Legal and Canonical Mechanisms for the Oppression of Orthodox Priests during the Communist Regime in Romania. Case Study: Father Arsenie Boca

9 April 2024

Author RĂZVAN PERȘA, Lecturer, Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The Communist regime in Romania sought to subordinate various societal sectors, including the judicial system and religious denominations, to its ideological goals. This study delves into the relationship between the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Communist authorities, highlighting the various legal and canonical strategies employed to exert control over religious entities. Specifically, the research focuses on the Romanian Orthodox Church’s alignment with Communist regulations, leading to legitimacy and canonicity in state interventions. Through an examination of legal sources and archival materials, the study emphasizes the changing dynamics of religious freedom in Romania during the Communist era. An in-depth prosopographical investigation is conducted into the case of Father Arsenie Boca, shedding light on the canonical framework of the Romanian Orthodox Church in the early Communist years and its implications for a modern understanding of this period.

Communist regime, Romanian Orthodox Church, Canonical rules, State intervention, religious freedom, Canon law, Father Arsenie Boca, Decree 410/1959 Monastic exclusions.

[1] This study represents a piece of research carried out as a scholar at the Institute for the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism and the Memory of the Romanian Exile and as a researcher accredited by decision No. P954/17 of the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives.

[2] Gustav Radbruch, a prominent German scholar of criminal law, postulated a theory in 1946 that would significantly impact the philosophy of law, particularly concerning the interplay between legal positivism and the notion of justice. He posited that under specific conditions and circumstances, a judge might have the discretion to rule against established law when confronted with a clash between positive law and justice. “Der Konflikt zwischen der Gerechtigkeit und der Rechtssicherheit dürfte dahin zu lösen sein, daß das positive, durch Satzung und Macht gesicherte Recht auch dann den Vorrang hat, wenn es inhaltlich ungerecht und unzweckmäßig ist, es sei denn, daß der Widerspruch des positiven Gesetzes zur Gerechtigkeit ein so unerträgliches Maß erreicht, daß das Gesetz als ‘unrichtiges Recht’ der Gerechtigkeit zu weichen hat”. Gustav Radbruch, “Gesetzliches Unrecht und Übergesetzliches Recht,” Süddeutsche Juristen-Zeitung 1, no. 5 (1946): 105–108 (here 107). For an analysis of Gustav Radbruch’s formula, see: Stanley L. Paulson, “On the Background and Significance of Gustav Radbruch’s Post-War Papers,” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 26, no. 1 (2006): 17–40; Horst Dreier, “Die Radbruchsche Formel - Erkenntnis oder Bekenntnis?,” in Heinz Mayer, ed., Staatsrecht in Theorie und Praxis. Festschrift Robert Walter zum 60. Geburtstag (Vienna: Manz, 1991), 117–135; Christoph M. Scheuren-Brandes, Der Weg von nationalsozialistischen Rechtslehren zur Radbruchschen Formel: Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Idee vom ‘Unrichtigen Recht’ (Paderborn, Wien: Schöningh, 2006); Joachim Renzikowski, “Die Radbruchsche Formel – Hintergründe und Wirkungsgeschichte,” in Walter Pauly, ed., Rechts und Staatsphilosophie des Relativismus. Pluralismus, Demokratie und Rechtsgeltung bei Gustav Radbruch (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2011), 223–43; Arthur Kaufmann, “Gustav Radbruch und die Radbruchsche Formel,” Rechtshistorisches Journal 19 (2000): 604–611; Martin Borowski and Stanley L. Paulson, Die Natur des Rechts bei Gustav Radbruch (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015).

[3] For a detailed and critical analysis, see Horst Dreier, “Gustav Radbruch und die Mauerschützen,” Juristen-Zeitung 52, no. 9 (1997): 421–34.

