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“This my life” – In the loving memory of Archbishop Iustinian Chira

“I will stay at the gate of Heaven and I will wait for you all to arrive there.
Because I will ask God, Where are the ones who are not present here?”

“I wished from the depth of my heart for this movie/clip not to have been made. I did not seek publicity, Never In My Life, but because you have decided, I could not refuse you and I cannot refuse anyone who has good and honest thoughts. I have tortured myself all night and I was planning not to come to the Rohia Monastery and to tell you that I do not wish to appear in this movie, but you said that this movie would be of use to the people. And this is what has determined me to go ahead with this movie, with a profound consideration to the ones who will watch it. I consider that I Am Not Worthy and I do not wish to praise myself. These are just some flashes from my modest and humble life of God’s Servant and the Servant of the faithful people” (This Is My Life YouTube – Romanian version)

“This is my life”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4anB-7H7BTQ

Quoted above is the introduction of a movie clip titled “This is my Life” posted on YouTube and for those who understand … this says it all. We have been so blessed to have known Archbishop Iustinian Chira, or as we and the whole population of Maramures and Romania knew him as “Saint Iustinian Chira“. We have known Archbishop Iustinian Chira personally for over 50 years and our personal experiences and blessings which we have received from His Grace, are a testimony of his Endless Love for the common, simple people. It is something from another world, a world which for an inexperienced and simple person like me, is hard to put into words. This is why in this article, with the blessings of our spiritual father, I will only attempt to translate, some of the testimonies of Archbishop Iustinian Chira himself, asking Lord Jesus Christ to help me in this endeavor. I only wish I could convey to you the Love, the Fire, the Simplicity in his traditional language which His Grace used, but as I cannot, I ask you to watch the video clips following the links included in this article, even though they are in Romanian, because the language of Love is the same in all languages, and this is how you will receive the blessings and full benefit of His Grace’s Holy words. As Archbishop himself said in one of his books (”Live Beautifully and in Joy”) to some pilgrims: “I bless you! This whole summer I want you to think about the Rohia Monastery. You know why? Because then you will receive the blessings of Bishop Iustinian” (pg. 73)

Archbishop Iustinian Chira was born in a village called Plopis, on the morning of Pentecost Sunday, 28 May 1921, as all the church bells were ringing and when all the clergy attended the Holy Liturgy. Just the same, his departure was also on a Sunday, 30 October 2016, in the morning during the Holy Liturgy which His Grace loved to serve so much, which according to many of the Romanian Hierarchs was a testimony of his unshaken faith: “This is how God showed us how much He loves Archbishop Iustinian”. He recalled this moment with so much humility and joy and recalled the words of his mother as she explained to him on many occasions, that the midwife, whom everyone in the village respected tremendously having been considered somewhat of a saint, said a few times to the Archbishop’s mother “You have a son and he will be a great man”, almost as a prophecy. These words have spread in the entire village to this day. But, Archbishop Iustinian said with tears in his eyes: “I am embarrassed/hesitant to say this word today because I am afraid that I did not fulfill the prophecy of the midwife. Yes, with the rank, I am together with people who have certain distinctions, but “a great man” in the true sense of the word, I am afraid that I have not reached that state. This means to be a whole man, a true man because you can be a “great man” with the rank and a small man with nature. A “great man” has to be a man with a great soul, with a great character, and for this, I have fought all my life until now at the age of 85 and I am afraid that I still have not become one.” (This is My Life)

“At the age of 16, his father passed away in a most peaceful, beautiful Christian way, asking Archbishop Iustinian to pick him up from the bed and put him down on the floor. His last words were “Take care of you mum” and then he asked Archbishop Iustinian to read the Paraclesis Prayer of Holy Mother of God (Intercessory Prayer). I kneeled next to my father and I started to read the Paraclesis from a very old book with my face on his chest and as I was reading I felt that my father was falling asleep. He fell asleep, he did not die. There was no sound, no sigh, no tremble. This is why the Paraclesis of Mother of God for me in a way is a comfort in good times and in bad times because through this Paraclesis, my father called the Mother of God and She assisted him in his death. Above all, I have the certitude that the Mother of God protects us. For us Christians (I will now tell you a big word) more than God himself is the Mother of God. Not because She is the same as God or because She is higher than God, no, but because She is “mother” and because She has the most noble feelings of a mother.

