Home Testimonies Old monks sleeping in their coffins (Elder Cleopa of Romania)

Old monks sleeping in their coffins (Elder Cleopa of Romania)

In this video recording, Elder Cleopa Ilie of Romania (+1998) recounts the days he arrived at Sihastria Monastery in Romania, where the old monks slept in their coffins in order to remind them of their last end, to learn about their own mortality.

Source: video interview with Met. Seraphim of Germany (December 17, 1993)

Elder Cleopa:
When I came here, there was no bed for the monks. Everyone slept on floor on old mats… or on chairs, and instead of a bed, some of them were sleeping in coffins. And they knew the entire Psalter by heart. That’s what I found in Sihastria [Monastery, Romania]… Well, well, well…

[The monastery] has been founded by Daniil Sihastrul in 1514. It’s been 450 years since no one ate meat here… When the two of us came… they were all old men, beards to the floor… Here it is an eremitic rule, Daniil Sihastrul founded it with 7 monks from the Holy Mountain Athos, [Romanians] of ours, who returned… And they lived in huts [pit houses] for 50 years… In one of the huts they had a chapel where a priest served the Liturgy… and received Communion…

And when those 7 hermits died, they asked Neamt Monastery [for new monks]. When the Venerable Paisius [Velichkovsky] died, Neamt Monastery had 1200 monks, 480 of them were ordained [deacons or priests]… Neamt Monastery is the most famous, the largest… its culture… I was on the Holy Mountain, in Sinai… one can find everywhere books from Neamt, printed in Neamt Monastery… Neamt Monastery was a source of culture…


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