There was this monk who used to do a full prostration – even on Sundays – before any visitors who had just been at his monastery and taken the Holy Eucharist. To all those who were vexed by his behaviour, he would reply:
– I prostrate before Lord Jesus Christ who is now within you. Through the Holy Eucharist, you have become a Christophorus*. If you could see the “Light of Light” (as the Creed says) that is now shining within you, you would keep away from any useless words and outer sights, lest you should “quench the Spirit”. (1 Thess. 5:19)
Victims of communist prisons were commemorated today in Sighet, Romania. Visit the Sighet Memorial, a must-see and a place of remembrance for all those interested in recent history and the useful lessons that one can derive from it.
Bellu Manor is a mid-19th century old Romanian style architecture monument, which belonged to the family of Baron Alexandru Bellu. Originally Aromanians from the Macedonian Pindus, from the town of Pella (birthplace of Alexander the Great), the family settled in Romania around 1780. Apparently, the buildings of the initial complex date back to about the same time — only perhaps a few decades later. The residence in Urlaţi was closest to the Bellus’ hearts.
In Wallachia, the Bellu family made a fortune and became related to important local families of boyars (nobles), such as the Cantacuzinos, Văcărescus, Câmpineanus, Sturdzas, and other old Romanian families. Thus Alexandru Bellu’s grandfather, who lived in the 1900s, married Irina Văcărescu; the family later concluded a matrimonial alliance with Eliza Ştirbei, daughter of Prince Barbu Ştirbei — and the examples may continue.
Born in the county of Hunedoara, Romania, Fr. Arsenie Boca (September 29, 1910 – 1989) was one of the most important Romanian monastic figures of the 20th century. Ordained as a celibate Dean by Metropolitan Nicolae Bălan in 1935, he spends three months at the Romanian Prodromu Skete in Mount Athos, and is then established at the Sâmbăta de Sus Monastery (Braşov county), and receives tonsure in 1940. In 1942, he is ordained a Priest. By 1940, he had already sparkled in Sâmbăta de Sus what one of his contemporaries would describe as: “That uplifting time when the whole of Transylvania would make its way on singing pilgrimages defying chest-deep snow, to Sâmbăta de Sus, built by Martyr Voivode Constantin Brâncoveanu.”
Besides his outstanding contribution to the translation of the Philokaly alongside another reputed theological figure, Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae, he will always be remembered for his activity as a Priest, which earned him the surname of the “guider of souls”. Persecuted by the communist regime but highly respected and loved by the faithful, he was buried at the Prislop Monastery, which is now one of the country’s most important pilgrimage places.
“Fr. Arsenie was a unique phenomenon in the history of Romanian monasticism; a figure of high monastic stature, of a kind that the Romanian Orthodox Church never had before him.” Fr. Dumitru STĂNILOAE