It is almost hallucinatory how Father George exhumation was broadcasted over the local media, TV stations and blogs in Romania. As the events unfolded, upon opening father’ tomb by several monastics during his seven years memorial, we can only say how right was Father George in the statements that he made in his last will, and how the devil can use the spirit of piety manifested upon finding soneone’s incorrupt body, to deceive many.
It’s even more troubling to see, after father passing in the Lord, how the devil continues to fight even with his remaining, trying to stain the memory of a man who sanctified his whole life through many hardships. One can wonder, how is this man pleasing to Christ’s rest now?… when his body became the target of attacks that are foreign to the spirit of Orthodoxy.
And if we understood that someone’ martyrdom happens usually during his life time, in this case Satan is showing a new face, battling in our times even the bodies of those pleasing to God who have stepped into eternity.
Just as Father George once said:
“Between our bodies and our souls, there exist a relationship that it’s never lost. Even if the body returns to earth, this connection between the body and the soul is not disbanded, as something that will be fulfilled at the last judgment. “
And despite the hate that the devil manifests towards those pleasing to Christ, I believe that Father George who was tested in the fire of communist prisons, will come out victorious once again from this battle, after his falling asleep.
And if the Lord allowed this to happen, may it be towards a greater glory to him. May it be that the machinations that took place at the uncovering of Father George relics, will strengthen our prayers and bring us even more in the communion with Father, and with all the saints pleasing to God, part of His Triumphant Church.
Father George passed on November 21, 2006. According to his last wish, he was buried in the land that he loved and never forgot, at Petru Voda Monastery, Romania. In his last will father said:
“First, you must know that the Father Abbot of Petru Voda Monastery, Archimandrite Justin Pārvu, offered my wife and I, two near by graves in the monastery cemetery, because as I had lived my life near my wife Adriana, I want to be joined with her after death, as the one who helped me in many difficult circumstances, with a courage that I never suspected at her before. In front of our toms, please place a single stoned cross, barring our names, our date of birth and repose and, a call to those who will visit our tombs to pray for us.
According to the U.S. custom, my body will be deposited in a funeral home that will fulfill the procedures for a reposed body to be transported in Romania.
After the washing of my body by the funeral home, ask an Orthodox priest to wash my flesh with wine and oil, saying the customary prayers of the Church over by body. Then dress me with priestly garments and place on my chest the icon of the Virgin Mary, carved in bone and framed in wood, which was given to me at the hospital in Bucharest by his Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist of Romania, which gave the blessing to do so. In my right hand place the Holy Cross and the prayer rope offered to me by the nuns of Diaconesti Monastery; these I will take with me to the grave ‘
(Father George Calciu’ will, November 12, 2006, Military Hospital in Bucharest).
As if he oversaw what will happen over the years, Fr. George left a very clear and uncontested will:
“I know that my funeral will be surrounded by a certain solemnity, which I do not merit upon death, neither that I deserved it during my life time. People will talk and create legends, but God will distinguish the truth from the legend and will reveal me as been a sinner and an unworthy (…)
I spoke above about that spirit of piety manifested among faithful that can go wrong, and can create false miracles. Therefore, please dear Reverend Father Abbot Justin, find a way to prevent such things: whether you leave a document at the monastery or place it in my coffin. The devil might use this popular piety to prevent my body corruption and then to become the works of error.
If over the years, due to construction needs or for other reasons, my body will be uncovered, and to the astonishment of many, will be found incorrupt, have the priests read prayers over it, for my body to be decomposed into the earthly elements, as not from God was this miracle, but through the deception of the devil.
Let the priests who saw this, be silent, and not speak about this false miracle, and my body be placed in another tomb to be eternally forgotten.”
(Father George Calciu, October 28, 2006, Military Hospital, Bucharest, published in he book “The Life of Father George Calciu, Christiana Press, 2007)
One of the theologian and father’ spiritual child (Lucian Popescu) present at father 7 years memorial at Petru-Voda, wrote:
“I recently learned that the body of Father George was uncovered, that it has the appearance of the relics of the saints, that it is fragrant and it was placed in the Elder Justin Pārvu’ cell!
However, Elder Justin Pārvu, who passed away seven months before Father George’ seven years memorial, instructed that the body of Father George may be unearthed at 7 years. I was aware of this fact, but I’m not in the position to give or find a justification for the decision of Archimandrite Justin. There are spiritual perspectives that are impossible to probe with logic, due to lack of an appropriate forum to judge such.
At this point, I do not know the details of opening Father George’ tomb and I think they are less important. It is something done, which cannot be undone.
The important point is that the testamentary letter that Father George left (see above) can be taken as the equivalent of any righteous attitude before his death, who says with conviction that he is the greatest sinner that ever lived.