For me God was present, I did not live in an empty, wild place without God, the angels were present, not in my imagination, they were invisible but present, I did not try to imagine how God was, and even though I was a child I knew that this was beyond us to try to understand. For me, the spiritual world was just as real as the material world. I was always governed by a nostalgic feeling of missing someone tremendously, desiring another space, another world. I felt exiled when I was a child and I cried many times, such sorrowful tears after this other world, which I did not know where it was and how it could be found. Being a child and alone in the mountains, I dreamt about it and I felt that this was not my world, the world of which I dreamt of. But in the end I have found it. I loved to read books. I would often isolate myself from the other children and I would take the herd of cows up in the mountains to pasture, in a place where there were lots of rocks and there I would build a room/space with those rocks and I would call it my monastery, even though I had never seen a monastery before. And the logs were my Altar. This was very dear to me, and there was something else that was very dear to me the nature. I loved the nature. The nights for me were the biggest delight, satisfaction. The sky full of stars. I loved to watch the sunsets, how the moon appeared, how the sun rised. I loved the seasons and I lived them to the full extent. I lived the spring with all its beauties, the summer nights with all its splendor, autumn I loved especially, it is in my character to taste those melancholic days of autumn. It is extraordinary how much the autumn season speaks to me. And winter covered in snow, it’s as if I see God descending down on earth with long white hair locks. This was a part of my childhood for which I praise the Lord.

I wanted to enter the monastic life at the age of 16 but my parents did not allow me, not because they were not faithful, but they were hoping to have me as support in their old days and they have entrusted me with all their wealth. After my father’s departure, at the age of 20, I categorically decided to leave. I confessed this to the priest in my village and he spoke with the hegumen from the Rohia Monastery, Nifon Matei. Nifon Matei was a true Saint. He has departed from this world at a very young age of 32 years old as he was sick. He led a life of a true ascet, he was tall with long reddish hair, reddish beard, blue eyes, when people would see him they would think they saw Christ himself. He was a great hegumen cherished by the people. For my mother it was a deep wound, she did not want me to leave. It was very early in the morning, at dusk, when I decided to leave and my mother asked me where I was going and I said “i am going out”, as I was afraid that she will grab in her arms me and she would not let me go. I left, I stopped for a moment I bowed and I said, “never will I return back”.

When I arrived in the Rohia village, as I got closer to the monastery I asked a man where the monastery was, and he replied in a cold voice “there, why do ask me“. For me, that was a shock because in my village everyone had lots of patience and I thought that at the monastery everyone had wings (living like angels). I continued my walk. I saw a building and I started to bow and praise the Lord. Then I realized that it was just an old abandoned building. It was dark and I started to despair, then all of a sudden I heard the singing of a rooster and I saw the monastery. I got off the path and I cut across the field. When I got there, I saw three people chopping wood in the yard of the monastery and the atmosphere gave me a negative impression. I told them that I have a letter for the hegumen. One of the people went to speak to the hegumen. He returned and told me to go inside as the hegumen was waiting to see me. When I went inside I saw two doors and I did not know where to go. I entered the door on the right. There, I saw a monk squatted without a beard, that was another shock for me, I expected the hegumen to be .. you know … with a beard and …. I gave him the letter and then he said, oh you are here to see the hegumen. He took the letter to the hegumen, came back and told me that the hegumen is waiting for me. I entered the room and I saw a man with an extraordinary radiance and light on his face. I told him that, as the priest explained in the letter, I wanted to come into the monastery. The hegumen said OK, you can stay and we will see. I repeated a second time, “you know, I want to become a monk” and I received the same answer “settled down and we will see”. I started to cry and I repeated a third time that I did not come here for a visit and that I wanted to become a monk. The hegumen stood up and came to me, hugged me and said Ok, Ok, we will accept you. I asked when and he replied: “now”. I left the room so happy, I was romping like a lamb. Then, I heard the beating of a “toque”. Suddenly all my negative impressions vanished, the whole horizon was filled with light and into my soul has descended a happiness and joy … which has not ceased to this day. This is how I started my monastic life on 12 March 1941.

My mother at home was crying and everyone was trying to comfort her, asking her why she was crying and explaining to her that everyone from the village had gone on the front in the war whilst I was still here. She answered, “I would have been happier if he would have gone on the front because from there I would have still had a chance that he would have returned home, but from where he is now there is no chance”. After I have entered into the Rohia Monastery, I have begun to live my new life for God, which is entirely different to the life in the outside world. It is another world and only those will succeed who live it in a sincere way and are sure of themselves to go on this path. The path of the monastery, of brotherhood, of a monk, priest, is a road which takes you gradually to divinity. How far on this road can a person travel, it is yet to be seen. Some go just a few steps, some more, some arrive in spheres full of light and in the sphere of angels.