[4] Several well-documented academic studies have been published to illustrate this point. See: Iuliu Crăcană, “Drept și Justiție în România comunistă” [Law and Justice in Communist Romania], Caietele CNSAS IV, 2, no. 6 (2010): 117–30; Iuliu Crăcană, “Drept și Justiție în România comunistă (II)” [Law and Justice in Communist Romania II], Caietele CNSAS IV, 1–2, no. 7–8 (2011): 57–70; Iuliu Crăcană, “Drept și Justiție în România comunistă (III). Un conflict între două instituții represive: Securitatea și Procuratura; Anii `50 - epurările avocaților” [Law and Justice in Communist Romania III. A conflict between two repressive institutions: the Securitate and the Prosecutor’s Office; The 1950s - the purges of lawyers], Caietele CNSAS VI, 1–2, no. 11–12 (2013): 185–204; Florian Banu, “Instrumentalizarea Justiției de către regimul comunist (1945–1958)” [Instrumentalization of Justice by the Communist Regime (1945–1958)], Caietele CNSAS II, 2, no. 4 (2009): 121–145.

[5] For the difference between the old Romanian legislation affecting denominations from 1928 and the Communist legislation, see George Enache, “Legea pentru regimul general al cultelor din 1928 și Decretul 177 din 4 august 1948. Privire comparative” [Law on the General Regime of Cults of 1928 and Decree 177 of 4 August 1948. Comparative overview], Analele Universității Dunărea de Jos din Galați. Seria Istorie 12 (2013): 107–149. According to the author, the Romanian Communist regime’s new legislation on religious denominations was nothing more than a readaptation of the old legislation based on the Russian Communist model.

[6] For mechanisms of oppression prior to 1948, see George Enache, “Strategii de infiltrare și atragere la colaborare a cultelor religioase elaborate de autoritățile procomuniste din România în perioada 1945–1947, cu o privire specială asupra cazului Bisericii Ortodoxe Române” [Strategies of infiltration and attraction to collaboration of religious cults developed by the pro-communist authorities in Romania between 1945 and 1947, with a special focus on the case of the Romanian Orthodox Church], Caietele CNSAS I, no. 1 (2008): 53–92.

[7] See my paper on the Romanian Communist legislation for the organisation and functioning of religious denominations: Răzvan Perșa, “Religious Freedom in the Romanian People’s Republic at the Beginning of the Establishment of the Totalitarian Communist Regime: A Legal and Canonical Approach,” Teologia 3 (2021): 57–86.

[8] To address this issue, see Titică Predescu, “Justiția comunistă ca mijloc de represiune [Communist justice as a means of repression],” in Experimentul Pitești – Reeducarea prin tortură: Opresiunea culturii tradiționale române din timpul dictaturii comuniste [The Pitesti Experiment - Re-education through torture: the oppression of traditional Romanian culture during the communist dictatorship] (București, Editura Fundației Culturale “Memoria”, 2006).

[9] See, for example, Decree 177/1948, but also Decree 178/1948 which is unfortunately not addressed and debated in the present Romanian academic literature. For a praising contemporary analysis of Decree 177/1948, see Liviu Stan, Legea cultelor [Law of Religious Denominations] (București: Tipografia Institutului Biblic și de Misiune Ortodoxă, 1950). For the general context, see Sebastian Dumitru Cârstea, “Aspecte ale vieții monahale ortodoxe ardelene în timpul perioadei comuniste” [Aspects of Orthodox monastic life in Transylvania during the communist period], Revista Teologică XVII, no. 3 (2007): 406–430.

[10] Alexandru Moraru, “Biserica româneasca sub dictatura comunistă” [The Romanian Church under the communist dictatorship], Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai-Theologia Orthodoxa 46, no. 1–2 (2001): 31–40.

[11] This analysis is rooted in a rigorous examination of various archival sources, with a particular emphasis on Ecclesiastical Archives from the Romanian Patriarchate, ANCSSA, and the Romanian National Archives. The historiographical method underscores our approach.

[12] Adrian Nicolae Petcu, “Activitatea Departamentului Cultelor în atenția Securității (1970–1989)” [The work of the Department of Religious Affairs under the attention of the Securitate], Caietele CNSAS II, 2, no. 4 (2009): 69.

[13] On the difficulty of addressing the complex personality of Father Arsenie Boca, see Vasile Vlad, “Dificultatea de a vorbi despre Părintele Arsenie Boca” [The difficulty of talking about Father Arsenie Boca], in Florin Dobrei, ed., Pătimitori și pătimire în închisorile comuniste [Victims and suffering in communist prisons] (Alba Iulia, Deva: Reîntregirea și Editura Episcopiei Devei și Hunedoarei, 2015), 211–16.

