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June 8, 2012

Saint Ioannikios the New of Romania (+ 1638)

Saint Ioanichie the New (Feast Day - July 26)

Saint Ioannikios (Ioanichie) the New was born of pious parents from Muscel in Romania. From a young age he rejected worldly things and was pulled towards Cetatuia Monastery. For fifty years Saint Ioannikios lived in asceticism in a cave on Mount Negru Voda. His ascetic efforts, prayers for the whole world, his fasting, and his tears were covered with mystery. Only once a week a monk would come to bring him bread and water. Also the abbot of the monastery would come very often to bring him Holy Communion for him to receive.

Saint Ioannikios the New was the spiritual guide of the great prince Michael the Brave (1593–1601) and the ruler Matei Basarab.

The monk Ioannikios foresaw the year of his repose (1638) and inscribed it on the upper wall of the cave.

In 1944 Fr. Poimin Barbieri, abbot of the Cetatuia - Negru Voda Skete, as it was then called, was lowered through a hole into the cave, near a steep wall fourteen meters high, while behind him there was a cliff one hundred feet deep. Entering the cave with the monk Isidore, he found lying on a stone the relics of Saint Ioannikios. On a rock he found engraved in Cyrillic letters: "Ioannikios monk, 1638".

The relics of the Saint remained in a chapel of the Cetatuia Monastery from 1944 until 1948. That year they buried him near the door of the church.

In 1996 the chancellor was authorized by the local hierarchy to build a new cemetery when he refound the relics of the Saint.

Today the relics are in the Cetatuia Monastery. He was canonized by the Holy Synod of the Church of Romania in June of 2009. His memory is celebrated on July 26.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos