Elder Petroniu, hieromonk and spiritual father of the Skete of St. John the Forerunner on Mount Athos, passed away on 22 February 2011 at 3:30 PM. He was born on 23 May 1914 to his parents John and Anna. He was tonsured a monk in 1940. On two different occasions he was asked to be the Patriarch of Romania, but he rejected the office both times.
Fr. Petroniu was born in 1914 in Farcasa of Neamt county in Romania. His desire from a young age was to become a monk which led him to Neamt Monastery where he became a monk. Then he went to the Monastery Antim in Bucharest while he studied at the Theological School of Bucharest.
In 1978 he went to Mount Athos. Fr. Petroniu went there with second generation monks, sent by the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate for the spiritual rebirth of the Skete of St. John the Forerunner.
Since 1984 he was the spiritual father and librarian of the Skete.
When Placide Desseille asked Father Makarios Simonopetritis to take him to an elder to hear a spiritual word, he along with Abbot Elissaio (Elisha) and other monks of the brotherhood took him to Father Petroniu.
When they asked Elder Adrian Fageteanu to say something about Elder Petroniu, he said: "Petroniu the Prodromiti? The most humble, most humble, most humble!"
Stepping foot on the Athonite land of the Skete of the Forerunner, Nikolai Baltsiout wrote: "Father Petroniu is so loved that he advises both the Greek and Romanian monks."
Fr. Ioannikios from the Monastery of Simonos Petra would say: "Father Petroniu Prodromitis combines perfect love with asceticism and gentleness. Until a few years ago the elder was standing in vigil through the whole night. To sit for a little while kneeling was a blessing."
Looking to find something else to write I remembered what was written two years ago in the Orthodox magazine Lumea Monahilor by George Crasnean: "I showed my wife 3217 pictures of Athonite monks and asked who she thought was a 'good man'. Of all she chose Fr. Petroniu perhaps because his eyes 'betrayed' his unique soul."
None of those who crossed the threshold of the Skete of St. John the Forerunner can forget the light which beamed from his face and the spiritual words which he offered seated on a bench under the light of sunrise or sunset.
"I like to walk, this is my joy, because many Holy Fathers sanctified these stones with their sweat", said the Elder. Walking in the footsteps of these fathers, you feel the joy of community and unceasing prayer.
May God grant him rest.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos
Video: A Conversation With Romanian Elder Petroniu Tanase
Părintele Petroniu Tănase