[14] On 16 April 2016, the first working meeting of the special theological metropolitan commission took place at the seat of the Bishopric of Deva and Hunedoara, with the aim of researching the life and activity of Father Arsenie Boca in order to prepare the documentation for the proposal of canonisation. A new stage in this process took place on 31 October 2016, at Prislop monastery, under the presidency of His Eminence Laurențiu, Metropolitan of Ardeal, when the work of this commission took place. The subject of the biography of Father Arsenie Boca is of great interest not only for Romanian believers and clergy, but also for academic research at all levels. In 2019, Decision no. 9612 of 29 October 2019 of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church requested greater research into the life and activity of Father Arsenie Boca for a possible future canonisation.

[15] Emilian Nica, “Le monachisme orthodoxe roumain crucifié: Le Décret 410/1959 du régime communiste,” Irenikon 84, no. 4 (2011): 550–61; Melchisedec Velnic, “Efectele Decretului 410/1959 privitor la viața monahală asupra mănăstirilor din regiunea Suceava” [The effects of Decree 410/1959 concerning monastic life on monasteries in the Suceava region], Analele Putnei no. 1 (2013): 341–65; Maria Mateoniu, “Le Décret d’État de 1959 – entre la peur et l’acceptation de la souffrance,” Martor. Revue d’Anthropologie du Musée du Paysan Roumain 15 (2010): 15–27; Adrian Nicolae Petcu, “Documente privind atitudinea patriarhului Justinian față de aplicarea Decretului 410/1959” [Documente privind atitudinea patriarhului Justinian față de aplicarea Decretului 410/1959], Caietele CNSAS, anul II, 2, no. 4 (2009): 333–43; Ioan Dură, Monahismul Românesc în anii 1948–1989: Mărturii ale românilor si considerații privitoare la acestea [Romanian Monasticism in the years 1948-1989: Testimonies of Romanians and considerations about them] (București: Harisma, 1994).

[16] As for the number of those excluded by the church before Decree 410/1959 of 28 October, the figures are different. Securitate reports show more than 1,200 monks and nuns removed from Romanian Orthodox monasteries before the decree. See Enache and Petcu, Monahismul ortodox și puterea comunistă în România anilor ’50 [Orthodox Monasticism and Communist Power in 1950s Romania] (Galați: Partener, 2009), 56.

[17] Such an approach can be found in the recent work published by Oliver Jens Schmitt, Biserica de stat, sau Biserica in stat? O istorie a Bisericii Ortodoxe Române: 19182023 [Church of the state, or Church in the state? A History of the Romanian Orthodox Church: 1918-2023] (București: Humanitas, 2023).

[18] For the importance and contribution of Patriarch Justinian in saving the Orthodox Church during the Communist regime in Romania, see George Enache and Adrian Nicolae Petcu, Patriarhul Justinian și Biserica Ortodoxă Română în anii 19481964 [Patriarch Justinian and the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1948-1964] (Galați, Partener, 2009); Lucian Turcescu and Lavinia Stan, “Church Collaboration and Resistance under Communism Revisited: The Case of Patriarch Justinian Marina’ (1948–1977,” Eurostudia 10, no. 1 (2015): 75–103.

[19] Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, “The Devil’s Confessors: Priests, Communists, Spies, and Informers,” East European Politics & Societies 19, no. 4 (2005): 655–85.

[20] A similar point is made in the book by Mihai Valică and Pavel Chirilă, Prigoana cea dinăuntru. Încercările drepților în Biserica lor [The inner persecution. The trials of the righteous in their Church] (București, Christiana, 2011).

