Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Romania
In 1924, Metropolitan Miron of the Church of Romania introduced the New Calendar or Gregorian Calendar for use in the Church. Although most Romanians accepted the change, the skete of the Protection of the Theotokos in northern Moldavia rejected it. In 1925, led by Hieromonk Glicherie (now glorified as Saint Glicherie of Romania, the Confessor), some of the bretheren left the skete to start an Old Calendarist group. When, in 1926 and 1929, Metropolitan Miron ordered Pascha to be celebrated according to the Gregorian Paschalion, a large number of faithful, including Russian émigrés, left the Church of Romania and joined the Old Calendarists. By 1936, the Old Calendarists numbered about 40 parishes.
Beginning in 1935, at the order of Metropolitan Miron, the Old Calendarists were under persecution. By 1940, ten Old Calendar priests had died in prison, and all of the Old Calendar churches had been shut down. St. Glicherie was imprisoned, but, at the beginning of World War II, released.
By 1950, with the release of St. Glicherie and other priests from prison, many of the churches were rebuilt. In 1955, Metropolitan Galaktion left the Church of Romania to serve the Old Calendarists, and immediately ordained new priests and deacons. However, he was soon arrested, and placed under house arrest in Bucharest. While under house arrest, Metropolitan Galaktion ordained three other bishops, including St. Glicherie, who, in 1957, became the head of the True Orthodox Church of Romania.
The History of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Romania by Fr. Anthimos
At 1859, the provinces of Walachia and Moldavia elected Alexandru Ion Cuza as their common prince. The same year saw the organization of the Romanian Orthodox Church as a distinct jurisdiction within the Orthodox Church. At 1861 the two provinces united and were recognized by the sultan as the autonomous Principality of Romania with its capital at Bucharest. In 1881, Romania declared itself a kingdom, and at 1885 the Ecumenical Patriarch recognized the establishment of the Romanian Orthodox Church. At 1924, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced into the Romanian Church by Metropolitan Miron (Cristea) (1868-1939), a former Uniate bishop. This innovation was received without protest by the majority of the Romanian people. However, the Holy Skete of Prokrov in northern Moldavia remained faithful to the church calendar under the leadership of its abbot, Hieromonk Glicherie (Tanase). A few other priests and faithful also refused to recognize the innovation. In 1925, the New Calendarist Patriarch of Constantinople recognized the autocephaly of the New Calendar Church of Romania, and Metropolitan Miron assumed the title of Patriarch.
The Romanian Old Calendarists
At November, 1925, Father Glicherie, together with Hierodeacon David (Bidascu), fled to the Coroi Ravine, away from the authorities, where they built a hut in which to spend the winter. In the spring, they built a larger hut with a chapel. In time, they were joined by Hieromonk Pamvu and two of his brothers, Veniamin and Galaction. In 1926 and 1929, Patriarch Miron ordered the celebration of Pascha according to the papal paschalion. This raised a storm of protest in parts of Romania. Metropolitan Gurias of Bessarabia openly criticized the Patriarch, and defied the order by directing the churches of his Metropolis to celebrate Pascha according to the Orthodox Paschalion. The White Russian clergy of Bucharest also ignored the order and continued to follow the Orthodox Paschalion. Many Romanians were shocked by this latest innovation, and began to return to the Genuine Orthodox Church. By 1936, Hieromonk Glicherie had built about forty churches, mostly in Moldavia. At 1936, Father Glicherie went to Athens with Father Ghimnazie and another monk from the Holy Mountain in the hope that the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece would consecrate one of the Athonite Fathers as a bishop for the Romanians. The Romanian fathers were expelled by the civil authorities before this could take place. At 1935, Patriarch Miron decided to stamp out the Genuine Orthodox Church. He ordered the destruction of all the Genuine Orthodox churches and the imprisonment of all the Genuine Orthodox clergy. During the persecution of 1935-1939, at least ten Genuine Orthodox priests were either killed or died in prison. Among the martyrs were Hieromonk Pambo, founder of the Monastery of Dobru, and Fathers Gideon and Theophan. Also among the holy martyrs who suffered during this persecution were five lay people who were