Sep 4, 2022
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Moldavian ascetic in the history of Russian holiness

2022 – Year of Remembrance of St. Paisius Velichkovsky

To a person who does not believe or is simply far from Orthodoxy, the name of the Monk Paisius Velichkovsky (1722-1794) will not say anything. Meanwhile, on February 10, 2022, the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Moldova declared 2022 the Year of Remembrance of St. Paisius Velichkovsky.

For reference: Orthodox Church of Moldova – this is self-governing Moldavian-Chisinau Metropolis of the Russian Orthodox Church, under the canonical administration of which are churches and monasteries on the territory of the Republic of Moldova and the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. According to the latest data for 2013, Orthodox Church of Moldova there were 1300 temples, 42 monasteries, 8 sketes, 8 spiritual schools

Paisiy Velichkovsky, a native of Little Russian Poltava, spent 17 years as a monk on Mount Athos before coming to Moldavia with 64 disciples in 1763. The reverend occupies in the history of the Orthodox Church – and Russian culture special place. G.P. Fedotov (1886-1951) named Paisius “father of Russian elders”keeping in mind that XIX century, Optina and Sarov, closely associated with the heritage of the Moldavian elder, shone like “two bonfires around which frozen Russia warms up.” Optina elders Moses, Leonid, Macarius, Ambrose were the successors of the work that the archimandrite from the Moldavian monastery in Neamtse had served. For Optina, Paisius was, first of all, performer and teacher of the Jesus Prayer (in the Russian tradition “smart doing”).

Paisios was a translator from Greek into Church Slavonic “Philokalia” five-volume collection of patristic writings IVXV centuries, first published for Russian readers in 1793 in St. Petersburg, and then withstood many reprints ..

Now The Neamt Monastery, where the monk once labored, is located on the territory of Romania, but, when Paisius and his students came to Moldova from Athos, Romania simply did not exist (this state appeared on the map of Europe in 1859 with the assistance of England and France, who intended to create a barrier on the way of the Russian army to Constantinople).

Currently, unionists from Chisinau (supporters of the “uniri”, or the takeover of Moldova by Romania) are playing cards, considering how best to include the Republic of Moldova in a NATO/EU member state. However, for Moldovans, Russians, Bulgarians, Gagauzes and other nationalities inhabiting Moldova, such a political line is harmful from beginning to end.

Of course, Maia Sandu, a citizen of Romania, the President of Moldova, cannot afford to recall what the Romanian-fascist occupation authorities did on the territory of the Moldavian SSR in 1941-1944. But nothing prevents us from remembering …

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… On the very first day of the Great Patriotic War, June 22, 1941, the aviation of Romania, allied to Hitler, raided the territory of the Moldavian SSR. The first airstrikes were inflicted on Balti, Bolgrad, Chisinau. They bombed Cahul, crossings over the Dniester, railway stations. By the end of July, Soviet troops left the territory of Moldova. Occupied by Romanian troops Northern Bukovina, Bessarabia, Budzhak were included in the “Greater Romania”. An occupation regime was established on the territories of present-day Moldova and Transnistria, the Bukovina Governorate, the Bessarabian Governorate and “Transnistria” (Pridnestrovie and the neighboring Odessa region) were established.

Terror has become the main instrument of the occupation policy of Romania on Moldovan soil. Already in August 1941, 49 camps and ghettos were created on the territory of Moldova. About 12 thousand people were herded into the Jewish ghetto of Chisinau. And on November 18, 1941, the governor of Bessarabia reported that in the territory under his jurisdiction “Jewish problem solved.” In February 1942, the Romanian “conductor” Antonescu (who, according to Maia Sandu, can be called “both good and bad”) stated that “We need to get rid of other minorities – Ukrainians, Poles, Bulgarians, Gagauz, all these scoundrels (liftele) who have settled in the North and South of Bessarabia” (“bastards”, by the way, live there now).