[21] Following his request of 21 July 1949, Father Arsenie Boca moved into the Eparchy of Arad, under the canonical and pastoral jurisdiction of Bishop Andrei Magieru of Arad, receiving the blessing of Metropolitan Nicolae Bălan. On 8 August 1949, Metropolitan Nicolae of Transylvania sent a request to Bishop Andrei Magieru for the entry of Father Arsenie Boca into his diocese. See Archive of the Archdiocese of Arad (hereafter AAA), group III, file no. 317/1949, 579. On 16 August, the diocese of Arad asked the Ministry of Religious Affairs to transfer Arsenie Boca from Sâmbăta monastery to the Prislop monastery. See Archive of the Archdiocese of Arad, file no. 317/1949, entry 4957, 579v. However, the Archdiocese of Sibiu did not give up the budgeted position at the Sâmbăta monastery, refusing to transfer the position of Father Arsenie Boca, according to its addresses to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Diocese of Arad (address 7739/949). By addresses of 18 October and 4 November 1949, the Ministry of Religious Affairs refused as well to transfer the position of Arsenie Boca, although the Diocese of Arad had requested it. Bishop Andrei Magieru wrote to the ministry: “1. In Nov. 1948 he was installed as abbot of Prislop monastery by the metropolitan himself, Nicolae of Sibiu. 2. With address no. 7739/1949 Metropolitan Nicolae agreed that protosyncellus Arsenie Boca to pass to the eparchy of Arad. So, we do not understand why he could not be transferred with his salary.” AAA, group III, file no. 317/1949, entry 6217, 576. Therefore, Father Arsenie Boca was the abbot of Prislop monastery without a salary from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

[22] For the general context of Prislop monastery’s activity in the early 1950s, see George Enache and Adrian Nicolae Petcu, Părintele Arsenie Boca în atenţia poliţiei politice din România [Father Arsenie Boca in the attention of the political police in Romania] (Galați: Partener, 2009), 35–36.

[23] Although at first, after the relocation of Arsenie Boca to Prislop, the Hunedoara-Deva County Securitate Service confused Father Arsenie Boca’s name with A. Benie (see: ANCSSA (hereafter ANCSSA), Informative fund, file no. 2637, vol. 3, 66), soon the Securitate agents carried out a well-developed plan to silence Father Arsenie Boca and the personnel of Prislop monastery.

[24] ANCSSA, Penal Fund, file no. 13928, 44.

[25] ANCSSA, Informative Fund, file no. 2637, vol. 3, 59.

[26] Ibib., 58.

[27] On 13 March 1950, Lieutenant Colonel Crăciun sent a radio telegram from the General Directorate of Securitate requesting compromising material on Father Arsenie. At the end of this radio telegram, he stated: “Given that the above-named’s residence is at the Prislop monastery, where, as you have repeatedly reported, he worked miracles and sought to attract people, we believe that it is possible to gather compromising material showing his illegal activity.” ANCSSA, Informative Fund, file no. 2637, vol. 3, 63. An undated note by C. Lomânar, from Petrești-Alba, reported the following to the Securitate: “According to information the citizens of the municipality of Șugag began to go to the Prislop monastery in the Orăștiei region, where there is a monk priest who, people say, had cured a woman who had suffered for two to three years and no doctor could cure her of the illness she was suffering from, except this monk, they say that he can guess different things (people’s sins), saying that one ate meat on Wednesday, that another went into the monastery with cigarettes in his pocket and with a gun – that another is an infidel and others, which is that on different holidays people go to the place with the man with the so-called holy miracles. People say that he was arrested by the party, that the Communists are against the faith and other things that are very harmful. I think it would be the case to take measures to fight these miracles and healers of diseases.” ANCSSA, Penal Fund file no. 13928, 43. Following this note, on 29 May 1950, the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers’ Party asked the General Directorate of People’s Securitate to analyse the case, which, in an extensive report, tried to combat all these ‘miracles’ as rumors. At the end of this report, Securitate Lieutenant S. Chirică proposed the placement of father Arsenie Boca in a work unit or labour facility for two years. ANCSSA, Penal Fund, file no. 13928, 103–104: “In connection with the address of the CC.C. of the Romanian Workers’ Party (Political Administrative Section) No. 72 of 29 May 1950, concerning the note reporting the activity of a monk who allegedly performs ‘miracles’, I have the honour to report the following: … Shortly after his appearance at the Prislop monastery, the rumor spread that Arsenie Boca was a holy man and worked miracles. At the religious services held at the monastery, the crowd was growing, and Boca was conducting a mystical religious propaganda in the sense that he had superhuman powers that helped him heal the sick and perform various other miracles. Visitors came to the Prislop monastery from as far away as: Bucharest, Făgăraș, Brașov, etc. to see the ‘miracles.’ Thanks to this, an atmosphere similar to that of Petrache Lupu was created, but to a lesser extent, Arsenie Boca always contributing to the expansion of this atmosphere. He spread the rumor that he could make it rain if he wanted to. To many of the faithful he said that if the state police wanted to arrest him, the car that would take him would stop on the way.” On 11 August 1950, the Hațeg Securitate office reported to the Hunedoara Deva County Securitate Service the number of believers who came to the Prislop monastery.