thrown into the well of the Monastery of Cucova and drowned. Hieromonk Glicherie was also arrested and taken to Bucharest, where he was sentenced to death. The Most Holy Theotokos intervened to save his life, appearing to the wife of the Minister of Justice and ordering her to intercede with her husband for Hieromonk Glicherie. Her husband, heeding his wife's advice, commuted the death sentence and ordered Father Glicherie imprisoned in a monastery. By 1940, the government and New Calendarists had destroyed all the churches and monasteries of the Genuine Orthodox. At the outbreak of the war, Father Glicherie and other confessors of the Faith were set free, and fled into the forests. There they lived lives of incredible hardship, not once lighting a fire for fear of revealing their location. Father Glicherie's companion during this time of suffering was Hierodeacon David (Bidascu). After the war, there began the labour of rebuilding the destroyed churches and monasteries. In 1947, Hieromonk Glicherie began building the Slatioara Monastery, dedicated to the Holy Transfiguration of our Saviour. The same year, the women's Monastery of the Holy Protection was founded at Bradatel Neamt by Abbess Macariai. By 1950, almost all of the destroyed churches and monasteries had been rebuilt. However, the Genuine Orthodox Church was still without bishops and suffering from a desperate shortage of priests. It was decided to offer the leadership of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Romania to the retired Metropolitan Galaction (Codrun), who had protested the adoption of the new calendar. In 1955, Metropolitan Galaction accepted the offer and returned to the Genuine Orthodox Church. He made a public confession of faith announcing his return, and was accordingly "deposed" on Great and Holy Thursday, 1955, by the New Calendarists under Patriarch Justinian (Miron Cristea died). Metropolitan Galaction immediately went to Moldavia, where he ordained a number of priests and deacons. Very soon, though, he was arrested. Later he was allowed to live under house arrest in Bucharest, and performed ordinations secretly at night. Soon, however, Metropolitan Galaction saw that his strength was waning. He was the only Genuine Orthodox bishop in Romania, and it was impossible to obtain the cooperation of bishops from outside the country because of the persecution of the state. Like a number of other Genuine Orthodox hierarchs of the twentieth century, Metropolitan Galaction was forced to the extraordinary measure of consecrating a bishop single-handedly, so that his flock would not be left orphaned.
At 1956, Metropolitan Galaction consecrated Father Evloghie (Ota) to the episcopate, and then the two of them together consecrated Father Meftodie (Marinache). Afterwards, these three consecrated Hieromonk Glicherie to the episcopate. Metropolitan Galaction designated Bishop Glicherie as his successor. The Metropolitan, worn out by age and by his suffering for the Faith, reposed in 1957 and is buried at the Monastery of Slatioara. At 1967, Hieromonk Pahomie rebuilt the Monastery of the Holy Trinity at Cucova, which had been razed by the government at 1937. At 1968, Archimandrite Silvestru (Onofrei), the secretary of the Holy Synod, was consecrated to the episcopate. During all these years, the struggle of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Romania was largely unknown to the outside world. At 1977, the Romanian priest Father Basil Patracescu visited the Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, which was then under the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios. Later that year the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Cyprian, visited the Genuine Orthodox Church of Romania. On his return to Greece, he reported favourably on the Romanians, and the GOC of Greece conceived a desire to establish relations with the GOC of Romania. Also at 1977, Bishop Meftodie reposed, and Archimandrite Cozma (Lostun) was consecrated by Metropolitan Glicherie and Bishop Silvestru. At 1977-1978, Bishop Cozma rebuilt the Slatioara Monastery, which had been destroyed by the Communists. (The Cyprianite Bishop Ambrose denies that the monastery was ever destroyed, but says a new wing was added at this time.) At 1979, Bishop Evloghie reposed, and in 1981 Archimandrite Dimosten (Ionita) was conscrecrated to the episcopate. The Holy Synod then consisted of Metropolitan Glicherie, Bishop Silvestru, Bishop Cozma, and Bishop Dimosten. At 1983, Metropolitan Glicherie fell seriously ill. No locum tenens was appointed, but Bishop Silvestru took upon himself the leadership of the Holy Synod.