And it is also essential that no treasure, if proven to be true, may be misused, wasted, or worse, turned into a scandal.
For father George was right when he said that the spirit of popular piety can wander in error and this kind of mistake is still an error…
A lot has been said when Father Calcium fell asleep, but even more now, after the discovering his relics, due to the fact that Father, wrote in his will addressed to Abbot Justin of Petru Voda Monastery, the following:
“If over the years, due to construction needs or for other reasons, my body will be uncovered, and to the astonishment of many, will be found incorrupt, have the priests read prayers over it, for my body to be decomposed into the earthy elements, as not from God was this miracle, but through the deception of the devil.
Let the priests who saw this, be silent, and not speak about this false miracle, and my body placed in another tomb to be eternally forgotten.”
As we will see below, in an interview given by Father George in 2006 and in other sources, Fr. George knowing people thirst for the miraculous, whether being believers or atheists, feared that such event will be speculated by the devil who wants to lead many astray, separating them from God. Father didn’t want that after falling asleep, to become a source of stumbling error for any of his younger brother, and his body, if found incorrupt, to become a means of idolatry for those weak in faith.
For such reasons, father specified in his will that if his body will be found as such, “to be reburied and forgotten”, and priests be bound “not to ever talk on this.”
Also kindly Father George gave a similar word in his will, if at his funeral or memorial “will come a bishop who would like to talk, let him talk” but “if no bishop will come, no one may give a sermon”. We can understand from this that if during his relics discovery, any priest saw them, they were bound to silence, however “the local bishop or any hierarch” are not under this infringement regarding desire expressed by Father’ will.
It is especially the duty of the local bishop to take a wise decision regarding Father exhumation and the finding of his incorrupt body, as this raises questions in relation to father last’ will, more so because the way it was taken out of the grave. Besides the local bishop, it also the duty of the Synod of the Orthodox Church to speak on the finding of any relics, such as Father’s Elijah Lacatusu and more recently of Father George Calciu. (…)
Personally, I believe that Father George Calciu’ wish for his body to be “placed in another tomb to be eternally forgotten”, provides a deep sense of brotherhood with those who also suffered in communist prisons, yet a lot of them having been thrown by the communists into mass unknown graves.
Thinking of them, father didn’t want to be honored by people, while the bodies of his brothers in suffering are still hidden in the womb of the earth. It is a great mystery of God, and this does not diminish at all the holiness of those worthy, although some of them are (yet) unknown to us or without any trace of their earthly remains, while others also God-holy pleasers, have holy relics that can be touched and venerated by the faithful.
The veneration of the holy icons and the veneration of the relics of the saints must have reference to God, as One Who made them worthy of His grace, and Who comes to our help by His great mercy. Consequently, overlooking or hiding under the veil of forgetfulness, and not honor what was left to us as a bridge to Him, will impoverish our communion with God through the personal connection with His saints.
However we must never lose sight of the wiles of the devil who will use the holy objects to mislead those weak in faith, those whose faith is synonymous to superstition, those who find opportunities to confuse holiness with magic, or those who exult themselves though the grace of the saints. All these and many other falls wonderings the enemy of mankind works, from which one can escape only thorough the power of blessed humility.
May we ask in all things, that the will of God be done first and completely, as we pray that in Father’ case things may happen according to His will. “
Father George’ body that has been taken out of the tomb few weeks ago was re-buried Tuesday, December 9, in another tomb in the Petru-Voda monastery’ cemetery, following the decision of the local Metropolitan of Moldovia and according to Father George’ will.
May his memory be eternal!
Excerpt from the sermon given by Father George Calciu, December 4, 2005 at Holy Cross Orthodox Church, Falls Church, VA
[…] You have heard of weeping icons, of icons that spring mirth or icons that heal. You have heard of saints who have passed and were found incorrupt. You have heard of saints whose bodies although dead, instead of spreading bad odor, spring nice fragrance. You have heard of relics that spring mirth. All these are things that are against nature, but God, in His power make all these happen. How does God work, for a saint’ body not to become corrupt? How does God work for example, for the holy relics to spring forth mirth? How does the saint work the miracle?
The Holy Orthodox Church says that, between our bodies and our souls, it exists a relationship that it’s never lost. Even if the body becomes corrupted, this connection between the body and the soul is not disbanded, as something that will be fulfilled at the last judgment.
At the last judgment we all shall rise again. All the billions of people that ever lived on earth and have died will be resurrected and will have a thinned body, a spiritual body, not a body that is heavy, requiring food and drink, or other things… It will a body that will not suffer if it has done good, or it will otherwise be condemned to hell.
(to be continued)