[28] For a detailed biography of Father Arsenie Boca, see Adrian Nicolae Petcu, “Părintele Arsenie Boca (o biografie documentară)” [Father Arsenie Boca (a documentary biography)],” TABOR. Revistă de cultură şi spiritualitate românească 17, no. 2 (2023): 5–35; Adrian Nicolae Petcu, “Părintele Arsenie Boca (o biografie documentară) II” [Father Arsenie Boca (a documentary biography)], TABOR. Revistă de cultură şi spiritualitate româească 17, no. 3 (2023): 5–33.

[29] Within the Archdiocese of Arad’s Archive, specifically Class III, File 317 from 1949, several pertinent entries and notations regarding monastic admittances and departures can be found. As documented on page 504, Cretu Stanca was formally admitted to the monastery on 5 February 1957. Subsequent to this, on 5 April 1957, the monastery’s records (361) indicate that Bishop Andrei Magieru of Arad sanctioned the admittance of Suciu Ana. By 5 May 1957, Sister Breazu Doina had secured approval for her monastic induction. Additional archival references (351–353) from 3 August 1957 detail that sisters Gabriela Runceanu and Florica Ioan were granted entry permissions. On 16 September, the monastery’s registry (349) confirms Cretu Viorica’s admittance to the Prislop monastery. A noteworthy departure occurred on 25 August, wherein sisters Grădiștean Maria and Brânzea Eugenia vacated the monastery, the rationale cited being their inability to conform to the monastic standards during arduous times, as noted on f. 350. Furthermore, on 7 December 1957, Pr. Arsenie Boca appealed to the Bishopric, as evidenced by Decision 4.657/1957 on 499 page, to facilitate the departure of Sister Rudeanu Ana, owing to her impending extended eye treatment. Concurrently, as indicated by Decision 4.654/1957 on 498 pages, Pr. Arsenie sought ecclesiastical approval for the monastery entry of the young Suciu Lucia, then fourteen years of age.

[30] According to the Decision No. 5.504 of 20 December 1958, AAA, Class V, file no.196/1931.

[31] According to the AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 467.

[32] According to the Register of Document Entries, AAA, 1959, 82.

[33] For details on Prislop monastery, see Florin Dobrei, Scurt istoric al Mănăstirii Prislop [Short history of Prislop Monastery] (Deva: Editura Episcopiei Devei și Hunedoarei, 2011); Mircea Păcurariu, Istoria Mănăstirii Prislop [History of Prislop Monastery] (Arad: Editura Episcopiei Ortodoxe Române a Aradului, 2006); Mircea Păcurariu and Florin Dobrei, Mănăstirea Prislop: monografie istorică [Prislop Monastery: historical monograph] (Deva: Editura Episcopiei Devei și Hunedoarei, 2013).

[34] AAA, group III, file no. 317/1949, 463

[35] After analysing numerous documents in the archives of the Archdiocese of Arad, we can ascertain that the signature on all these documents is genuinely that of Bishop Andrei Magieru. Pavel Berariu, the legal consultant of the diocese during that period and spouse of Ofelia Berariu – Bishop Andrei Magieru’s niece – offers insight. Together with the monks from the Bodrog monastery, they looked after Bishop Andrei Magieru until his passing, providing us with detailed information regarding his health condition. Pavel Berariu applied for recognition as a jurisconsult on 5 February 1959, AAA, class III a, file no. 3/1959, being recognised by the Department of Religious Denominations on 1 March 1959. AAA, Class I, file no. 6/1958, 24. Letter from Ofelia Berariu and Pavel Berariu thanking them for their help at the funeral of Bishop Andrei Magieru. For a description of Bishop Andrei Magieru’s funeral and evocations of his personality, see Gheorche Lițiu, “Episcopul Dr. Andrei Magieru (1891–1960)~ [Bishop Dr. Andrei Magieru (1891-1960)], Mitropolia Banatului 30, no. 10–12 (1980): 718–21; Zaharia Iova, “Personalitatea ierarhului arădean Andrei Magieru” [The personality of the hierarch Andrei Magieru from Arad], Altarul Banatului 40, no. 5–6 (1990): 107–115.

