About Love

Excerpt from an interview with Hieromonk Savatie Baştovoi

I would also like to ask you, whilst remaining in the area of our discussion so far: what were those existential experiences that made you become a monk?

– Usually, people who have gone through atheism expect or think that one must have had some sentimental breakdown prior to going into monasticism as well as before any common conversion to Christianity. The reality is different. Usually, one assumes that he or she has had some disappointments [in love]. I have recently received a letter from a friend of mine, a poet who lives in Iaşi and with whom I used to go to the same literary club, who wrote to me: “You know, I, too, read the Holy Fathers, I like their writings; I go to church. I have also thought many times about taking the step you have – but you see, I still believe in love”. And I could not help smiling there, because… I believe in love, too; don’t I? And I believe even in the love between a man and a woman. But I have come to understand that the difference between the love poems I used to write – albeit very sincerely – and true love is like the difference between the dead Lazarus and the resurrected Lazarus. Continue reading

Advertisements

Fr. Arsenie Remembers

In the Wilderness with Fr. Cleopa – Fr. Arsenie Papacioc Remembers

Let me tell you what obedience means. This heavy rainfall came upon us once while we were in a forest with not so tall trees; the trees were not higher than a regular house. Father Cleopa was sitting in one spot, I was in another one, looking for thicker shrubs for us to take shelter under. However, Fr. Cleopa kept calling me from under the branches to come sit next to him in that particular spot. There were about 30 meters between the two of us. I kept telling him that my spot was better and saying “No!”, but upon a second thought, I said to myself: Wait a minute. Why don’t I just listen to Father Cleopa! So I just ran out from there and the instant I left it, lightning struck down that exact spot where I had been sitting a second before. I was SO impressed. Obedience is SUCH a precious thing.

***

– When we got back from the wilderness, in 1954, Patriarch Justinian shared this view that he had in our regard: to send us to all monasteries in Romania at least twice a year, to confess and provide spiritual advice to all fathers there. Yet, I told him that I felt differently, because monasteries have their own Confessor Fathers and it just wasn’t right to barge in on them, lest you should create some antagonism: “Who are these? What are they? Some desert-dwellers? Now, I wouldn’t call THOSE any sort of great saints!” and the like.

So I told our Patriarch that we should keep our own monastery, Slatina, open for everyone who would want to come and get spiritual profit. And that’s exactly how it happened.

After I was arrested in Suceava, we were taken by car to Bucharest, to be tried. The investigation lasted 90 days and was very bad. Beatings, physical aggression, they would pull my beard in all possible ways… In the end, the investigator himself got scared, too. He was a very aggressive captain. He cut my beard in half (and my beard remained just as long). And I said to him: “You will answer for that before God!” You know what he told me? “That’s alright, it’s not the beard that makes one a monk!” When he said that, I told him: “It wasn’t you who spoke, but the Holy Spirit”. Only Holy Clement of Alexandria has a commentary about the beard; he says: “The beard has much spiritual influence over one’s way of thinking”.

Excerpt from: http://www.razbointrucuvant.ro/2011/08/04/parintele-arsenie-papacioc-si-parintele-cleopa-cand-se-intalnesc-batranii-sfinti-si-se-bucura-ingereste-unul-de-altul-maica-domnului-cum-de-l-ai-adus-aici/

About the Mother of God

– We know that you have great respect for the Theotokos, Father; would you please tell us a few words about her.

– Oh, the Mother of God! I’ll tell you this: a young girl, who led a good Christian life and was very earnest in her faith, once addressed herself to the Holy Theotokos: “Holy Mother of God, please show your mother’s love towards me.” – and the Theotokos replied to her: “Show your daughter’s love towards me”. That was her answer. So be the Mother of God’s sons and you will see the results.

Consider the Mother of God’s importance. The Lady of the heavens and earth! What God can do through His power, His Mother can do through her prayer. She stands by every Christian, for anyone who needs her.

There is no prayer, no matter how small – but said from the heart, of course – that the Mother of God does not lend her ear to, that she will not bow to hear.

You see – God sits in the glory of heavens, but He will enjoy dwelling in a Christian’s heart, by descending into it. Let alone the Mother of God! – who is a created being. Have unflinching faith in the Mother of God, every one of you.

Amen.

Fr. Arsenie Papacioc

 

Fr. Arsenie Papacioc has Reposed in the Lord

One of the most important confessor fathers in Orthodoxy, Father Arsenie Papacioc (August 15, 1914 – July 19, 2011), reposed in the Lord today, July 19, 2011, aged 97. He was the spiritual father at St. Mary’s Monastery in Techirghiol (Romania). For the past 35 years, it was there that believers would find Archimandrite Arsenie Papacioc.

