Metropolitan Synod of Moldova and Bucovina launches proposals for canonization

Joseph Naniescu and George Lazăr

Metropolitan Joseph Naniescu and the Venerable lay-ascetic George Lazăr are the proposals for glorification launched Thursday by the Metropolitan Synod of Moldova and Bucovina that will be analysed by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church during its next working session.

The Synod has also proposed that the Cypriote Saint Neophyte the Recluse be added to the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church, notes a press release of the Archdiocese of Iași.

The Metropolitan Synod held its working session Thursday, 15 June 2017, at the Metropolitan residence in Iași. His Eminence Teofan, Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina, chaired the meeting.

The Synodal members included:

  • His Eminence Pimen, Archbishop of Suceava and Rădăuți,
  • His Eminence Ioachim, Archbishop of Roman and Bacău,
  • His Grace Corneliu, Bishop of Huși,
  • His Grace Calinic of Botoșani, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Iași.

According to the press release of the Archdiocese, Metropolitan Joseph Naniescu was proposed for glorification under the name of Saint Joseph the Merciful, Metropolitan of Moldova, with January 26 as feast day. As to the Venerable lay-ascetic George Lazăr, he was proposed for canonization under the name of Saint George the Pilgrim, with August 17 as feast day.

Metropolitan Joseph was born in 1820 in the family of priest Anania Mihalache, receiving at Holy Baptism the name of John. After his father died, his mother Teodosia brought him up until the age of 10, when he was entrusted to a relative, Hierodeacon Teofilact, who was a monastic at Frumoasa Monastery in Bessarabia.

In 1831 they came to Iași, and then to Focșani, where, on 23 November 1835, he was tonsured a monk by bishop Chesarie of Buzău. The next day he was ordained a hierodeacon.

He was ordained a hieromonks in 1850 and for almost 20 years, he carried out a fruitful didactic activity in Bucharest.  On 23 April 1872 he was consecrated a Bishop bearing the name of Myra. He was appointed Bishop of Argeș in 1873, and then Metropolitan of Moldova in 1875. He passed to the Lord on 26 January 1902.

Because of his kindness and the care for the poor and the suffering, he was named Joseph the Saint and the Merciful.

Venerable George Lazăr was born in 1846 in Șușag town, Alba County. At the age of 24 he married and was blessed by God with five children. He lived a chosen life in piety, honest work, prayer, fast and almsgiving.

In 1884, he went to the Holy Sepulchre as a pilgrim but remained at the monasteries in the desert of Jordan and Sinai for a year. After spending another one and a half years on Mount Athos, he returned home. In 1890 he retired as a pilgrim to the monasteries of Moldova.

Venerable George Lazăr settled in the city of Piatra Neamț where he laboured as a genuine hermit in the bell tower of Saint Stephen the Great for over 26 years, until he fell asleep in the Lord. There he struggled in solitude, in fast and prayer, in poverty, living by the grace of God.

He passed away on 15 August 1916 and was buried in the city cemetery. His remains were placed in 1934 in the graveyard of Văratec Monastery.

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