Relations with Greek old calendar synod
Also at 1983, Metropolitan Kallistos of Corinth withdrew from his synod over ecclesiological issues, and Metropolitan Antonios became the president of the Kallistite synod. At 1984 the Kallistites joined the Synod of Metropolitan Gerontios, but Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili refused to accept this, and founded a new synod together with Bishop Giovanni of Sardinia. Due to his close personal ties with the Romanians, Metropolitan Cyprian managed to remain in communion with them, and thus the GOC of Romania came to be in communion with the Cyprianite synod. Bishop Cozma at this time protested against the false Cyprianite ecclesiology. The same year, there was a serious fire, which was probably set by government agents, at the Slatioara Monastery. The fire burst out in five or six places, and several military incendiary phials were found in the monastic cells. Bishops Silvestru and Dimosten accused Bishop Cozma of deliberately setting the fire and of being an agent of the Securitate (the Communist secret police). It is believed that these bishops falsely accused Bishop Cozma because he strongly held fast to the strict ecclesiology and would not allow any change of ecclesiology through communion with the Greek "Synod in Resistance" under Cyprian of Oropos and Fili. Bishop Cozma was cast out of the monastery and was not allowed to communicate with Metropolitan Glicherie, who was guarded by Hieromonks Vlasie, Benjamin and Mireas. It is thought by some that Hieromonk Vlasie, the brother of a Securitate agent, may have been one of the real conspirators in the fire. This Father Vlasie was soon elected as the new abbot of Slatioara. Bishop Cozma wrote to the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, asking for an investigation of the fire at Slatioara. The authorities never responded to his letter, and never conducted any formal investigation.
Against cyprianites and persecutions
To combat the errors of the Cyprianites, Bishop Cozma founded the National Committee for the Salvation of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Romania. The Communist authorities exiled Bishop Cozma to his native village, Negru Sarului. The other bishops and clergymen began to spread malicious lies, rumors and slanders against the person of Bishop Cozma. This they did, in hope that all of the Romanian Old Calendarists would turn against him. Metropolitan Glicherie, who was very ill, wanted to speak to his spiritual son, Bishop Cozma, but the other clergymen would not let any meetings take place. At 1985, Bishop Cozma sent a letter to the Synod of the TOC (Cyprianite) of Romania, saying: "If even one of the 200 accusations against me is proven to be true, please depose me. I want to meet with my spiritual father, the Metropolitan!" The Synod did not reply to any of Bishop Cozma's letters. Bishop Cozma was again investigated by the communist police and he was confined to his native village. That same year, the blessed Metropolitan Glicherie reposed in the Lord, and Bishop Silvestru was elected as Metropolitan of the GOC of Romania. Also at this time, Metropolitan Silvestru and Bishop Dimosten consecrated Abbot Vlasie to the episcopate. Archimandrite Ghenadie was consecrated to the episcopate either at this time or in 1988. Bishop Cozma wrote to the new Metropolitan Silvestru, accusing him of changing the ecclesiology of the church, of secluding Metropolitan Glicherie and not informing him of the false ecclesiology of the Cyprianites, and of not permitting Bishop Cozma to meet with Metropolitan Glicherie. Metropolitan Silvestru did not reply to Bishop Cozma's letter. From 1985 to 1989, Bishop Cozma was forcefully isolated by the demands of the government and was constantly spied on by the communist secret police. He could not contact any other Genuine Orthodox Christian Church in the world, although he endlessly tried. Bishop Cozma began constructing the Monastery of Dornelor on his parents' property in his native village.
