September 30, 2022

Preparations Underway for the Canonization of Two Romanian Athonite Elders

The Synod of the Metropolis of Muntenia and Dobrudja met on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, in a working session, in the Synodal Hall of the Patriarchal Residence in Bucharest. Hierarchs from the suffragan dioceses of this metropolis participated in the meeting chaired by Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The agenda included the presentation of some liturgical texts that will accompany canonization proposals, as well as administrative topics that fall under the attributions of this ecclesiastical forum.

Patriarch Daniel presented the agenda, which included the presentation of the liturgical texts that will accompany the proposal for the canonization of Venerables Dionisie Ignat and Petroniu Tănase.

Patriarch Daniel stated: "These liturgical texts were composed in Greek by the disciples of the two Romanian fathers from Mount Athos, who are proposed for canonization to the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Romanian Patriarchate. The right to canonize someone belongs to the local Church where that person lived the last part of his life and where he passed to the Lord. These two fathers, Romanian by origin, lived for a long time at Athos: Father Dionisie Ignat at the Colciu (Kaletzi) Hermitage and Father Petroniu Tănase at the Prodromou Hermitage. They had Romanian as well as Greek disciples. Two of them, Greeks who distinguished themselves by composing liturgical services for the saints, agreed to prepare the liturgical texts in Greek. These texts were translated into Romanian, but the Metropolitan Synod does not approve them, because it does not have this competence. Their presentation, however, was necessary because five dioceses made some observations regarding these texts. (...) These two fathers are appreciated not only by Romanians, but also by Greek residents. We want to request the Ecumenical Patriarchate to canonize the two Athonites. It is important to make a gesture to highlight these pious people who are very popular in Mount Athos."

The Metropolitanate of Muntenia and Dobrudja is made up of 10 dioceses: Archdiocese of Bucharest, Archdiocese of Tomis, Archdiocese of Târgoviște, Archdiocese of Argeș and Muscel, Archdiocese of Buzău and Vrancea, Archdiocese of Lower Danube, Diocese of Slobozia and Calarasi, Diocese of Alexandria and Teleormanu, Diocese of Giurgiu and Diocese of Tulcea. The hierarchs of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in Hungary and the Diocese of Dacia Felix also participate in this synod.
Elder Dionisie Ignat

The Hieromonk Dionisie Ignat was born on September 22, 1909 in Vorniceni (Botoșani county), to a peasant family with 8 children, boys and girls, of which the eldest, Gheorghe, was also a monk under the name Gymnazie. His parents, Ioan and Casandra Ignat, gave him the name of Dumitru at baptism. He was the youngest of eight children.

Dumitru (the future Dionisie), full of burning desire for the monastic life, followed his older brother, the monk Gymnazie (Gheorghe in the world) to the Măgura Hermitage in 1923, when he was only 14 years old. The abbot of the hermitage decided to accept him, despite his age, but at the same time send him to school. So, for two years, Dumitru studied at the Vocational School in Târgu Ocna and visited the Hermitage as often as he could.

In 1926, when Moldova was troubled by the change of the calendar, he went to Mount Athos, where he would never leave again until 2004 when he departed to the Lord.

Elder Petroniu Tănase

The Hieromonk Petroniu Tănase was a hieromonk of the Romanian-speaking Skete of Saint John the Forerunner, more commonly known as Prodromou, on Mount Athos. Born in Fărcasa, Neamts County, in 1914, Fr. Petroniu spent his early years in Romania, studying theology, mathematics, and philosophy while also becoming a monk at the renowned Neamts Monastery. Longing for a deeper spiritual life Fr. Petroniu left Romania for the Holy Mountain in 1978. He served as the Skete's librarian before, in 1985, being elected abbot of Prodromou. Following his retirement and replacement by Hieromonk Atanasie Floroiu in early 2011, Fr. Petroniu fell asleep in the Lord on February 22, 2011.

Upon learning of Fr. Petroniu's repose Metropolitan Theophan of Iaşi, Moldavia, and Bukovina of the Romanian Orthodox Church wrote that, "The Lord God has called to Himself one of the most beautiful flowers that appeared in the last century on Romanian soil. His whole life was a continuous sacrifice in the spirit of prayer...we hope that the fire of [his] prayer for us in the world will be even more intense after the departure of Fr. Petroniu to eternity. He leaves behind the monks of Moldavia and the earth, the crying fathers of Athos...we all complain, but 'not as those without hope.' Fr. Petroniu, crucified through humility throughout his life, now rests in the light of the crucified and risen."