Saturday, September 22, 2012

St. Hierarch Martyr Teodosie de la Brazi, Metropolitan of Moldova

Together with St. Antim, Metropolitan of Wallachia and Constantin Brâncoveanu, Voievod of the same country, St. Teodosie. Metropolitan of Moldova complete the group of the Romanian martyr saints of the late Middle Age.

Abbot and Bishop

Saint Teodosie was born in at the beginning of the 17th century in Vrancea, a county situated on the border between Moldova and Wallachia. There was quite usual at that time that the young boy to enter the monasteries and the fact that Teodosie was a monk since his childhood is indeed not a singular case. The privilege of being tonsured so young consisted sometimes in gaining a good culture, because at that time fast all the Romanian schools were patronized by the monasteries. Because of his culture, Teodosie was appointed secretary to the office of Bogdana monastery, one of the important convents in Moldova, situated near Suceava, at that time the capital of the country. Later he was appointed abbot of the same monastery and took care of rebuilding the facilities.
In 1670 Teodosie was ordained Bishop of Radauti, and in 1671, he was transferred to Roman, where he continued his mission as spiritual father, but also church administrator.
The 17th century was a difficult period for Moldova, who was a disputed land between the Turks and the Poles, these being in a long war between 1672 and 1676. Although keeping its autonomy, Moldova was still under ottoman rule, which imposed many times the rulers, who usually changed very often, sometimes more than once in the year.  Because of a Turkish invasion, St. Metropolitan Dosoftei (1671-1673; 1675-1686), together with Prince Ştefan Petriceicu ( Aug. 1672 – Nov. 1673; Dec. 1673 – Feb. 1674; Dec. 1683 – Mar. 1684) and an important number of Moldavian noblemen were forced to flee to Poland in 1674.  The Turks completed soon the vacuum of power, imposing a new Prince, faithful to their politics, namely Dumitraşcu Cantacuzino (Nov. 1673-Nov. 1675 and 1684-1685). The new ruler enjoyed no popularity and resisted only by being helped by the Turkish and Tartar armies stationed on the Moldavian territory, this situation being very hard for the population, because of the many abuses these used to commit. In order to legitimize the rule, Dumitrasu named a new Metropolitan in the person of Theodosie, who was forced to accept the new position. The contemporary historian Ion Neculce writes in his Chronicle of Moldova that Dumitraşcu kept the Tartars in Moldova in order to stay as much on the throne, paying a high tribute, which came from the high taxes on Moldovans and the money collected from the monasteries. This situation couldn’t be accepted any longer and “Metropolitan Teodosie went to Prince Dumitraşcu Cantacuzino saying: What are these Your Highness, are you alike the Antichrist? And the Lord became angry and took him out of the office with dishonesty”, only one year after the appointment, and banished him at St. Sava Monastery in Iasi.
Dumitraşcu lost his throne not long after. In 1675 Ştefan Petriceicu and Metropolitan Dosoftei returned from Poland, freeing Teodosie from his prison. Because there couldn’t be two metropolitans at once and a “relegation” in the hierarchical rank is not possible, Teodosie retired in his homeland, living sometimes in Focsani, an important town in the region, and sometimes at Bogdana Monastery, where he used to be abbot.
St. Teodosie depicted as Monk

Taking care for the monasteries

As a retired bishop, he used his money and influence in order to reconstruct the monastery from Brazi, where there were built a new church and cells for the monks. In order to establish a special monastic rule, Teodosie brought there Zaharia, an old abbot, who lived for a while in Mount Athos.
 In 1688, while being in Focsani, Teodosie was kidnapped by the Greek friends of the former ruler Dumitraşcu Cantacuzino and taken to Wallachia. Here he was imprisoned and tortured, being investigated for treason. He managed to escape after 10 weeks and returned to Brazi. In the next years he planned in detail the construction of another three hermitages in the region, but he didn’t manage to finish his project.
Brazi monastery at the holiday of St. Teodosie
In the fall of 1694 the Tartars came again in Moldova, causing great damages in the south of the country, destroying several churches and taking people as slaves. The old bishop Teodosie foreknew his near end and therefore prepared himself for that. Soon there came a band of Tartars at Brazi, who had tortured him and asked for the treasures of the monastery. He refused to discover them, so the Tartars beheaded him. In the following night, some Christians buried him in hurry.
Brazi Monastery

The Relics of St. Teodosie

Saint Antipas from Calapodesti (1816-1882, commemorated on 10 January), was a novice at Brazi monastery in 1842, when the relics of Metropolitan Teodosie were discovered. He wrote that “Archimandrite Dimitrie, prior to be abbot of Brazi, lived a harsh ascetical life in a big forest, were he once found by chance a pot filled with gold coins. He found a note in the pot, which said that the money belongs to Metropolitan Teodosie, who hid them there, foreseeing his martyrical death by the hands the Turks ... who would have found this money was indebted to build up a convent and three hermitages ... and at the ending of the latter hermitage, he will find also my relics”. Archimandrite Dimitrie fulfilled the last wish of Metropolitan Teodosie, and in the courtyard of the third hermitage he ordered the digging of a grave for himself.
Abbot Dimitrie wrote himself about this event, on February 20, 1842: “I have wished to make my grave in the cemetery at Brazi, justin the middle of the place where it was once the old church. And digging deep six hands [...] I have found the place where, at the legs of the deceased Metropolitan Teodosie, the founder of Brazi Monastery, there was the head of my grave. And digging up further, I have found the whole body with the bones strung and the head I found upside down, put on a big brick in croissants, as it is known that he was cut by the Tartars and buried at night by some believers”. Saint Antipas noted also that, “I myself made me worthy to see and kiss the relics, from which it came out a very fragrant perfume”.
The relics of the Saint
On May 6, 1842, the relics of St. Teodosie were placed in a new tomb, built in the northern part of the underground chapel of Brazi monastery. Later, his head was taken out from the tomb and sat in order to be worship in that chapel. Here it remained until 1959, when it was put back in the tomb, in the year when the monastery was dissolved after a communist decree.
After reopening the monastery and the restoration that followed, Abbess Justina rediscovered the relics on March 20, 2000.
The official decision of the Romanian Holy Synod of Bishops, concerning canonization of the St. Hierarch Martyr Teodosie happened during the meeting from March 4-5, 2003. The Liturgy of proclaiming the canonization took place on October 5, 2003, at Brazi monastery, in Vrancea County.
Since then, St. Teodosie from Brazi is celebrated in Romania on September 22.
The Grave of St. Teodosie, under the church

