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In Remembrance of Schema-Archimandrite Makary (1932-2001)

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On May 26, in a Moscow hospital, and after a protracted illness, Schema-archimandrite Makary (Bolotov), a great friend who fervently prayed for our parish, departed to the Lord.

Fr. Makary came from a renowned religious family. His two great-grandmothers were monastic strugglers. One of them, Sophia, was the spiritual child of Venerable Amvrossy of Optino, and was the first Abbess of the Kaluga Monastery of Shamordino, founded by St. Amvrossy. The other, the Nun Paula, worked with the famous Archimandrite Antonin Kapoustine, director of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. Mother Paula, who was one of the first residents of, and later Abbess of, the Gornensky Monastery, is interred in the cemetery of our Monastery of the Lord’s Ascension on the Mount of Olives.

Schema-archimandrite Makary lived a life of a confessor, enduring many difficulties. He was one of the monks who, in the 1960s opposed the closing of the Pochaev Lavra, action for which he was tortured by the atheists. They kept him up to his neck in icy water for an entire day and night, they fractured his bones, and they even prepared to execute him by firing squad. The bullet ricocheted, striking the hand of the executioner and deforming his finger. Fr. Makary loved to reminisce: “The initial pain was the worst. With His grace, the Lord comforted me. And after all, what are minutes of suffering, when in return the Lord can grant me eternity!” However, the insults and trials he had to endure permanently affected his health.

Fr. Makary knew many of the strugglers after piety: the Venerable Kuksha, Lavrenty, and Schema-nun Makariya, Schema-nun Seraphima (Michurinskaya), Schema-archimandrite Prokhor (of the Kiev-Caves Lavra), Elders Seraphim (Tyapochkin) and Tavrion (Batorsky) and many others. His entire life was linked to the Elders of the Glinsk Hermitage, where he had carried out his obedience.

Fr. Makary participated in the re-establishing of Optina Hermitage and in the finding of the Holy Relics of its Elders. His family preserved many of the personal effects of Elder Amvrossy and other spiritual strugglers of Optina, effects which he turned over to the newly-reborn Monastery. In the village of Nizhniyi Pryski, near Optina, Fr. Makary established a women’s monastery that in all respects was a model of monastic life. There approximately thirty nuns read the Psalter around the clock and commemorate about 30,000 people daily. Several of the nuns had served lengthy terms of incarceration in Stalin’s camps. The nuns grow vegetables on the property of the monastery.

With contributions from friends and admirers, Fr. Makary supported not only his community in Nizhniyi Pryski, but also hundreds of elderly nuns scattered throughout Russia.

Our parish had the honor of extending its hospitality to Fr. Makary on three separate occasions. Several years ago, we afforded him the opportunity to join a group of our pilgrims in the Holy Land, and in 1994 he joined a group of the faithful from Washington at the glorification of Holy Hierarch St. John of Shanghai in San Francisco.

Schema-archimandrite Makary is buried next to his mother, Schema-abbess Maria, in the village cemetery in Nizhniyi Pryski. On July 1, following the Divine Liturgy, we will serve the Panikhida for the 40th day after Fr. Makary’s repose. After lunch, we will show a video about him in the Parish Hall. Matushka Maria Potapov will attend the Panikhida for the 40th day served at Fr. Makary’s grave, and will give to the nuns of his monastery $5,000.00 donated by members of our parish and by his admirers in San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York. We express our thanks to all who contributed.

May the Lord grant rest unto the soul of His faithful servant Schema-archimandrite Makary in the place where the righteous repose.

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