His Eminence Andrei, Metropolitan of Cluj, Maramures and Salaj, celebrated the Sunday Divine Liturgy at the katholikon of the Athonite Vatopedi Monastery, during which he spoke about our earthly existence stressing that ‘our whole life should be a permanent and sincere repentance.’
Allegedly built by St Constantine the Great, the Vatopedi Monastery received much support from the Romanian Ruler Princes such as: Alexandru Lapusneanu, St Neagoe Basarab, St Stephen the Great, St Constantine Brancoveanu.
Following the January 21 Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Andrei addressed the monastics and the pilgrims at the monastery’s refectory, according to the monastic tradition. Being asked by Abbot Ephraim Metropolitan Andrei presented aspects regarding monastic life in Romania.
His Eminence recalled the 1959 decree no. 410 through which monks under the age of 55 and nuns under the age of 50 were excluded from Romanian monasteries. He also pointed to the position of the renowned Romanian theologian Dumitru Staniloae who noted that ‘monastics are in no way weak, but rather strong people,’ also calling them ‘the knights of the Holy Spirit.’
Metropolitan Andrei noted that although banned from monasteries many monastics respected their monastic vows ‘fulfilling their prayer rule at home, and returned to the monastery as soon as it was made possible.’
He also said that after the fall of the communist regime, ‘when Romania became free again, the number of monasteries increased.’
The Metropolitan of Cluj reflected on a verse from the Gospel of Matthew saying ‘repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’ (Matt. 4:17), and noted that ‘our entire life should be a permanent and sincere repentance.’
During his Athonite pilgrimage, Metropolitan Andrei also served at Simonopetra Monastery and visited the Romanian Skete of Prodromos.
Photography courtesy of Vatopedi Monastery