On Anti-Communist Political Prisoners Day, Bishop Varlaam of Ploiești, general secretary of the Holy Synod, revealed some of the names proposed for canonization in 2025. They are priests and monks persecuted or martyred by the communist regime.
In its February 25 meeting, the Holy Synod decided to prepare the canonization of twelve priests and monks for 2025, when the Romanian Orthodox Church celebrates 140 years of autocephaly and 100 years of patriarchal status, the Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop told Trinitas TV.
“Most of them professed their faith in Christ in the challenging times for the Church during communism,” the hierarch said March 9.
He listed three of the names proposed for canonization, which, after an evaluation by the Holy Synod, can end with the approval or rejection of the file:
- Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, who suffered in prison;
- Archimandrite Cleopas Ilie, who was chased for years by the Securitate and lived for many years in seclusion like the Holy Elders in the first centuries of monasticism;
- Archimandrite Gherasim Iscu, Abbot of Tismana Monastery, a close friend of those who effectively fought against the regime that wanted to destroy the faith in the hearts of Romanians.
“So the Church, which commemorates the anti-communist fighters at every Divine Liturgy, along with the heroes who fell in the wars that our people have fought throughout history, participates today with all its maternal love in the commemoration of those who died in prisons not only for the values of this nation but also for the values of the Gospel,” Bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti added.
“The fundamental value of this nation is the Christian faith and living in the spirit of the gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ,” he said.
“Even those who fought against communism for purely political reasons, after encountering suffering and understanding that in the mystery of the Cross resides the mystery of the Resurrection, knew the crucified and risen Christ and confessed Him with all their strength,” the hierarch also noted.
“Therefore, it is very natural to remember these fighters against an atheist, anti-Christian regime, to be made on the day of the commemoration of the Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste.”
Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop added that “there is a resemblance between those who died 1,700 years ago for Christ (at Sebaste) and the anti-communist fighters who died or suffered during the communist regime, as they also confessed Christ with an exemplary spiritual force.”
The feast day of the 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste was established by Romania’s Parliament as the Anti-Communist Political Prisoners Day. In their honor, on Tuesday, the State Secretariat for the recognition of the merits of the fighters against the communist regime and several associations of former political detainees organized a military and religious commemoration ceremony at the “Wings” monument in Bucharest.
During the ceremony, Bishop Varlaam of Ploiești laid a wreath on behalf of the Romanian Patriarchate. The event was also attended by local and central authorities and descendants of former political prisoners.