TABOR - Tradition and Contemporaneity in the Romanian Orthodox Church
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What could have been and what was not monk Varlaam Chiriţă?

This article presents some moments in the work of Father Archimandrite Varlaam Chiriţă, a bessarabian monk. With a promising debut as a churchman, monk Varlaam slightly falls anonymous and, on the background of Communism instauration in Bessarabia, he will be marginalized by the authorities, and finally defrocked, but he will keep a living faith throught all his life. The author recalls an interesting episode in the recent history of the relationship between the Romanian and the Russian Orthodox Churches, an episode which is based on an approach initiated by the monk Varlaam. On 1958 April 1st, Father Varlaam Chiriţă wrote a letter to patriarch Justinian, telling him that Romanians in Bessarabia are forced to pray in slavonic. Patriarch Justinian took into account the statement of the bessarabian cleric and, at the first meeting with Patriarch Alexei of Moscow, the same year, he discussed the issues raised by Archimandrite Varlaam. This intervention of the Patriarch Justinian put the Soviet authorities in turmoil and they ordered the defrocking of Archimandrite Barlaam. What could monk Barlaam become but he did not? He was not meant to answer the "great expectations" that many had for him. Neither he became a bishop nor was given to spend the second part of his life among his family, his mother, his brothers and sister, all except the father were refugees on the other side of the Prut where he could have had a comfortable church "career". Yet he did more than was expected of him and, fearlessly and without considering the consequences of his actions, he confessed his faith in Christ and belonging to his people when and where few would have had the courage to do so. Keywords: monk Varlaam Chiriţă, Bessarabia, Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Justinian, confession