The first temptation was my mother who cried for me until the day she died. She would come to the monastery with my two sisters, and she did not have the patience to come on the footpath, but from the valley she would cut across the field and climb the steep mountain on four legs calling out my name, Ion, Ion from far away but when she would reach the monastery, she would not come to talk to me, she was just happy to see me. At that time I was a priest and hegumen, I was together with the people, so she did not come close, she was just happy to see me.

I lived through some very hard times of the history of mankind. I lived under the occupation of the Hungarian and then under communism. I had a proposal from a great personality, a westerner, French and he had great powers. He said; “would you like to leave, and I said firmly “No, I do not want to” and he was astounded. He said nobody has ever replied to him so firmly. It was not because I liked the regime, but because I do did have the “right” to do it. If I could take with me the whole country and its people to take them to a happier place I would, but for me to leave just for my own pleasure it would be a very defying act. Starting with 1949, the regime took very severe measures against the church and it has forbidden for Feasts to be celebrated at monasteries and churches. From that date, always in the eve of a Feast, the army “Securitate” (communist security agents) would surround the monastery to prevent the people from coming to church. In 1955 they changed the method, they have declared the area as being contaminated (hazardous). In those times, there was one incident worth recalling. In 1951 the brothers in the monastery and I did not stop the services. I pretended that we did not see what was happening around. We have started the prayers, but when we started to beat the toque and ring the bells, there was most likely an “Order” given to not allow, but the soldiers seemed to hesitate unwillingly to enforce it, and then all the people/faithful in the nearby forest seize the moment and flooded the courtyard of the monastery which quickly became full. After the service concluded, which was held in the church because we did not dare to hold it outside (the church at the monastery in those times was very small and very few people would fit in for which reason the Services would be held), I spoke with the priest who was next to me, Nifon, who was later imprisoned for 7 years, for helping other monastics living in the forests as no other people were not allowed to joining to the monastery. So, we spoke in the Altar for a few minutes and then we agreed we will go outside for 5 minutes while one of us will take confession and the other one will write some names down for commemoration. It was around 8.00 in the evening. The people cleared the way, I have entered into the hegumen’s quarters and Nifon went into the kitchen. Inside the house was pitch dark, because it was 8.00 evening. I sat down on the side of the bed in my office and I waited for Nifon to come back as we have agreed and to go back into the church. Outside you could hear the roar of the people/faithful. But suddenly I have woken up, but I did not open my eyes. I started to think, why am I sitting here on the bed like this and I am not laying down and sleeping as I normally would. Then still with my eyes closed I thought, because I only sat here for 5 minutes waiting for Nifon. I thought, what day is today, the Feast day of Holy Mother of God. But why don’t I hear the noise of the people from outside, what’s with the peace. When I opened my eyes the house was filled with light. I looked out the window and I saw Nifon coming out of the kitchen, yawning and stretching. He came quickly and said. “father hegumen forgive me, what could you possibly have done all night by yourself because I went to the kitchen I sat down on a bench and I fall asleep.” And I told him, the same thing has happened to me. We were talking about 12 hours. When we went outside we saw a woman with a blind child and she started to cry “Oh father what has happened? After you and the other father have entered the house, the Securitate came and chased all the people away” I was very marked by what happened. I told Nifon to beat the toque and ring the bells because it was 8.00 in the morning and we started the service as usual. People started to trickle in from the nearby forests, and the courtyard filled again. There was no more Securitate around. One month later I was in Tirgu Lapus visiting some clergy, and a young man from the Securitate called out to me and said “Oh father you are a very good/obedient man”. I asked in a harsh tone because that is how I used to speak to them in those times “why” and he said “because you did not come out on the eve of the Feast day, because if you would have come out I do not know if you would have ever seen the sun again”

