†) Saint Callinicus from Cernica, bishop of Râmnic; Hieromartyr Antipas, bishop of Pergamum (Fast Free)

Saint Callinicus was born in Bucharest, on 7 October 1787, to Romanian parents, obedient to God, and was baptised with the name Constantin.

In 1807, when aged 20, young Constantin felt in his heart he has monastic vocation and went to Cernica Monastery where he was received with paternal care by abbot Timothy, who was a disciple of Holy Venerable George from Cernica and who taught him Jesus’ Prayer and obedience.

After one year of spiritual obedience he was tonsured into monasticism, changing his name to Callinicus (1808). Then, after one month, he was ordained hierodeacon.

Saint Callinicus lived at Cernica Monastery for 43 years, in fasting and prayer, work and humbleness, patience and love practiced day and night. Therefore, after five years of service as deacon, he was ordained priest (1813), and after five more years, in 1818, the community of the monastery elected him abbot of Cernica Monastery, which he ran with much wisdom for 32 years (1818-1850), doing many worthy deeds.

He founded the church of Saint George, the priory and the hospital of Cernica Monastery, the church of the Holy Trinity and the cemetery church of Pasărea Monastery, the church of the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God in Câmpina, where he set up a school, as well as a few churches in village parishes.

In 1850, Pious Callinicus was elected (14 September) and ordained bishop of Râmnic (26 October), where he did great deeds and resolved many of the material needs of the eparchy. He made big efforts to build the diocese church from its foundations, adorn it with painting and precious liturgical objects and to give a new life to a church publishing house where he printed many books for religious services and spiritual elevation.

His love for ascetic life urged him to build a church at Frăsinei Skete, with all the cells around, for accommodating the fathers willing to live an ascetic life, according to the regulations of the monks from Mount Athos that the blessed founder ordered there.

Saint Callinicus served as bishop of Râmnic for more than 16 years (1850–1866) and then, feeling weak and sick, he came back to Cernica Monastery where he lived for one more year, passing away on 11 April 1868, on the Holy Saturday. He was buried, according to his will, in the porch of Saint George church which he founded.

As long as he lived on the earth, Saint Callinicus had a spiritual life according to God’s will. Having been a monk, he obeyed all the regulations of the monastic life, living in poverty and harsh asceticism. Those who have met him said that he had a thin body and a serene face. He always walked his head bowed down, spoke softly and peacefully, was very kind, merciful and generous to all those around.

This kind of living made him a distinguished servant of the Lord, who adorned him with the miracle working gift, healing the sick, knowing the hidden thoughts of the people, their end of life and even his own. He was a comfort for the poor and widows, and shared with kindness everything he had gathered, through good deeds. Given his life and endeavours, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church canonised him in 1955, being celebrated on 11 April.

Today too, those who pray to this outstanding vessel of the Lord receive much help and spiritual benefit while venerating his relics laid in Saint George church of Cernica Monastery.

Through his holy prayers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

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