[36] See: Adrian Nicolae Petcu, “Activitatea Departamentului Cultelor în atenția Securității (1970–1989)” [The activity of the Department of Religious Affairs under the attention of the Securitate (1970-1989)], 73–74; Adrian Nicolae Petcu, “Împuternicitul de culte între conformism și asigurarea libertății religioase” [The inspector for religious denominations between conformity and ensuring religious freedom], Caietele CNSAS, Anul VI, (1–2 /2013): 7–82.

[37] P. Berariu, Din viața episcopului dr. Andrei Magieru al Aradului: 19361960 [From the life of Bishop Dr. Andrei Magieru of Arad: 1936-1960] (Arad, 1997), 49.

[38] AAA, Class III, file 317, 1949, f. 463.

[39] ANCSSA, Documentary Fund, file no. 71, 482–484. This document has been published by several authors. See and Petcu, Monahismul orthodox, 96–97.

[40] Enache and Petcu, Monahismul ortodox, 47–49.

[41] ANCSSA, Documentary Fund, file no. 71, 106–107.

[42] Enache and Petcu, Monahismul ortodox, p. 41.

[43] ‘Art. 79. The supreme ruler of any monastery is the bishop, and in his absence the Abbot, who is the direct supervisor of the whole monastery, is in charge’.

[44] On 23 September 1955, Bishop Andrei Magieru approached Patriarch Justinian, requesting the Holy Synod’s approval to bestow the title of archimandrite upon the highly esteemed protosyncellus Arsenie Boca, a mere three days following his arrest. As per Article 82, paragraph 4 of the Statute of Organisation of the Romanian Orthodox Church, such a title required the endorsement of the Holy Synod. However, the title was never granted to Father Arsenie, as he faced arrest on 20 September 1955, and subsequently was excluded from the state payroll for a year, until 7 April 1956. Presented here for the first time is the letter from Bishop Dr Andrei Magieru to Patriarch Justinian regarding his request: “To the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church. Romanian Church. Bucharest. Your Most Blessed Patriarch, in accordance with the provisions of Article 82, last paragraph, of the Statute for the Organisation of the Romanian Orthodox Church, with brotherly love we ask you to kindly submit to the approval of the Holy Synod the conferral of the rank of archimandrite on the Most Reverend Protosyncellus Arsenie Boca, the confessor of the Holy monastery of Nuns Prislop, district of Hațeg, Hunedoara region. We base this proposal on the following considerations: Most Reverend Protosyncellus Arsenie Boca, with a degree in Theology, has a pure life and a particularly fruitful activity, unanimously recognised, especially in the reactivation of the monasteries of Sâmbăta de Sus and Prislop, as well as, in general, in the revival of the Transylvanian monasticism. With humble devotions. Arad, 23 Sept. 1955. Bishop Andrei.” AAA, Class I, file no. 13/1950, 72, registered under number 3550/24 IX 1955.

[45] Florin Duțu, “Și cărțile au fost deschise”. Părintele Arseniei Boca 19101989. O biografie [“And the books have been opened”. Father Arsenie Boca 1910-1989. A biography] (București: Floare de Colț, 2019), 181, footnote 385.

[46] ANCSSA, Documentary Fund, file no. 71, 482.

[47] The text of the Rules of Procedure for the Disciplinary Courts in Legiuirile Bisericii Ortodoxe Române sub Înalt Prea Sfințitul Patriarh Justinian 19481953 [Laws of the Romanian Orthodox Church under His Most Holy Patriarch Justinian 1948-1953] (Bucharest: Institutul Biblic și de Misiune Ortodoxă Printing House, 1953), 53–96.