Troparion of Holy Hierarch Martyr Teodosie from Brazi

Hierarch Teodosie, you have shown yourself as an eternal bright candlestick and a big defender of the Church of Christ. You shone through ministry and martyrdom, as a pure sacrifice, bringing yourself to the Master of all; We glorify your remembrance, asking God to bestow peace and great mercy to our souls!”

Film about the monastery at Brazi!

1 comment:

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Matthew 6:33-34; Philippians 4:8; 2 Peter 3:17; Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:11; John 16:33; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Matthew 6:33; 1 Peter 5:7; Mark 6:31; Ephesians 5:15; John 5:30; Colossians 3:17; Genesis 2:2-3; 1 John 2:15-17; Philippians 4:13; Isaiah 41:13; 1 John 4:1; Philippians 1:6; Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 2:15; Matthew 7:7; 1 John 1:4; Acts 2:42; Luke 10:38-42; Matthew 20:28; 2 Timothy 1:7; Galatians 5:22; John 14:6; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19; John 8:32; John 1:1-51; Mark 1:35; Matthew 28:20; Matthew 22:29; Matthew 21:28; 1 Corinthians 6:15; John 14:26; John 1:1; Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 6:5-9; Proverbs 16:11;
    Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 20:23; Isaiah 46:6; John 12:25; Isaiah 40:12; Isaiah 40:15; Psalms 62:9; 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4; 1 Peter 5: 8-9; Psalm 144: 1; Ephesians 6: 11; Ephesians 6: 12; Ephesians 6: 14; Deuteronomy 3: 22; 1 Timothy 6: 12; 2 Timothy 4: 7; 2 Timothy 4: 18; Colossians 2: 15; 2 Samuel 22: 3; 2 Samuel 22: 4; James 4: 7; Isaiah 59: 19; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4-5; 1 Corinthians 15: 57; 2 Corinthians 2: 14; Isaiah 54:17; Luke 10:19; Jeremiah 29:11-13; Romans 8:18; Exodus 35:35; Psalm 37:4; Joshua 1:8; Proverbs 16:3; Isaiah 45:3; Titus 3:14; Psalm 37:5-6; Isaiah 54:2-3; Romans 8:38-39; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Deuteronomy 30:16; Mt 22:36-40; Lk 10:25-37; Mt 16:24, 25; Lk 9:23; Mt 20:26,27; Mt 23:11,12; Lk 22:24-27; Lk 14:26; 2 Tim 3:2-5; Jn 12:25; Jn 13:16,17; Jn 15:5; I Cor 1:18,19; I Cor 4:3-5; I Cor 13:2; I Cor 13:4,5; 2 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 5:15; 2 Cor 10:12,18; Eph 3:8; I Tim 1:15; Rom 7:24; Rom 12:3b; Gal 6:3,4; I Cor 10:24; Eph 5:21; 2 Cor 11:30; Phil 2:3; Heb 13:17; I Pet 5:5b-7; Col 3:12; Eph 4:2; Js 4:10; Lk 6:31; Lk 6:32; I Jn 2:16,17; Phil 2:5-8; 2 Cor 12:6,7; Gen 18:27; Exo 3:11,12; Jdg 6:14-16; Jdg 7:2; Job 1:8b; Job 25:5,6; Job 42:6; Prv 22:4; Prv 16:5,18,19; Prv 18:12; Dt 10:12; Dt 8:17,18; Dt 6:4-9; Mic 6:8; Psa 62:9; Ezk 6:9; 20:43; 36:31; Isa 41:24; 2:22; Isa 47:8,10,11; Jer 1:6-9; Psa 115:1; Psa 36:2; Psa 34:18; Psa 51:17; Psa 101:5b; Isa 6:5; Prv 15:33; Prv 29:23; Prv 6:16-19; Prv 8:13b; Prv 11:2; Prv 13:10; Prv 21:4; Prv 25:27; I Ki 3:5-9; Prv 26:12; Prv 27:2; Prv 28:26; Psa 31:23; Psa 18:27; Psa 138:6; Job 40:4; Jer 9:23,24; Jer 17:7,8; Isa 66:2; Psa 139:13-15

    Thank you Blessed Saint, for praying for us, healing, cleansing, deliverance. I offer you my small business, my son's soul and works to commit to the Lord and bondage breaking in these areas of scripture. Erich, my nieces/nephews, godchild their parents grandparents ggrandparents, etc. Karin S.