Another incredible moment of which I wanted to talk to you about, was a time when even I was placed on the list to be picked up, to be arrested, because the regime did not like the fact that the faithful would come to the monastery in such great numbers. I wasn’t guilty of anything. In the village there was a house where some very good, trustworthy people lived, a man called John and his wife. They did not have any children and the Securitate used to meet in their house. One evening the policemen received an order to come up to the monastery and pick me up/arrest me. The policemen left and the man with his wife were very concerned because they loved the hegumen of the monastery which was Iustinian, so they went down on their knees and they began to pray. After a while the policemen and his help came back and said to the people that they went all the way up to the last bench in front of the monastery, but they could not go any further. Then they had to report this to the their superiors. They sent even more people from the Securitate, and they started to scold the policemen, asking them if they were children. They said; “let’s go together”. When they left the house the people again fell down on their knees and started to pray. They have all climbed the mountain and returned home later and said the same thing. We went all the way up to the last bench towards the monastery and we could not go any further. They have in turn reported the incident to the regional office. From there other higher ranked Securitate officers were sent over, and asked “are you all crazy, have you all become mystics?”. Then they tehmselves left heading towards the monastery, while the people remained in the house and prayed. The officers returned and said the same thing in awe, they climbed all the way up to the last bench and they could not get any closer to the monastery. This was clearly God’s work, because God knew that He needed a man here who had to continue with the Services. Archbishop Iustinian continued with tears in his eyes “This is how it is explained that I was not arrested. I was not worthy to die in the bottom of a prison, as did a lot of the other confessors, the elite, the cream of the Romanian nation. I was not worthy to be a martyr. But then I was a martyr serving and working for God and waking up people’s conscience. I formed a coenobitic, I raised 24 monks. Then, a law was issued in 1959 by the government, Law 410, by which were kicked out/evacuated from all the monasteries all the monks and all the nuns and they only allowed the very old, the sick and frail to remain. They have done this in stages, first the young, then the ones who did not complete grade seven, and in the third round the best monks, which is where I was too. So, on 1 June 1959 there was an Order for me to be kicked out. I did not leave. I had there a priest named Octavian Butur who was sent here to repent from a weakness he had (“drinking”) and he was thrown out by his wife, his mother, his parents and family and he stayed here for one month. When he arrived I told him, please I want you to understand that you did not come here as an exiled/punished, you came here as my guest as a friend. One month later, after he fulfilled his canon, and he went to Cluj to the bishop with whom he was colleagues while studying theology. Butur was chief of that promotion. He was a man of great capacity. He entered in the middle of a meeting, he told the bishop that he fullfilled his canon and that he was very happy because he got rid of his weakness of drinking. The bishop said that he was happy, but he had some very sad news, namely that he has received an order to kick out hegumen Iustinian. Butur said; “you have to intervene, because if you don’t I will pour a can of petrol all over me in front of the cathedral and I will leave in writing that I have committed suicide because hegumen Iustinian was kicked out of monastic life”. The bishop was terrified and he wrote a memorandum to Bucharest in which they have asked them to allow me to stay here, but I did not receive anything in writing, I did not know anything. But then the authorities started to come around to bribe me, please make a request to leave/be transferred, because we will give you the opportunity to occupy any position you wish. I told them that I will not do that. The Secretary from Lapus used to tell his colleagues ”I will go and shoot him” and they would all become terrified, only when he arrived in front of me he changed totally. One of his collaborators said what happened there was like King Michael the Brave – “one goes there like a wild animal but when he comes before the hegumen Iustinian he drops his axe, and does nothing”. Then, the First Secretary would turn the page and accuse me: “you are not on our side, why don’t you listen”. I asked him are you a member of the (Communist) Party, and the offended Secretary replied “what do you mean” I am the First Secretary, of course, I am. Yes ,Yes , I repeated are you a member, he answered “of course I am”, so do you do whatever you want or what the Communist Party orders you? “Of course I do what the Communist Party orders me”. Then, I said; “please allow me”. Not your Order! I have my own Party, and if it will order me to come as a pig herder for the Communist Party, I will come and I will have the same dignity/honour in my behaviour as I do here in the monastic life, because I will still be in the service of God, but with an order from my Leaders, not yours. The things I am telling you are incredible, totally out of the ordinary. Behold, God still performs miracles. The last series of monks were kicked our on 1 November 1959. With tears in his eyes, crying Archbishop continued “We have served the last Mass together, we have hugged each other and they have left, and I was left alone in front of the monastery. It was late dark, and they have left, some towards Lapus, some towards Boiereni and I have heard them as they were talking and getting further and further away and I was left alone and I lived alone crying, howling through these forests for many weeks, because I missed the ones who left me. On the other hand, my great comfort was that God has not left me, as God sent me even more faithful people than before and they have me close to their hearts, and every day more and more faithful people came and this was a big joy for me. Then, I dared to ask the bishop for some help, so two of the monks have returned. One was Deacon Bude Teodor, who has tonsured into monasticism by the miracle of Mother of God. As he was in the hospital, on his deathbed, the doctors wanted to send him home and told his father to go home and prepare the coffin because his son will not recover. He said that in that time the Holy Icon of Mother of God from Rohia, which we consider it to be a miracle making Icon, appeared in front of him and he made a promise, he said: “please give me life and I will serve you”. His father left the hospital and the Deacon started to improve and feel better and better. Then, he caught the public transport and went home. He arrived at night time and knocked at the door and his parents were afraid of him because they thought it was his spirit. Then, he came to the monastery and asked to be received, but I said: “we can not receive you because we do not have any food, there’s too many of us already”. Then he cried and said; “I will not leave because I promised the Mother of God” and so I received him.