[48] As early as 1950, Patriarch Justinian sent a directive on behalf of the Holy Synod concerning priests who had been condemned: ‘Article 29 of the Rules of Procedure of the Disciplinary Courts will be applied to condemned priests. Those sentenced with probation, as well as those detained and released without trial, will not fall under the provisions of Art. 29. They will function at in their posts, and their hierarchs will intervene at the Ministry of Religious Denominations for their remuneration, if they have been taken out of the State budget’. Document no. 11294/949 sent on 9 March 1950, AAA, class IIIa, file no. 213/1948, 459.

[49] “To Abbess Zamfira Constantinescu monastery of nuns Prislop Hațeg. We, Dr. Andrei Magieru, Bishop of Arad and Hunedora, according to the dispositions given by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church regarding the exclusion from the monasteries of those who by their activity harm the interests of the Church; Taking into account also the fact that the Abbess Zamfira Constantinescu of the monastery of Prislop has been guilty of disobedience and non-execution of the dispositions given by the ecclesiastical authority, we decide: Abbess Zamfira Constantinescu, of Prislop monastery, in accordance with Article 90 letter j of the Statute of Organisation of the Romanian Orthodox Church, is immediately suspended from the office of Abbess of Prislop monastery, and shall immediately leave Prislop monastery. The execution of the present decision is entrusted to the Eparchial Vicar Father Petru Vancu. Arad, 14 May 1959. Bishop Andrei.” AAA, Class III, file no. 31/1949, 462. The fact that this decision contains the final expression ‘for conformity’ shows that the text from the archive is a copy of the original document, taken by the Eparchial Vicar Petru Vancu and handed to Abbess Zamfira Constantinescu.

[50] “Statutul de organizare și funcționare al Bisericii Ortodoxe Române” [Statute of organization and functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church], in Legiuirile Bisericii Ortodoxe Române sub Înalt Prea Sfințitul Patriarh Justinian 19481953 [Laws of the Romanian Orthodox Church under His Most Holy Patriarch Justinian 1948-1953] (Bucharest: Institutul Biblic și de Misiune Ortodoxă Printing House, 1953).

[51] “To Deva Regional Militia. According to the dispositions of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, undesirable persons had to leave the monasteries where they were consecrated. Among them were the hieromonk Arsenie Boca, confessor at the monastery of nuns Prislop, in the Commune of Silvașul de Jos, district of Hațeg, and the abbess Zamfira Constantinescu, from the same monastery, who were informed on 22 April 1959 to leave the monastery within twenty-four hours. The above-named have not left the monastery to this day, so please take steps through your authorities to have them removed from the monastery today. Arad, 14 May 1959. Bishop Andrei.” AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 460

[52] AAA, Class V, file no. 196/1931, 49.

[53] ANCSSA, Informative Fund, file no. 230654, 20–21. This document is also published in Florian Bichir, Romeo Petrasciuc, and Raluca Toderel, Parintele Arsenie Boca in arhivele securitatii. Opis de documente, vol. 2 [Father Arsenie Boca in the security archives. Opis of documents] (Sibiu: Agnos, 2013), 637. However, in the text on page 637, we read that Father Arsenie Boca is summoned by the diocesan vicar to leave the monastery on the basis of the decision of December 1958 starting from "24 April 1958’. The editors had referred to 22 April 1959, a date which we find, indeed, in address 2710/1959 sent by the diocese of Arad to the Deva Regional Police on 14 May 1959 (see AAA, Class III, file 317/1949, 460).

[54] For example, when nun Ioan Floare-Irina was removed from the monastery, she received as well the amount of 1,500 lei for the purchase of civil clothing. AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 2, registered with no. 4370/15 Oct. 1959. Attached to this address to Vicar Petru Vancu are six statements regarding the residence of the nuns expelled from the monastery.

[55] He was no stranger to Prislop monastery. In 1957, while at the Hermitage of Sihăstria Voronei, Botoșani, he taught Church music at Prislop monastery for six months, having been invited by Abbess Zamfira on 29 December 1956, obtaining the approval of the diocese on 5 February 1957. AAA, class III, file no. 317/1949, 375, 377.

[56] The letter is signed by the Vicar Petru Vancu and the Secretary Gheorghe Perva. AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 454.

[57] AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 454.

