The Soul’s Journey after Death

By Elder Cleopa

Brothers, never forget that our soul is immortal. Let me tell you one thing: we are mere strangers and passers-by here on earth. Listen to what the Psalm book says: Unworthy is man on earth and a stranger, just like all his ancestors. Nobody stays in this world. We are not here to stay. Down here is a ceaseless passing-by; we come by birth and leave by death.

Divine Jove says: From my mother’s womb I have fallen into the pit. Did you hear? That is all that life on earth seemed to him after 400 years. As after having put him through all that trying time, God gave him another 140 years of life – after having tested him with so much torment and so many illnesses – and that’s all that life seemed to him: that from his mother’s womb he had jumped into a pit. Life seemed like a mere jump to him.

Don’t you know what the Holy Spirit compares us to? Man is like grass; his days are like the flowers of the field; that is how he will bloom. And again: His days pass like shadows. And again: My days have gone down like shadows and I have withered away like grass.

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Preserving Tradition

Interview with PETER RILEY

Poet, Cambridge, UK

maramures_traditie si familie_mic“If Bucharest does not consider preserving Romania’s rural tradition as a treasure of humankind, you may say good-bye to the Romanian specificity within the European Union”

After having travelled to Maramureş once, many foreigners’ lives change unawares.  They become “addicted” to the villages of Hoteni, Bogdan Vodă, Breb or Vadu Izei. Nothing is the same as before. Much more sensitive than the Romanians when faced with values that they themselves have lost forever at home, these foreigners believe that they have found “the meaning of the universe” on the Iza or the Vişeu rivers. While the Japanese, with their kamikaze spirit, buy themselves graves in the Cemetery of Săpânţa, the Americans, the French or the English go out of their way to buy “signs of life” or not miss celebrations that take place throughout the year, such as weddings, nedei [traditional festivities], and Sunday dances. More than once, due to their direct impact, traditional dances have resumed in some villages, traditional dress and customs have been preserved, old wooden houses (otherwise threatened by bad-taste, through the offensive tide of the little gypsum pillars and coloured ceramics) have been left standing. Without any exaggeration, if Maramureş is still the dreamland of a strong traditional lifestyle, this is partly due to the foreigners who love this unique area. Almost every Maramureş family is linked, by invisible threads, to one or more families abroad. When someone is born, gets married or dies in Maramureş, no one could care less in Bucharest, Timişoara or Constanţa. But they are sure to care in Paris, London or Washington. In a way, what happens in Maramureş today will happen tomorrow to the entire Romania, when it gets to be really discovered by Westerners. At least this is what a British poet and his wife, Peter and Beryl Riley, from Cambridge, believe.

“We cannot conceive spending our holidays outside Maramureş any more”

–         How has a remarkable English poet as yourself come to spend his holidays in Romania, particularly in Maramureş?

–         To us, 1993 may be considered as the year of our discovery of the Romanian music, and 1998, the year of our first visit to this country. We were in a pub one evening, in Cambridge, when strange sounds of celestial beauty resounded next to us. We immediately inquired about the magicians who were interpreting those unheard-of tunes. “Romanians from Soporu de Câmpie”, said the bartender. It was an evening unlike any others we had had. Continue reading

The Four Laws by which Christ will Judge the World

By Elder Cleopa

Pr CLEOPA_mai micI have said a few words about death. I will now say something about conscience. Whoever will guard his/her conscience clean will undoubtedly be prepared and happy when death comes. One’s conscience is the just judge that God has placed within us.

One’s conscience cannot ever be a mere reflection of matter. It is God’s voice in man and it always reprimands him when he goes astray: “Man, why did you do this or that?”

This law of one’s nature is also common among the Chinese, the Christians, or the Buddhists, Brahmans, and Mohammedans. It is the first law that God placed in man’s soul ever since He created him, based on which the world guided itself until the written Law. An non-believing lawyer asked me once:

–         Father, I just cannot come to terms with the idea of the Last Judgement!

–         Oh, why can’t you, brother? How come?

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On Adam and Life in Eden before the Fall

By St. Symeon the New Theologian

symeon_the_new_theologianGod is the creator of the world and of man. During the first five days, He made the earth and everything that is on it, as well as the sky. On the sixth day, He created man. On the seventh day, He rested after all the work that He had done (Genesis 1, 1-10).

The seven days of the world creation symbolise the ages that follow one another over time. Heaven was built on the eight day, imagining the age to come, which is not subject to the passing of time. God placed Heaven eastward, in Eden, and planted all sorts of trees there that were pleasant to the eye and good for eating (Genesis 2, 8-9). God made Adam a king over all the visible creatures living under the sky.

Adam was made of two natures: a thinking one and a sentient one; he was made of soul and body. And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground – we read in the Bible – and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2, 7). The breath of life is the phrase for the thinking, simple, immaterial soul, which is made in the image of God.

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