which made him a temporary head of state. In 1552 and 1554, Macarius completed the second and third editions of the Grand Menaion. During the church councils in 1553-1555, Macarius supported the accusations of heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, aimed at a boyar son Matvei Bashkin
Matvei Bashkin
Matvei Bashkin was a Russian boyar's son in the time of Ivan the Terrible charged with heresy for denial of the doctrine of the Trinity along with abbot Artemy the former abbot of Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery. In 1553 he organised a circle of gentry in Moscow and began to teach against the...

, starets
A starets is an elder of a Russian Orthodox monastery who functions as venerated adviser and teacher. Elders or spiritual fathers are charismatic spiritual leaders whose wisdom stems from God as obtained from ascetic experience...

 Artemiy, and monk Feodosiy Kosoy. However, he took the side of Silvester
Silvester is used in some countries as a name for New Year's Eve, including Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Slovenia.The origin of the name is Saint Sylvester's Day in the Roman Catholic Church, named...

, a monk at the Annunciation Cathedral
Annunciation Cathedral
Annunciation Cathedral can refer to:*Greece**Annunciation Cathedral, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens*Ireland**The Cathedral Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ballaghaderreen Cathedral*Russia**Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow...

 in the Moscow Kremlin, who had been accused by diak Ivan Viskovatyi
Ivan Mikhailovich Viskovatyi
Ivan Mikhailovich Viskovatiy was a Russian diplomat and head of the Posolsky Prikaz ....

 in uncanonical wall-painting of the above-mentioned cathedral.

When the tsar was away from Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Macarius was in charge of diplomatic negotiations and dispatching messengers abroad with different deed
A deed is any legal instrument in writing which passes, or affirms or confirms something which passes, an interest, right, or property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions sealed...

s. The painting of the Saint Basil's Cathedral
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat , popularly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral , is a Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the...

 and Kremlin's Golden Chamber was carried out with his assistance. He also took part in compiling the Chronicle of the Beginning of Tsardom of Tsar and Grand Prince Ivan Vasiliyevich, i.e., an official chronicle
Generally a chronicle is a historical account of facts and events ranged in chronological order, as in a time line. Typically, equal weight is given for historically important events and local events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred, seen from the perspective of the...

 of Ivan the Terrible's reign and the Regal Book, an illuminated manuscript
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

 about Ivan's reign and policies.

Later years

In his declining years, Macarius moved away from the affairs of the state. He supervised the creation of the Stepennaya kniga (or the Book of Generations), supported Ivan Fyodorov
Ivan Fyodorov (printer)
Ivan Fyodorov or Fedorovič , was one of the fathers of Eastern Slavonic printing...

's book-printing, and renovated icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

s. Metropolitan Macarius died on January 12 of 1563 and was buried in the Cathedral of the Dormition
Cathedral of the Dormition
The Cathedral of the Dormition is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos. It is located on the north side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia, where a narrow alley separates the north from the Patriarch's Palace with the Twelve Apostles Church....

 of the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

. After his death, they wrote his life and A Tale of the Last Days of Metropolitan Macarius. Macarius was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

in 1988 (he, however, is found in lists of saints dating back to the 18th century). His icon hangs in a niche over the archway of the entrance to the Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents in Moscow.
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