The story you have just heard me telling, about the Mother of God, is not a legend is a reality. As I said, on that Sunday when all the coenobitic have left, I was left alone with the cook and three other villagers who came to do some work on the field. Then, the cook went in the village and I went to the kitchen which was in the basement and I began to peel some potatoes to help the cook with the preparation of the food for the village workers. While I was peeling the potatoes, I heard very clearly, the footsteps of a person walking towards my office crying very loud. It was a woman. (the office was above the kitchen and the floor, or ceiling of the basement was a traditional wooden floor, making it very easy to hear footsteps or any noises upstairs). It was now very early in the morning. I dropped all the things and wondered what could have happened to this woman that she was crying so loud and came this early in the morning to the monastery. I went upstairs, in front of the house, but there was no one, then I went to the office and I could not see anyone, then I went in the next room, and then the next room. The cry was so real that I could not forget it or think that nobody was there. Then, I went in the church, in the Altar, around the church, in the courtyard, I was so convinced of the presence of this woman that I could not believe… Then I realized, it was the second day after the departure of all my brothers and reached the conclusion that She was the Mistress/Protector of the house, the Mother of God.

The history of how the monastery was founded

“The priest in the village Father Gherman had a young daughter, 10 years of age, who passed away. She always used to appear in her father’s dreams and asked him to build a house for the mother of God in the hill of the Vines. The priest, on every Sunday, used to make services for the dead. Everyone started to think that the priest has gone mad because he had eight other children and he was only commemorating the dead. He did not tell anyone about his dreams because he did not want everyone to think that he was crazy. After a while, one Sunday morning the priest was together with his wife, the children and the deacon, and a woman came to him, Floare Ilie and addressed the priest directly. “Father, why don’t you want to do what Anuta your daughter is asking you to do?” (this woman Floare, was very well known in the village because of her gift; she used to tell people things about themselves that nobody else knew). Because the priest wanted to be sure, he asked her to confirm “what does Anuta ask me to do”, and she told him to build a house for the Mother of God. Then the priest testified to everyone that, that’s exactly what he was draming about the whole summer, but he did not understand. The priest wanted to verify again and he asked what exactly do I need to do? “to build a house for the Mother of God on the hill of the Vine, a monastery father why don’t you understand”. She said exactly the same words as his daughter Anuta was saying to him in his dreams. The priest said to the lady, ”I am happy Aunty Floare that you came to us and I will do that”. That moment Father Gherman felt a great burden, pressing so hard on his shoulders he felt all summer, lifted as if the sky and everything around has lit up. He spoke to the deacons and they climbed up the hill and chose a place, which they marked with a cross made of two pieces of wood. Following day, when the priest came, he did not find the cross in the spot where they put it. They saw it on the top of a cliff. They took it back to the spot which they chose, but following day the same thing happened and so this has repeated many times, until an elder from the village named Alexandru Pop a man who was wise and educated said to the priest that he would like to guard the cross that night just in case somebody was trying to make fun of them. Father Gherman agreed and left him there. Alexandru stayed there until very late at night when the snow started to fall. Then, he went home and came back very early next morning. When he arrived there, the cross was missing and he spotted it in the same place as before on the cliff, only the problem was that there were no footsteps in the snow. Alexandru understood what has just happened and he was so overwhelmed by this incident/miracle that he paralyzed on the spot. He crawled back to the village, where he arrived only in the afternoon and then he told everyone the news. This is when the works for the building of the monastery started in 1923.

My best friend since childhood was the Holy Bible and the books. These helped me accumulate knowledge so that I can serve God better. I was not interested only in theological issues but all the essential problems. I lived life with the greatest tremble knowing that we are surrounded by infinity, that we have in front of us eternity (the eternal life) and I sought all the paths/ways so that I would not get lost in this infinite unknown to us and lose the eternal life. Because if this life is hard for us, as I told the imprisoned people from the Baia Mare Prison, when I served the Holy Liturgy there, I told them that their life in prison is hard, but this will help them clean/get rid of their sins from this world, and to escape from the prison of hell, which is so much more worse. That’s why it is not logical for someone who wants to commit suicide. They do not realize that the sufferings from here are infinitely smaller than the sufferings from hell.”

“This is my life. I have not been in any way better than you, than all of you, but I have fought to listen to God, and God has repaid me in abundance. I did not deserve all the goodness that God has bestowed upon me. God carried me by my hand all my life.”

