Draganescu Sistine Chapel

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The Romanian Orthodox Church is considering a Romanian monk persecuted by the communists and known as the “saint of Transylvania” for sainthood. … Boca, who became a monk in 1940, was harassed by the Securitate secret police, detained and did forced labor on the Black Sea Canal, a notorious labor camp where tens of thousands of political prisoners worked in the 1950s. In 1959, he was banned from leading worship and the Prislop monastery, where he is now buried, was converted into a retirement home. He was forced to retire from the church in 1968 and spent 15 years painting religious images and icons in the small church of Draganescu in southern Romania. The church’s interiors are now considered among the most beautiful in the country. Elder Arsenie Boca reposed in the Lord in early 1989, a month before Romania’s anti-communist revolt, aged 79. Though he is not yet canonized, Elder Arsenie’s grave, located in Prislop Monastery, is visited by tens of thousands of pilgrims every year, where many miracles occur. One miracle which everyone can see is that the flowers over his grave never die or wither , neither in the hot summer or the frigid winter.

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For his amazing life, the  documentary “Fr. Arsenie Boca – Man of God” is a MUST.  “His colleagues at the Theological Academy of Sibiu named him ‘The Saint’, he is considered a founding father of the Romanian Philokalia by father Dumitru Staniloaie, who thought of him as an unparalleled phenomenon of Romanian monasticism.

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Sought after and followed by thousands of believers eager to quench their spiritual thirst from his inexhaustible spring of serenity; legendary for his prophesying and healing gifts, painter of souls and painter of churches, man of culture, philosopher of sciences and religion, father Arsenie Boca was, just like Saint Basil as depicted by him in his essential work The Path of the Kingdom.

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A disciple calmly walking across the stormy seas, an unmoving pillar against the troubled waves, a man among people, providing guidance and strength with otherworldly serenity, unflinching in the belief that God alone is ruler of our world. An unequaled personality, a magnet for thousands of people in all walks of life, and also a target for suspicion for the authorities of his day, who failed to understand the source of his exceptional power to gather people around him.” 

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As one person interviewed in this documentary says: “Fr. Arsenie made Christ transparent to us.” He still does. His presence in the midst of us after his passing is a reminder of the proximity of Heaven. This film is an opportunity to (re)discover it for ourselves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptbTap5NHqw

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The Sistine Chapel of the Romanians: the Draganescu Church

Father Arsenie Boca lived in Draganescu for 20 years and in 1968 he began painting the parish church, a work that took him more than 15 years. As he wasn’t allowed to celebrate service, some of the priests who visited the church over the years claim that Arsenie Boca has actually painted the sermons he delivered at Sambata de Sus.

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Rainbow colors reverberating in frescoes, light flowing from Christ’s Resurrection, Heaven trickling down through the painting brush, that’s the way the murals painted by Orthodoxy beacon Arsenie Boca at the “St. Nicholas” Church of the Draganescu town – Giurgiu County can be translated and rendered into metaphor. …

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Prophetic Artist in Shackles

His frescoes are diaphanous, and the images are accompanied by metaphors referring to people’s weaknesses and sins, by aphorisms, quotations from the Holy Scripture, sometimes by teachings of the Father and biblical scenes: the Resurrection, a picture of hell, the Group of the Righteous. The paintings are said to have a visionary, prophetic content, as it is known that Father Arsenie Boca had the gift of spiritual far-sight: one of the scenes, two tall buildings engulfed in flames, is said to allude to the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers, not to mention those where items like a cell phone, a space shuttle, satellite dishes, all unusual things in that period, appear.

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For his paintings, the art documentary “Picturi ale pr. Arsenie Boca pe biserica din Drăgănescu” at https://vimeo.com/82791105 is a MUST. Also, go to http://www.themidlandhostel.com/the-sistine-chapel-of-the-romanians-the-draganescu-church/ and http://www.agerpres.ro/engleza-destinatie-romania/2014/11/22/destination-romania-the-draganescu-church-swathed-in-father-arsenie-boca-s-prophetic-paintings-18-04-37 and watch a short art film “Father Arsenie Boca, one of Romania greatest Saint”  at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r6ZX8M8vwY

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Morning prayer by Arsenie Boca
Lord Jesus Christ, help me let go of myself today, as I can create great problems from small and insignificant issues, and this way, caring for myself, I will lose You.

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Lord Jesus Christ, help me so that the prayer of Your Holy name will wander (work) through my mind more than lightning on the sky, so that I stay clear of even the shadow of bad thoughts as, look, I am sinning every minute.
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Lord, coming secretly amongst people, have mercy upon us, because we stumble as we are walking in the dark. Our temptations are closing the eyes of our mind, forgetfulness has become like a wall amongst us, turning our hearts to stone and all together have made the prison cell in which we keep You crippled, starving and naked, wasting our days.
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Lord, coming secretly amongst people, have mercy upon us and set fire to this prison cell, light up the love in our hearts, burn the thorns of our temptations and make our souls bright.

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Lord, coming secretly amongst people, have mercy upon us, come and live within us, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit prays through us with unspoken sighs, when word and mind don’t have the power.

