September 7, 2018

Saints Symeon (1476) and Amphilochius (1570) of Pangarati Monastery in Romania

Sts. Symeon and Amphilochius of Pangarati Monastery (Feast Day - September 7)

Venerable Symeon was born at the beginning of the 15th century in a village close to the city of Piatra Neamţ city, at the time of Prince Alexander the Kind (1400-1432). From his youth, he was a very pious man, choosing to live the monastic life and joining the community of Bistriţa Monastery. After much asceticism and obedience, in 1432, he retired together with two of his disciples on the left bank of Pângăraţi creek. There, he built a cell of fir beams in a beautiful meadow, where he stayed together with his disciples in unceasing prayers, so that his place was known as “Symeon’s Hermitage”. Having heard of him, Prince Stephan the Great (1457–1504) helped him raise a small wooden church dedicated to the Holy Great Martyr Demetrios the Myrrh-Gusher. When Metropolitan Teoctist I consecrated it, Venerable Symeon was ordained a priest, having become the first founder and abot of Pângăraţi Monastery, called “Symeon’s Skete” until 1508. There he gathered many disciples around him, growing in self-denial and prayer, and receiving the gifts of healing and of prophecy. The faithful benefited from his blessings, as well as the high officials, and even Prince Stephan the Great, who used to ask for his advice for himself and for the country.

In 1476, when the Turks invaded Moldavia and won the battle of Războieni, Venerable Symeon prayed for the country and for the ruling prince to rid them of the invaders, and took his disciples and settled at Caşva Monastery, in Mureş region. There, he passed away the same year in the autumn, having been buried in that monastery. Towards the end of 1484, when peace was reigning again in the country, Prince Stephan the Great put his relics in a shrine and kept them in his treasury, in great honor. Then, he took portions of the relics and put them in a shrine for veneration, burying the rest of them in the Citadel of Suceava.

Venerable Amphilochius from Pângăraţi was born in 1487, in Ţara de Sus of Moldavia. He began his monastic life since his youth, at Moldoviţa Monastery, from where he came to Pângăraţi in 1508. There, all the members of the community elected him abbot, so that he led them for 56 years. Hieromonk Anastasios from Moldoviţa, who knew him well, speaks about his life: “He chose to live in monasticism ever since he was a child, having been esteemed by all the people of his time for his good deeds. He was a very good writer, faster, patient and strove to live a spiritual life.” Saint Demetrios, the protector of the monastery, appeared in a vision to Prince Alexandru Lapuşneanu (1552-1561; 1564-1568) to build a new church at Pângăraţi, to replace the old wooden one which the Turks had burned down. The church was consecrated by Metropolitan Gregory of Suceava in 1560. In 1566, the Saint gathered all his spiritual sons around, gave them final advice, appointed hieromonk Teodorit as abbot to replace him, and retired at his first monastery, Moldoviţa. There, blessed Amphilochius became a hermit with the name of Enoch and lived for four more years. In 1570, having known beforehand the time of his death, he received the Holy Communion, then fell asleep into the Lord, and his disciples buried him.

On 6 March 2008, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized Venerables Symeon and Amphilochius, to be celebrated on 7 September.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
O Venerable Fathers Symeon and Amphilochius, the ones who enlightened the Carpathian woods through your prayers and filled the whole valley of Bistrița with spiritual fragrance, close advisers of the ruler princes and radiant torches of the monastics and of the pious faithful, pray to God for us, who celebrate with love your holy commemoration.