“I thank God because He has helped me to help you, all the people, with the thoughts, with the words, with the prayers, with love… with love.”

Resources

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciS-ezQmxIQ
    “I do not want to go to Heaven alone !!! God !!! I do not want to go to heaven alone! I want to go with all the people! I want you to know that I will not enter the gate of heaven until I see you all in Heaven!”

    Minute 2.36

    “Life does not end !!! Life does not end in 50-60 years. God has created us with an eternal soul. We will pass from this life to eternal life, where we will leave. We were born not to die, ever. We were born on earth to leave as God’s children.”

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQx_Jr7XzVQ
    Minute 8.46

    “For me, any distinction I receive is a “Cross” not a gift. Any distinction is a “Cross”. From now, because the Holy Synod and the Patriarch have bestowed upon me this distinction of Archbishop…” Archi” means the oldest, this is what Archi means and that’s why from now on I will be the oldest amongst all of you. I am the first one who will depart(this prophecy was made 3 years in advance just the same as at His Grace’s last birthday this year May 2016, as detailed in a link below, His Grace said that: ”You found me in a unique moment. I believe that a second such moment I will not reach”), I am at the end of my road, but I will not forget you. I will stay at the gate of Heaven and I will wait for you all to arrive there. Because I will ask God, Where are the ones who are not present here? From now one I feel indebted. If up until now I have prayed a little, If I have fasted even less, if I gave alms to the poor even more less, from now on, I am indebted to pray more, to give more alms. From now on, we should not forget to pray more for each other. I wish you all a Merry Christmas !”

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUCJUS1UNgg
    Minute 0.00

    “We are weak and Lord our Saviour says ‘Without me, you can not do anything” This thing we know and recognize “Without God, we can not do anything !!!

    Minute 0.36

    “For seventy years, I have always wept, because I have not done what I was supposed to do and how much I was supposed. I have always fought not to lose this cherished patience or humility.”

    Minute 1.13

    “My masters have been, from the beginning of my life, God and the faithful Romanian people. This is whom I have served during my 70 years of monastic life. I have tried to serve them with loyalty in good days and in bad days.”

    Minute 2.02

    “A servant of the church, a servant of God is not satisfied only if he prays for himself, or his friends, or institutions. A servant of the Orthodox church prays for all the living souls. And I pray to God to grant my prayer, for hell to be empty and heaven to be full of the children of Adam !”For every Holy Liturgy that Archbishop Iustinian served, the yard of the monastery would be full. People would come to hear the words full of Love of their bishop.

    Minute 2.28

    “God, please heed to my prayer. I do not ask anything for myself. But, I do not want to go to heaven alone ! I do not want to go to heaven alone ! I do not want to go to heaven alone ! God, I do not want to go to heaven alone ! I want to go with the whole nation, all the people. I want you to know that I will not enter the gate of heaven until I will see you all in heaven. Do not forget ! This is my wish at the age of 90, for God to grant your prayers. I have spoken a little, because I do not know if next year I will still be alive, or have strength. But I was happy that I came to pray together with all of you, to gaze upon you as I would gaze upon the Holy Icons.”

    Even though the Archbishop would spend whole days and night in prayer, his humility was one of his many virtues.

    Minute 4.12

    “I wish and I pray day and night, thinking about the people of God. Day and night I spend thinking about God and about the faithful people. The Charity, The Prayers, and The Fasting; these deeds, Lord Jesus Christ names as being the deeds of our righteousness. If we will respect these deeds, we will find the righteousness of God, which will grant us our rewards.”

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_RVh3TtOAM
    Miracles:

    • When the relics were brought into the Cathedral for the Services, a smile appeared on Archbishop Iustinian Chira just the same as in the case of Saint Elder Joseph of Vatopedi
    • The glass from the coffin above the mouth was steamed
    • Archbishop Iustinian Chira opened his eyes when lowered into the tomb

     

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_2N_q62LIY
    This clip is about the Rohia Monastery where Archbishop Iustinian first entered into the monastic life and later became hegumen. Encompassed here, there is a clip from an old documentary which was filmed by an English reporter in 1978.

    Minute 5.16

    “If God who made the sky and the earth, has fought and did everything possible to save us from hell, to help us reach salvation. This means, that these realities are terrible. Us people with our minds can not comprehend this. Even you, now as talk to you. You are floating… and the majority…are wondering, What is it? How is it going to be? We have very limited means of perception. What can we understand about the eternal darkness? But we understand from deeds. If The Merciful God did everything possible to save mankind from the slavery of hell and darkness, then it means that this is a very serious problem.”The hidden treasure of the Rohia Monastery is the Library which is one of the most important libraries in Transilvania. Here in safekeeping are 170 manuscripts of Archbishop Iustinian Chira, which are solemnly guarded.