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Lord, coming secretly amongst people, have mercy upon us, because we don’t realise how imperfect we are and how close You are to our souls; and how distant we become through our sins. Shine Your light over us, so that we see light through Your eyes and live eternally through Your life. Our light and joy, praise be to You!

Amen!

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Faces of Freedom, Lives of Courage

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Faces of Freedom, Lives of Courage

By Thomas Sears & Radu Cristea

Faces of Freedom, Lives of Courage is a fragment of communist Romania’s history seen through the unique and shocking experiences of nine individuals. Leontina, a nineteen-year-old student who hides a letter addressed to Radio Free Europe that was thrust into her hands by an acquaintance who was being pursued by the Securitate. This naiveté leads to interrogation, beatings, torture and imprisonment in one of many of Romania’s extermination camps. Razvan, a German professor who, at a great danger to himself, took pictures of the army firing on unarmed, peaceful demonstrators in Cluj Napoca on December 21, 1989. Grigore, a law student after WWII, who was imprisoned by the Securitate in an effort to eliminate “resistance groups,” and beaten and tortured for a year before his official trial, which sentenced him to many years of hard labor. This book provides interviews of those above as well as 6 other individuals whose lives were drastically changed while living under communism and later under the vicious regime of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu.

http://www.amazon.com/Faces-Freedom-Lives-Courage-Thomas/dp/1625103859

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For more information please watch:

(a) the trailer of the book at :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqX9lSy7Kpg

(b) excerpts of the nine individuals’/prisoners’ interviews—unique and shocking experience at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tTJ88hpG48&index=2&list=PL1H1BhlE_PRnyYShr0KUILeITD474uQHd

(c) Jon R. Kennedy, author, speaker, missionary at large, interview of the authors in Romania at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLRP_dYDb74

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Genocide of the Souls

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The Genocide of the Souls  — The Pitesti Phenomenon (1949-1951)

“However, what has not yet become universal knowledge is the fact that in the Romanian Gulag Archipelago there was an island of absolute horror, such as existed nowhere else in the entire geography of the communist penitentiary system: Pitesti Prison.” – Virgil Ierunca, Pitesti Phenomenon.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the 1970 Nobel Prize laureate for literature, refers to the Pitesti experiment as the “most terrible act of barbarism in the contemporary world”.

Historian François Furet, member of the French Academy, regards the Pitesti phenomenon as “one of the most terrible experiments in dehumanisation that our epoch has known”.

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Between 1949 and 1951, the destruction of society”s elite was almost complete: intellectuals, diplomats, priests, officers, magistrates, policemen, and politicians of the “bourgeois-landowner regime” were in prison; the most industrious peasants had been deported to forced labour camps. Collectively and individually, they were all labelled “enemies of the people”. It now remained to annihilate the unpredictable social force of youth. For the latter, the Pitesti experiment was invented (termed “re-education” by the Securitate). The most barbarous methods of psychological torture were applied to “recalcitrant” young prisoners, with the object of making them reciprocally humiliate each other, physically abuse each other and mentally torture each other. Victims were transformed into executioners; prisoners were tortured by their own friends, by their fellows in suffering. The purpose: “re-education” through physical and psychical destruction, the transformation of young people into atheists, into informers on their friends.

For more information, watch an excellent documentary: BEYOND TORTURE — The gulag of Pitesti ROMANIA at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QGUTBXgz3g

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“When you said, ‘I still believe in God,’ in five minutes you were full of blood”. – Roman Braga

“Many of us died, many of us became mad, but in some of us the good triumphed”. – George Calciu

These chilling words from two survivors of a brainwashing prison in Pitesti, Romania are sad reminders of the legacy of Stalinist communism. Beyond Torture: The Gulag of Pitesti, Romania documents the persecution of Romanians under the communist regime. Electrical shock, hallucinogenic drugs, near starvation and fatal beatings were daily rituals in the prison of Pitesti, Romania. But this sadistic story goes beyond torture: this was an attempt to totally destroy a people’s culture and faith.

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In 1949, Stalinist Soviets began a systematic sweep of Romanian college campuses. Their purpose was to imprison and transform young Romanians into a communistic way of thinking. One prisoner describes this re-education as the most vile tortures imaginable. Orthodox priest Father George Calcui says, “They tried to destroy our souls.”  But he and others survived this gulag, lived to tell their stories and even forgave their captors.

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In this documentary, you’ll meet three survivors from the prison of Pitesti and see shocking paintings that capture the essence of the extreme torture. This documentary also includes an in-depth one-hour interview with Father Roman Braga: prison survivor and spiritual leader. Don’t expect a typical tale of woe. What comes through from the priests being interviewed — most especially Fr. Roman Braga, now in America — is a surprising theme: forgiveness…and even joy.

Outside of Romania, this DVD is the first major historical documentation of the Pitesti experience.

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Also, go to http://www.thegenocideofthesouls.org/public/english/the-pitesti-experiment/

To http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~cama20z/classweb/worldpolitics/thepitestiphenomenon/experience.html

And to http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2012/06/documentary-on-romanian-gulag-of.html

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