The process for the canonization of Metropolitan Neophyte of Crete, who led the Church in Wallachia in the first half of the 18th century, has taken a step forward.
In a meeting at the synodal hall of the patriarchal residence on Monday, the hierarchs of the Metropolis of Muntenia and Dobruja analyzed the liturgical texts for the future saint’s services.
Chairing the meeting, Patriarch Daniel said that next year “is a proper time to include [the Metropolitan] in the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church because he was a hardworking hierarch and had a martyr’s death.”
Metropolitan Neophyte, born in 1690 on the island of Crete, immigrated to Wallachia as a hieromonk and served as a tutor for Prince Constantine Mavrocordatos’ children for a period.
In 1737, he was appointed to serve as titular metropolitan of Myra in Lycia. Then, he was elected as Metropolitan Stephen II of Wallachia’s successor through transfer to the see of the Metropolis of Wallachia.
As Patriarch Daniel said at a previous assembly of the hierarchs of the Metropolis of Muntenia, the soon-to-be Saint Neophyte the Cretan was described as “a Greek more Romanianlike than Romanians.”
He was poisoned by his own Greek physician and died as a martyr because he protected Romanians against the Phanariot tyrant Matei Ghica and resisted high taxes.
Patriarch Daniel compared Metropolitan Neophyte to the Hieromartyr Saint Anthimos the Iberian. “He was one of the most industrious and vigorous hierarchs of Wallachia,” the Patriarch noted during the Metropolitan Synod’s working session in September.
The Metropolitan Synod or the local assembly of hierarchs of the Metropolis of Muntenia and Dobruja is comprised of the bishops in the Archdioceses of Bucharest, Tomis, Targoviste, Arges and Muscel, Buzau and Vrancea, and Lower Danube, and the dioceses of Slobozia and Calarasi, Alexandria and Teleorman, Giurgiu and Tulcea. In addition, the hierarchs of the Romanian Orthodox dioceses of Hungary, Dacia Felix, and Australia also participate in this metropolitan synod.
Photography courtesy of Lumina Newspaper / Mihnea Păduraru