Fr. Arsenie had been ill for some time and died a little before noon, in his monastery cell. Theologians say that Father Arsenie was a man a peace and a pastor of joy.

“- When they descend your casket into your tomb, if you could speak at that final moment, when you enter the darkness of the tomb… I lived that moment – in a dream or whatever it was; and as I was going down, I said:

How good it is if you can leave something behind you!” – Fr. Arsenie Papacioc

Fr. Arsenie left behind him an example of wisdom that is not aggressive, which does not speak about itself, but heals and tends to wounds; a type of wisdom that comes from another world“. – Mihail Neamtu, Theologian

Fr. Arsenie Papacioc has gone to heaven, to meet with Jesus Christ, about Whom he would talk to children during the civic education classes that he taught during the communist times.

Fr. Arsenie upset the regime for having shared Christian faith to the little ones.

Followed by the Security, Fr. Arsenie hid among monks for a while. Yet he was eventually arrested and taken to Suceava and held up for investigations for 90 days, during which time he was beaten and tortured.

After heavy years of imprisonment in several communist prisons and forced labour camps, he was released and allowed to serve at St. Mary’s («Sfânta Maria») Monastery in Techirghiol, which he did, from 1976 to the present.

This pains me very much… He would fill our hearts with joy, every time… and it was like we did not feel our pains and problems, any more.”

I think he will be declared a Saint.”

He already is a Saint, before God. All we need now is to canonize him, down here.”

A humble person can make the stars move.” – Fr. Arsenie PAPACIOC

The Necklace

I remember to this day the moment I saw it around my grandmother’s neck, although I was a little kid at that time. It surprised me very much. It simply gave my grandmother an air of nobility. It was like it was casting a light upon her sun-burnt face and upon the garments that she would wear for festive occasions, taken out of the chest where she kept them. It was like she was no longer the humble peasant woman that she had been until then, but a grand lady who was getting ready to face the requirements of city life — more precisely, of a wedding that was about to happen in our family.

I followed my grandmother with my child eyes, trying to figure out how an ordinary piece of jewelry could change her so completely. Yet perhaps it wasn’t that ordinary after all. Or maybe my grandmother wasn’t. But from that day on, to me, she preserved the enchantment of that mysterious transformation, although it was a necklace that she would rarely wear, if at all.

I didn’t see her wear it later on any longer, as life carried me away from the events that my grandparents took part in, but I will always remember that wonderful ennoblement, with some of the thrill that Vermeer must have felt in his heart when he painted the “Girl with Pearl Earring”. The only jewel that my grandmother – now gone far away, in the country of the beyond – had, is now lying in a vintage box, as if peacefully waiting for its time, again. And for its Woman.

Laurentiu Dumitru

Part of a Whole

Fr. Arsenie PAPACIOC

The Christian concept of salvation is sacrifice.

The salvation of each and every one of us is on the Cross — as the Cross is the most praised thing on earth.

Which is why it was well-said that we must weep for the tragedy of the whole mankind as for our own sins.

…How, then, are we supposed to save the world? Well, by living a proper life yourself. By becoming God’s person; Christ’s person.

By knowing that one is a “branch” belonging to the same Stem, by knowing that it was for you that the Saviour spoke. So by achieving this personal fulfillment yourself, you will have contributed ENORMOUSLY (even when you do this secretly, hidden from everybody’s view, perhaps withdrawn in the wilderness or in your monk’s cell; wherever you are) to saving the whole unity – the whole humanity! Did you know that even the leaves and flowers rejoice, too?… Not only people…

So, we are part of a whole ensemble, of God’s whole Creation.

And if one fights with all one’s might to cast off passions and enrich oneself spiritually, then let me tell you this: you have contributed, alongside Christ, to the salvation of the world! Therefore, you never know if some time, somewhere, you, too haven’t been a saviour, yourself!

Afraid of Freedom

We are afraid of losing our pitiful psychological and physical comfort, hanging on to the sufferance we keep complaining about, which, if it weren’t for God’s mercy, would change into that “gnashing of teeth” that we would be left with after having rejected His gift until the end.

We are afraid of losing what we have and what we seem to be, by refusing to believe that it is precisely these riches and views that separate us from the Joy to which we are called…

Yet what a miracle that God has put pain inside us, which keeps calling out to us, is always there on our Way, and does not allow us to miss out on our becoming!

Mother Siluana

Source: http://maicasiluana.blogspot.com/2011/05/tocmai-aceste-averi-si-pareri-ne.html