Freedom and a new church
At 1989, the Communist regime collapsed, and the dictator Ceaucescu and his wife were executed. At 1990, the Synod under Metropolitan Silvestru was officially legalized and recognized as a religious association by the Court of Suceava. Metropolitan Silvestru died at 1992, and Bishop Vlasie was elected as Metropolitan. Also, Archimandrite Pahomie was consecrated to the episcopate. Bishop Cosmas announced that he was severing every ecclesiastical communion with the Synod under Metropolitan Vlasie, due to the fact that they had accepted the heretical ecclesiology of the Cyprianites and because they ware spreading malicious lies and slander against the person of Bishop Cozma. In an article, he wrote that he refused to recognize the church under Vlasie, of which he wrote, "The Genuine Orthodox Church in which I worked and served all my life is not this one. Everything has changed. They have introduced a new ecclesiology and modernism has entered in among them. I however, continue to be the Bishop of the same Genuine Orthodox Church as my spiritual father, Metropolitan Glicherie, not this new "Church" that Vlasie has now created. Vlasie and his company are a shame to Orthodoxy!" At 1992, the Synod of Metropolitan Vlasie consecrated Sofronie (Otel) and Teodosie (Scutaru) to the episcopate. The same year, Metropolitan Vlasie accepted Archimandrite Anthony of Lavardac, France, into his jurisdiction. Soon, however, Anthony left Vlasie to join the Serbian Patriarchate. At 1995, Bishop Cozma fell seriously ill. Construction on the catholicon of the Dornelor Monastery ceased. At 1997, the relics of Blessed Metropolitan Glicherie were exhumed and found to be fragrant. The Synod under Vlasie officially glorified Metropolitan Glicherie as a saint. Though he was ill and unable to walk, Bishop Cozma travelled to the Slatioara Monastery to venerate the wonderworking relics of his spiritual father. But Metropolitan Vlasie dismissed Bishop Cozma and would not permit him to enter the monastery grounds.
Under the omophor of GOC of Greece
By the decision of the Holy Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece and the Diaspora, lead by the Holy President, Metropolitan kyr Kallinikos, Metropolitan of Ftiotidos, from 5/25/2001 in Athens, the people of Genuine Orthodox Church of Romania were received under the omophorion of Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece. His Eminence, Metropolitan Christopher of Mesogaia was elected Exarch for Romania. Also, His Eminence Cosmas was received as a retired bishop. Metropolitan Cozma reposed in the Lord February 17th / March 2, 2002 + Memory Eternal.
Sources: 'Bichir, Anthim, priest - "Relation between Genuine Orthodox Church of Romania and Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece" - 2001 Boldewskul, Victor. "The Old Calendar Church of Romania: Short History," Orthodox Life, Volume 42, No. 5 (Oct.-Nov. 1992), pages 11-17. Cyprian, Metropolitan of Oropos and Fili. "The True Orthodox Christians of Romania," The Orthodox Word, Volume 18, No. 1 (102) (Jan.-Feb. 1982), pages 5-15. (Compiled and translated from the Greek by Archimandrite [now Archbishop] Chrysostomos.) Stavrianos, L.S. The Balkans Since 1453 (New York: Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1958). Vlasie, Metropolitan. The Life of the Holy Hierarch and Confessor Glicherie of Romania. Translated by Sorin Comanescu and Protodeacon Gheorghe Balaban. (Etna, CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 1999).'
- Metropolitan Vlasie, President of the Synod of the True Orthodox Church of Romania
- Bishop Demosten of Neamts
- Bishop Ghenadie of Bacau
- Bishop Pahomie of Vrancea
- Bishop Teodosie of Brasov
- Bishop Sofronie of Suceava
- Bishop Iosif of Botosani
- Bishop Flavian of Ilfov
Since 1980, the Synod has been in full communion with the True Orthodox Church of Greece (so-called "Callistoites"), then with the Holy Synod in Resistance (so-called "Cyprianites"). The Synod also maintains communion with the Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Bulgaria (Bishop Photii), and with the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia (ROCOR).
Headquartered in the Monastery of the Transfiguration, Slatioara, Moldavia, the Synod has 130 parishes, 13 monasteries, 21 sketes, and publishes two periodicals, Traditia Ortodoxa and Catacombele Ortodoxiei. 160 priests (including 115 married priests and 45 hieromonks) and 26 deacons serve the Synod's faithful. 290 monks and 510 nuns dwell in the monasteries.