    Minute 13.00

    “A sea of people dressed in traditional clothing, man, women, children, and a Bishop. In 1978 the whole Occident would see a documentary about Orthodoxy and authentic Romanian living. It was during the full Communism Regime. (*the clip is in English so you can listen to the testimony of the English reporter)Archbishop Iustinian : “Christ has Risen !”
    The People : “In Truth He has Risen !

    Minute 13.10

    “It was here in Cluj that I first saw the churchman who was going to unsettle me more than any other in Romania. I even started to think of him as in some curious way, my adversary. He was a Bishop called Iustinian Chira. It is alright when Icons stay within the frames, but when they move at you, it is quite worrying.The filmmakers of the documentary were intrigued by the personality of Bishop Iustinian who talked to them without any hidden agendas, clear and with authority, demoting all the preconceptions about the Romanian culture and faith.

    Minute14.40

    “35 Years have passed since the making of this movie and about Archbishop Iustinian have been written books, in which they talk, many times, not about a Holy man, but about a Saint. Iustinian Chira is now an Archbishop. He is 91 years old and is the Sheppard of the faithful people of Maramures.”

    Minute 14.50

    “I am happy that you have arrived in Maramures !”

    “I was emotional. I was meeting a protector of our faith. A man of whom they say talks to God. A man who was a clairvoyant.

    “Some praise you that you are very good and others that you are very bad. Who’s right? Neither. You are not very good and you are not very bad. Man, is as God intended him to be. In other words, we all have these two categories. We are all saints and people with weaknesses. As followed, was a meeting of 5 hours.”

    “Here, I just received (some books), do you want them?”

    “Of course, I want them, I will not give them back. We came to meet a Saint and we found a child with long hair locks and long bearded. A wise old man with the soul of a child, happy to show us around the place where he leaves.”

    All these things, I do not waste them because I have received as a present and presents should not be wasted because it is our duty.This is how you gather a treasure.”

    “He held onto my hand and walked slowly, but when he talked about God and the holy books, he was a different man he gained life.”

    “A reporter asked a woman from the south, where you come from and he said tell me, aunty, what are we celebrating at Christmas? And what did she answer? “ Oh, at Christmas we cut the pig. What about easter? and she answered Oh we cut the lamb. That’s how much your Christian knew. This is the lack of education and the profound absence of Christian educations !! The Mahomedans hold their faith very dear to them, body and soul, isn’t’ it, jews the same and the Buddhists the same, and us Christians are in deficit. Please forgive me, I do not raise my voice at you and your weaknesses. I raise my voice at the weaknesses of mankind. We are Christians and we are not able to embrace the great mystery of Christianity. Look, these books were published during the Communism Regime. While the church was mocked and destroyed I wrote an article about the church. In Maramures, he is loved by the people because he calls things by their names.”

    “I use to see from my bedroom window how the workers were walking around with an empty bag and could not find a piece of bread in the whole town of Cluj. Then during the Holy Liturgy/Sermon in June 1989, I said “May God grant the prayers and burn the chair of the one who starves this nation and disrespects the workers. It was in public, full of Securitate Agents dressed as civilians and what did they say? Ohh, this bishop, may God curse him, tells us…he makes our skin sting, but what can we do?! Nothing because he is right! This was the occupation! this is what it was brother ! Dear, let me give you a gift as well.(and again he becomes a child ). Pointing to a bell he said I will ask him to talk to you, and he started ringing the bell. This is their tongue.”

    Minute 32.40

    “This is the conclusion of the English reporter, it can be listened to in English.” When I am asked what I have brought back from Romania, I think about that walk. That I can not say much, I suppose it is my individual, untransferable, interior, unfolding Romanian Orthodox Icon.“

    “I asked him about the documentary from 35 years years ago. His Grace is convinced that it did Romania and the church a great service. His Grace remembers every word. He spoke to the Occidentals without a curtain, about Romanians and their faith. He was backed up by the people, who loved him. Even he is surprised that he was not punished by the Regime, but decorated. Who was president in 70’s? Ceausescu. Ei ! One of the decorations is from that time? Of course. I was astounded that they did not throw me in prison. Only, I was a man and even the devil respected me !!! even the demons respected me !!! Did you understand ?!!!”

