Elders Dionisie Ignat and Petroniu Tănase’s canonization was debated last week by the Synod (Assembly of Bishops) of the Metropolis of Muntenia and Dobruja. Another canonization request was revealed at the conclusion of the meeting: Wallachia’s Metropolitan Neophyte of Crete (1690-1753).
“He 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 noted about Metropolitan Neophyte of Crete.
“He shared many characteristics with Saint Anthimos the Iberian,” the Patriarch said during the Metropolitan Synod’s working session on September 28. “He was one of the most industrious and vigorous hierarchs of Wallachia,” the Patriarch added.
The Metropolitan Synod members were given a copy of the book on the life and work of Wallachia’s Metropolitan Neophyte of Crete that was authored by Archim. Nectarie Șofelea, exarch of the monasteries of the Archdiocese of Bucharest.
Metropolitan Neophyte, who was 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. He was elected as Metropolitan Stephen II of Wallachia’s successor through transfer to the see of the Metropolis of Wallachia.
Despite being Greek, he proved to be a very effective hierarch for Romanians: he participated in the 1746 movement to end peasant servitude (“rumânie”); he denounced a Phanariot prince’s misdeeds; he increased the Metropolis’s revenues; he decided and imposed the abolition of Roma slavery from monasteries and metropolitan estates; he clashed with the Romanian boyars; he oversaw the nation’s educational system.
He built and endowed the Metropolis library; he printed all the service books—aside from the Menaia—as well as educational materials and opened a school in Pătroaia, Dâmbovița County, which was funded by the Metropolis, where children studied for free (1746-1774).
He reposed in the Lord in Bucharest on June 16, 1753.
Photography courtesy of the Basilica.ro Files