“If you read the poems and texts of those who suffered in communist prisons, you will see that every word they uttered reflects another way to rejoice. The joy of being alone, a stranger, forgotten, kneeling, hit, but never defeated,” said Archimandrite Pimen Costea, administrative vicar of the Archdiocese of Roman and Bacău Thursday, February 18, 2021.
“These people have discovered the beauty of the afterlife, of infinite life. For them, nothing from here mattered, and they were not taught to give, but they learned something more than we learned or what we here know who give something to someone every day. They offered themselves! They gave themselves fully to others and had no resentment towards people who were not of the same faith as them, who did not share the same ideals, who may have a different vision of life.”
Archimandrite Pimen was the delegate of Archbishop Ioachim at the commemoration of Valeriu Gafencu and the 80 confessors who died at the Târgu Ocna Prison Hospital between 1947-1964.
The memorial service took place at the Church of the Holy Emperors Constantine and Helen in the city.
Saints of Prisons?
“What makes Saints?” Father Pimen Costea asked.
“The fact that they were in the same place, that they were in the same Church, that they shared the same gift of suffering that gives birth to saints, these people were transfigured little by little every day and made of those with whom they were a Triumphant Church.”
“They fought unto blood and turned everything from the ideal into reality; the reality of Heaven descended to earth. Their liturgy, even if it was not Eucharistic, was a sacrificial liturgy in which the angels served with them, in which their suffering cried out to be heard by God.”
“People did not want to hear. They did not care about their cry, but God heard them as He heard the blind man in Jericho, the paralytic, the Canaanite woman crying desperately for help. We call them the ‘saints of prisons’ because they were born in prison and because they made prison paradise,” concluded the administrative vicar of the Archdiocese of Roman and Bacău.
Photography courtesy of the Archdiocese of Roman and Bacău
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