Saint of the Day – 10 April – Saint Macarius of Ghent (Died 1012) Archbishop of Constantinople, Pilgrim and Hermit (without a cell), apostle of the sick and the needy, miracle-worker. Born in Antioch, Pisidia and died in 1012 at Monastery of Saint Bavo, Ghent, Belgium. of the plague. Patronages – against plague, Andorra, Ghent, Belgium. Also known as Macarius of Antioch, Macarius of Armenia, Macaire, Macario. The Roman Martyrology states: “St Macarius, Bishop of Antioch, celebrated for his great virtues and miracles.”
Macarius was born in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), where all indications show, that he received a healthy and normal education. He seems to have discovered his vocation to the Priesthood early on. He was then Consecrated as a Bishop and eventually succeeded to the Archbishop of Antioch, the most important and honoured episcopal see in the Byzantine Empire (this was still a few decades before the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches). Imagine how gratifying it must have been to achieve such a level of influence and to have such a great opportunity to assist in the pastoral care of the Church of Christ.
After serving his flock for a time and doing so effectively, it seems, he stepped down from the Archbishop’s throne. He simply retired. He became a pilgrim and spent the rest of his life travelling prayerfully from Shrine to Shrine and Monastery to Monastery, cring for the needs of the poor and sick and working miracles as he went. At one point he was captured by the Saracens but escaped and continued his pilgrimage.
He went west, from Byzantium into Europe. Wherever he stopped, he edified the people greatly but only because of his humility and charity. Finally, having been welcomed into a Benedictine community in Ghent, Belgium, he spent his last years in assisting the needy and sick. During a time of great suffering when the plague descended upon the area, St Macarius went out into the streets, assisting the sick and the dying and administering the Sacraments. He caught the plague and died. He was buried there, and venerated almost immediately as a saint.
Admittedly, we don’t really know too much about St Macarius but we do know that he was a holy, humble and gentle man of great charity and virtues., He had the courage to decline the honours of his position in order to give his heart more fully to what it was truly made for – God.