6. CRITOPHAGUS, or CRITHOPHAGUS. (ὁ Κριθοφάγος
.) Macedonius was a celebrated ascetic, contemporary with the earlier years of Theodoret, who was intimately acquainted with him, and has left an ample record of him in his Philotheus or Historia Religiosa
He led an ascetic life in the mountains, apparently in the neighbourhood of Antioch; and dwelt forty-five years in a deep pit (for he would not use either tent or hut). When he was growing old, he yielded to the intreaties of his friends, and built himself a hut; and was afterwards further prevailed upon to occupy a small house. He lived twenty-five years after quitting his cave, so that his ascetic life extended to seventy years; but his age at his death is not known. His habitual diet was barley, bruised and moistened with water, from which he acquired his name of Crithophagus, " the barley-eater."
He was also called, from his dwelling-place, Gouba, or Guba, a Syriac word denoting a "pit" or " well."
He was ordained priest by Flavian of Antioch, who was obliged to use artifice to induce him to leave his mountain abode; and ordained him, without his being aware of it, during the celebration of the eucharist. When informed of what had occurred, Macedonius, imagining that his ordination would oblige him to give up his solitude and his barley diet, flew into a passion ill becoming his sanctity; and after pouring out the bitterest reproaches against the patriarch and the priests, he took his walking staff, for he was now an old man, and drove them away.
He was one of the monks who resorted to Antioch, to intercede with the emperor's officers for the citizens of Antioch after the great insurrection (A. D. 387), in which they had overthrown the statues of the emperor. His admirable plea is given by Theodoret. (H. E.
5.19.) Chrysostom notices one part of the plea of Macedonius, but does not mention his name. (Ad Popul. Antiochen. de Statuis. Homil.