During the persecution of the Church and its clergy, in 1923 there came to the Caucasus a holy recluse, Elder Macarius. He appeared in the territory of Vladikavkaz, in a deserted place 20 miles from a small railroad station by the name of Podgorny. He was from Central Russia but no one knows exactly where.
The territory where he chose to dwell was in the foothills of the Caucasus. In a deep forest of gorges and cliffs, he dug a cave for himself where he lived and also had a small church. The altar table was hewn out of rock and there were a number of icons. It was all very poor and yet everything necessary for Divine services was there. Elder Macarius conducted services in this church. When the local people found out about him, they began to flock to him. There they would receive confession and
Holy Communion and the elder would also provide for their other spiritual needs. The number of his visitors constantly increased; with a short time he was receiving pilgrims almost every day.
Elder Macarius was 65 years old, a genuine ascetic whom God glorified in answering his prayers and granting him the gift of clairvoyance: he would tell people their secret thoughts and deeds. The elder would always meet his visitors about two miles away from his cave and would then conduct them to his dwelling. No one forewarned him about their coming – he would discern it in his spirit. True
pilgrimages began to take place, people coming from the vicinity of Kuban and local towns. The believers found there spiritual repose and they felt that they were cared for. After all, there were almost no churches left in the entire area and people were as sheep seeking shepherds.
Father Macarius lived in seclusion until 1928. In this frightful year, the Bolsheviks decided to put an end to his church. They had known about it for some time but for some reason had never reached it. At last, they came and arrested the holy recluse. They wanted to take him away secretly, but the believers found out about his arrest and rushed to see him for the last time. As Father Macarius was walking away under guard, he blessed the people on all sides and bid them his final farewell. This holy pastor of the persecuted Catacomb Church was finally martyred in the far north.