Fr. George Calciu was one of the great confessors of Christianity who spent 21 years of his life in various Communist prisons for his faith in Christ.
In this recording he remembers how, when in prison, the Lord’s angel confirmed the Resurrection of Christ through the voice of his prison guard.
Then, when he tried to argue logically the truth of the Resurrection, he noticed that the angel was gone, the light had gone from the cell…
Subtitles: English (YTranslations Ltd), Romanian
Fr. Gheorghe Calciu:
“On that Easter morning, I didn’t turn with my face to the wall…
There was a prison guard… If you have ever seen a beautiful devil, this man was indeed a beautiful devil.
Sure, he was a young country man, a thin boy, tall with blue eyes, absolutely angelic, with a very nice face, always elegantly dressed, with his uniform on.
Others came less clean. He was always very clean, very elegant. Yet he had an unexplained cruelty.
I couldn’t understand; how could someone who had such masculine and angelic beauty be so cruel?
If this man didn’t beat 5 to 6 detainees in his service, he probably wouldn’t feel well.
And generally, in jail, under terror, under fear, it is easier to bear your own torture than to hear another person being tortured.
When you heard the shouting… Most of those beaten were common law prisoners, because we were few political prisoners.
These men cried out when they were beaten. We said nothing, we never cried out. But they were yelling and our imagination started working. Imagining horrible things.
It was such a great spiritual tension, that you would have preferred if they came to beat you instead, just so that you could no longer hear the cries of the others.
And this one was one of the people who found pleasure in torturing others.
That morning when he opened the door… I prayed all night to God.
I may have said hundreds, thousands of times: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life”.
Thousands of times maybe.
That the truth of the resurrection might enter deep in my mind and heart.
I stood facing the door when he came in, and I said: “Christ is risen!”
The guard looked at me, turned his head and looked at those who were behind him. He turned back to me and said: “Truly He is risen!”
For me it was like a blow in the head. And I understood then that it wasn’t him who had told me “Truly He is risen!”, but that it was the Lord’s angel.
The one, which sitting at the grave, said to the myrrh-bearing women: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He has risen. Come see the place where He was placed”. [Mark 16:6]
Through his mouth the angel confirmed to me the Resurrection, because I needed this confirmation and because God wanted to confirm this to me through the mouth of my enemy the truth of this Resurrection.
My cell was filled with light. And my joy was so great, that the 5 to 6 hours until lunch, when food was coming, were in light and spiritual joy.
I was entrusted to a political colonel of the prison who had a special treatment for me, in the bad sense of the word, not in the good sense.
The colonel was not a bad man when he was drunk. When he was sober he was very bad. Fortunately, he was more drunk than sober.
So I heard him coming down the aisle at 12am. The aisles had a tremendous resonance.
We heard the steps down the aisle and knew, recognized his steps, because the ear sharpens and the spirit follows every move, so we knew who was coming and what his intention for coming would be.
And I thought like in a play. I said: “I will sit with my back to the wall. I will turn my face towards him, I will look him in the eyes and I will say ‘Christ is risen!’”.
It was no longer what it had been the first time. It was no longer an internal impulse. It was like a play.
Like I knew what he was going to tell me, like he knew what I was going to tell him, like we knew each other. He knew my stubbornness, I knew his capacity, his lack of imagination, in which you had to react exactly as I knew him.
He opened the door and I told him: “Christ is risen!”
He looked at me and said: “Have you seen Him?”
I said: “Mr Colonel, I did not see Him when He rose, but I believe in the truth of the Resurrection in the authority of those who saw Him, in the Apostles, in the disciples, in the martyrs, in the millions of Christians who have died praising Christ, be it in torment, or by natural death, but which constitute the guarantee that Christ has risen.
Have you ever seen the North Pole? But you believe in the authority of scientists.
You haven’t seen Marx or Stalin either except in pictures, but you believe in them through the authority of the communists who speak of them”.
The more I talked, the more I argued logically, the more my heart saddened.
The more the light in the cell disappeared.
Because I tried to argue logically, with human logic, about a truth that shouldn’t be argued.
The simple pronouncing of “Christ is risen!” was sufficient to convince him or to lose him.
And I understand that I made a sin and God had forsaken me.
The angel that told me, “Truly He is risen” was gone, the light had gone from the cell…“