[58] Decision no. 2.050/1959. AAA, Class V, file no. 196/1931, 47.

[59] Concurrently with decision 2051, the Diocese of Arad issued decision 2.051/1959 on that very date, temporarily appointing Sister Roman Paraschiva as the abbess of the monastery. This can be found in the AAA, Class V, file no. 196/1931, 46.

[60] Decision no. 2791/1959 AAA, Class V, file no. 196/1931, 36; Decision no. 2.792/1959 AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 446.

[61] Decision no. 2.632/1959, AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 449.

[62] AAA, Class III, file no. 317/ 1949, 448.

[63] AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 445.

[64] Decision no. 2.792/1959 AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 446.

[65] Document no. 3470/1 August 1959. AAA, Class III, File 317, 1949.

[66] Decision no. 3470/1959 of 31 August 1959: “In view of the fact that some of the former nuns of the monasteries of our diocese, who have left these monasteries and returned to their original parishes – have already repeatedly returned to the monastery, thus violating the provisions given to them, we ask you to instruct these former nuns, today again parishioners like others – not to return under any circumstances to the monasteries of the diocese of Arad. If they do not obey their spiritual shepherd and return here, we will be forced to evict them immediately. Arad, 31 August 1959 Eparchial Vicar Petru Vancu, Eparchial Secretary Gheorghe Perva.” AAA, Class III, file no. 317/ 1949, 436.

[67] Decision no. 4087/1959 in Archdiocese of Arad Archives, class III, file no.317/1949, 455-457. At the same time, the Monastery of St. Simeon the Pillar of Gai-Arad is also mentioned. AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 458 with the statement that ‘we ordered, on October 1, 1959 the transfer of the nuns.’

[68] Decision no. 4250/1959 AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 603: “Since you did not obey our address No. 4087/1959 by which you were directed to transfer to the convent of nuns St. Simeon the Pillar of Arad-Gai, and therefore you have been guilty of the crime provided for in art. 62 letter c of the Regulation for the Organisation of Monastic Life, namely of breaking the promise of monastic obedience, under art. 90 letter j of the Statute of Organisation of the Romanian Orthodox Church. We decide to suspend you, as of the date of the communication of the present address, from the functions you hold in the monastery of nuns Prislop, county Silvașul de Sus, district of Hațeg, Hunedoara region, and you must leave the monastery immediately. With the handing over of the inventory of the monastery, the monastery will give you the sum of 1,500 lei, as travel expenses and for the procurement of the necessary items, and you will hand over the monastic robe to the monastery.” The Department of Religious Denominations is therefore informed by address 4.535/1959 of the exclusion of the nuns on 23 October and of the existence of only ten nuns at Prislop monastery. See AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 599.

[69]  Address 4227/1959: “Considering that at the monastery of nuns Prislop in the county Silvașul de Sus district of Hațeg, Hunedoara region, we have six undesirable nuns, who according to the dispositions submitted must leave that monastery, as well as another series of ten nuns who – despite our repeated dispositions – do not want to transfer to the monastery of nuns in Arad-Gai, where there are more favourable conditions for work and monastic life, given that the above-mentioned sixteen nuns, after our repeated insistence, have made their departure from the monastery conditional on a certain amount of money, from which to provide for clothing and necessities … namely 1,500 lei per person/so a total of 24,000 lei, We kindly ask you to grant us a subsidy of 24,000 lei.” AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 605, 607.

[70] Decision no. 4419/1959 from October 17, 1959. AAA, Class III, file no. 317/1949, 595.

[71] See the General Report for the Exclusion Programme for Monks dated 27 March 1959: ANCSSA, Documentary Fund, file no. 71, 478–479. The document is also published in George Enache, Adrian Nicolae Petcu, Monahismul ortodox, 101–102.

[72] Decree 410/1959 from 28 October 1959 clearly indicates the church’s concerted efforts to delay the disbandment of the monasteries by adopting certain compromise measures. George Enache, “Misiunile Securității în problema ‘Culte’ la începuturile regimului communist” [Security Missions in the 'Cults' Issue at the Beginning of the Communist Regime], Analele Universității ‘Dunarea de Jos’ din Galați, no. 8 (2009): 190.