In Chisinau, the Romanian authorities were strictly forbidden to speak Russian. During the years of fascist occupation, the Church Slavonic language was banned as a liturgical language (until the 16th century, Church Slavonic was the book language in Moldova, and all writing was based on Cyrillic). The Romanian authorities ordered to confiscate all printed publications in Russian in Bessarabia and Transnistria. Books were burned on the spot or taken out beyond the Prut, to Romania. And when the Red Army took Kyiv on November 6, 1943, the Romanian authorities began the total plunder of the occupied territories (“Operation 1111”). From the monasteries and churches of Moldova, church utensils, robes of clergy, liturgical books were exported to Romania …

But still– says P. Shornikov from the Institute of History. Ya. S. Grosula Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Moldova, author of the book “Resistance to the policy of banning the Russian language during the years of the fascist occupation of Moldova, 1941-1944”. Tiraspol, 2018, – failed to eradicate the Russian language. “His commitment to the Soviet regime, under which workers and artisans enjoyed all the rights and benefits, noted in June 1942 the quaestor of Chisinau, they express using the Russian language, sometimes publicly and almost always in family”. The police claimed that the use of the Russian language among the population “maintained a pro-Soviet atmosphere”.

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As I wrote in 2007 on the website pravoslavie.EN Vladimir Bukarsky, expert of the Transnistrian branch of the Russian National Strategy Council, after the collapse of the USSR, in December 1991, 27 deputies of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, together with 33 deputies of the Romanian National Assembly and clergy of the Romanian Orthodox Church, formed the “National Council” in order to accelerate the accession of Moldova to Romania. On September 8, 1992, at the congress of the clergy in Chisinau, an almost unanimous desire was expressed to remain under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Nevertheless, the Romanian government adopted the “Romanian Church” program aimed at “revival of the Church of Romanians outside Romania” within the 1940 borders and financed from the state budget.

In April 2002, PACE adopted a document entitled “Religion and Change in Central and Eastern Europe”, in which ultimatum demanded from Moldova to register the schismatics. The US State Department made similar statements. On July 30, 2002, the government of Vladimir Voronin yielded and granted the “Bessarabian Metropolis” of the Romanian Church an official status on the territory of Moldova. Moreover, the non-canonically created “Bessarabian Metropolis” within the Romanian Patriarchate was recognized as the legal successor of the “Bessarabian Metropolis” that existed in 1918-1940. and during the fascist occupation of 1941-1944. As the Moldovan publicist Oles Stan wrote in 2006 in the article “The New Occupation of Moldova”, the third attempt to seize Moldovan parishes by the Romanian Church began.

On October 24, 2007, the synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church announced the creation of seven new episcopates within the Romanian Patriarchate. Three of them were decided to establish on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. Communities of the “Bessarabian Metropolis” appeared in Moscow, in the Moscow region, in Cheboksary, in Chernivtsi, in the Odessa region …

In response to this, on November 7, 2007, a statement was adopted by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church with a strong protest against a new intrusion into our canonical limits and called for the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church to rescind its decisions. However, the negotiations between the delegations of the Russian and Romanian churches, held in November 2007 at the Troyan Monastery in Bulgaria, did not produce any results…

And in January 2022, a member of Maia Sandu’s Action and Solidarity party, an inveterate unionist, Oazu Nantoi, addressed an open letter to Metropolitan Vladimir (Kantaryan) of Chisinau and All Moldova. The letter stated that “clergy of the left bank of the Dniester [Приднестровье] serves the Tiraspol regime”, but Moldova “should not sacrifice its sovereignty” for the sake of cheap gas and must get out of Russia’s influence.

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Such, in the most concise way, is the situation in which events will be held Commemoration of the Monk Paisius Velichkovsky (memory saint is celebrated on November 15/28).

… Each time reads the pages of the past in its own way. And perhaps, for our time, which is dramatically rich in national – and aggressively nationalistic – divisions, it is especially instructive that during the time of St. Paisius, 1,100 monks of 23 nationalities labored in the Neamtsky Monastery: Little Russians, Great Russians, Moldavians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Macedonians and many others. More than 100 Orthodox monasteries around the world were founded by the multinational brotherhood of the disciples of St. Paisius. Dozens of them in Russia. And this is also one of the traditional values ​​of Russian culture.

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… On May 16, 2021, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the episcopate of the Orthodox Church of Moldova at the Cathedral Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In a long conversation His Holiness the Patriarch emphasized the importance of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, of which the self-governing Orthodox Church of Moldova is an integral part.

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