    Minute 33.50

    For this reason, because he had an attraction to people, politicians used to seek him. “A politician came to see me because he wanted to become a Prime minister and asked me for advice. I was speaking with him just the same as I am speaking with you now, only more harsh, severe. In conclusion, he wanted a last word of advice. I said, Mr… this is the word I want to tell you. Everybody has to fulfill his duty!!! You Animal !!! if everybody would fulfill his duty from big to small, wouldn’t heaven be on earth?” (It was clear that Archbishop Iustinian was able to read everyone’s intentions)

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTvyqNONjqI
    Minute 0.55

    “The prayer can reach so far, that it surrounds the whole world around. The sound of the bells from Rohia can reach up to the Orion constellation. The stars from the sky vibrate, from happiness. The song of the bells is a trumpet wich was invented by man, through which to bring praise to the Lord. Over seven decades of serving, thousands of Holy Liturgies and just as many words of advice. They have all been happy days/moments. Because I was in the monastery, I was in the Altar, I was with the people, I was with God. Filocalic wisdom, ascetic face, good and kind words, patient and sacrificing nature. This is the example/teaching of a life lived with dignity even though it was sprinkled with many trials. These have all made Archbishop Iustinian the firm, testifier, relentless in testifying the Romanian orthodoxy and our holy values.”

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC9yMzczpT0
    This clip was recorded at the Service performed by two Bishops, honoring Archbishop Iustinian on the eve of Archbishop’s Iustinan Chira’s birthday this year on 27 May, 2016.”Your Graces ! You found me in a unique moment. I believe that a 2nd such moment I will not reach, this time I have reached this unique moment, in which I have seen you all gathered up and not just you, but also His Grace, the Metropolitan of Ardeal Andrei Andreicut, His Grace the future Bishop of Maramures, Iustin Sigheteanul, the whole clergy and you the faithful people. We have gathered here with pure hearts and souls to celebrate 95 years of life and I ask you to thank God, together all of us because God has helped me to live these 95 years and I have lived them fully. I have lived fully the spiritual life. That is why I thank God, first of all, the Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost, the Mother of God and all the Angels and Saints because they have helped us the servants of God and the whole nation. We are the representatives of a faithful, pious nation, a good and a Holy nation. That is why I am indebted to thank you all from the depths of my soul. I assure you and I want to testify that if God will give me the right to pray even after my departure from here, I will never forget you ! He said, with tears in his eyes, with a trembling yet very powerful voice: “The way I see you now, that’s how I will see you forever and ever, and I will pray to God for everyone’s Salvation !!! The whole nation, our Blessed nation, the whole country. All the servants !!! I see here a category of people, a beautiful attire, a blessed attire. The Military costumes. Distinguished people. People with great merits. The clergy and the army are two categories, which have and always had a unique role in the lives of humankind.””For everything, Your Grace (Metropolitan Andrei), I thank you with warmth. Please forgive my weaknesses because 95 years of age, however, have their say. The bones have aged, my mind is weaker, my sight is darker, cloudier, but my heart has remained alive. My heart has not aged, my soul has not aged and my body has not aged, at 95 years of age, because, just the same as my brothers who are wearing the monastic clothes, I had strong faith and hope in the power of God Who keeps this nation surrounded by all these strange (unfaithful) nations. Praise the Lord for everything. I thank you from depth of my heart, May Lord Jesus Christ Bless you all, the ones who are in the families, in parishes, in the hospitals, those who travel, but even those who are not here but in prisons, for everyone from the bottom of the soul I pray to Lord Jesus Christ. To comfort them all, and payment I do not have, one that you deserve. Payment I wait, to remind indebted forever to all of you, and I assure you that if God is righteous and merciful, everyone will find Heaven open because we are a faithful nation, a righteous nation, a holy nation. There is no other nation on earth, as the Romanian nation. 2000 years we have suffered here and we have not abandoned our ancestral hearth, we have not abandoned the Romanian laws and we have not abandoned those who were suffering. God Bless you all ! May God Bless the Romanian country! May God’s Grace, Power and Mercifulness Bless you all now and forever and ever Amin!””On a happy/cheerful note, which is very typical of Archbishop Iustinian Chira, at the end of the ceremony, His Grace complimented the young man next to him dressed in traditional costume, whom His Grace picked from the crowd anonymously, to help his Grace stand during the delivery of his Sermon. So, smiling he said:“I thank my brother and ask for his forgiveness for holding him back, because his face and his pants (using a very old jargon) are both of ours.” Then, His Grace kissed the young man on the head as he always did with so many other of the faithful.

We thank those friends of ours that help put together this article. May God remember them in His kingdom.

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