Exploring the Inner Universe
Archimandrite Roman BRAGA
Published by HDM Press in 1996
This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
I met Father Roman during a retreat at the Romanian monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God (Rives Junction, Michigan), where he served then as the chaplain. He no longer serves as the main chaplain but still resides there and serves the Liturgy. His homily was fiery, full of inner fire and passion, and his face also spoke volumes of charity and goodness. I learned briefly about his life and torture under the communist regime in Romania.
Very recently, a friend of mine went to the same monastery and bought this book that she lent me to read.
The first part is actually more an interview than an essay. Through the excellent questions of his interviewer, also a very spiritual man if I judge by his questions, Fr Roman tells us about his life in Romania, about this country before and under the communist regime, and about the development of Christian Orthodoxy there, with all the activities explained more in the essay.
There are lots of interesting elements on the nature of the Romanian soul, based on history and culture. It was a very interesting and of course spiritually very enlightening book.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
Included in this book are two essays composed by Fr. Roman – The Burning Bush and Romanian Monasticism During the Time of Communism. Being part of the “Burning Bush” movement in Romania cost Fr. Roman eleven years of freedom. The essay “Romanian Monasticism During the Time of Communism” is an invaluable historical account about the origins, the development and the meaning of Orthodox Monasticism in Romania, allowing us to understand better not only the meaning of monasticism, but also trials and tribulations of an Orthodox nation. [goodreads]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roman Braga was born in Romania in 1922 to a peasant family that lived near a monastery, which had a profound influence on him. He entered the seminary when he was 12 years old, after the death of his father. After completing the seminary in 1943 he was sent to military school until 1945 when the war ended and he moved to Bucharest where he continued his theological studies. For choosing to take care of youth who were interested in spirituality, he was arrested for the first time in 1948 and held prisoner for five years. He was arrested a second time in 1959 and only released in 1964, when by decree all political detainees were granted freedom. He was ordained a priest of the Negresti parish where he remained for three years until the secret Romanian police, the Securitate, came to take him and transfer him to a small village. In 1968, seeking to get rid of him, the patriarch sent him to a Romanian parish in Brasil where he remained for four years before moving to the United States, where he lives presently. [found on lipa]
There’s a long excerpt available here.
I thought there was a very interesting passage pp.65-66 about compromises under the communist regime. We always hear these talks about priests who compromised with the regime, should they have or not, etc.
Fr Roman illustrates this by telling us about St Gennadios the Scholar (1454-1456): When he was in Constantinople under Mohamed II, he signed the compromise not to ring the bells, not to have processions on the streets with holy relics,etc, and he is considered a saint in the Orthodox calendar.
I’m not making any political statements, I’m just noticing that giving this example is an interesting and original response to this whole issue.
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