Home The Saints of the Prisons Incredible stories: tortured for Christ in Romanian Communist prisons | Fr. Valerian

Incredible stories: tortured for Christ in Romanian Communist prisons | Fr. Valerian

Witnessing Faith Amidst Persecution: Untold Stories of Orthodox Christian Martyrs
Join us on a journey through the harrowing yet inspiring tales of contemporary Orthodox Christian martyrs who faced unimaginable persecution during the dark days of Communism. In this video, Fr. Valerian Grecu, a survivor of torture in Communist prisons, shares heart-wrenching accounts of the faithful who endured prisons, torture, and loss for their unwavering commitment to Christ. Discover the resilience of Mother Mihaela, the courage of Fr. Ioan, and the indomitable spirit of those who faced the abyss without forsaking their faith. These stories of sacrifice and miracles will leave you profoundly moved and remind us all of the enduring power of faith in the face of adversity.
#OrthodoxChristianity #Martyrs #FaithOverFear

Video source: Gimmy Gimmy, August 2019, Mount Athos, Romanian Skete Prodromos
Watch the full recording here (in Romanian)

Fr. Valerian Grecu:

Mother Mihaela, the secretary of the Convent of Vladimiresti [Romania]… she came to us before the arrest… And she said this: “Boys, the time will come when we will clog up the prisons. Even if they cut the flesh off you, don’t deny Christ!” It took some time and they arrested us. I met her after 8 years of prison in Aiud, she was walking on all fours, and [an officer] was kicking her: “Move, you bandit!” And she died.
St. George, St. Dimitrios, were beheaded in a short time. But to spend 9 years in prison and then to be killed… And she wrote some messages, so beautiful, she wrote: “I go where my brother died…” So beautiful… She was just a little nun…
Martyrs… 80,000 [people]. I remember, I was in the camp at the White Gate, 25,000 people were just like skeletons, two donkeys took their bodies out every day.
[Officer]: Head of the room, how many died today?
[Prisoner]: 4-5…
[Officer]: Take them out!

All those who faced the darkness of those without God, young people, children, mothers, wives are the martyrs of the Romanian nation.
They told me: “Don’t talk about God! You go and marry, join the collective farming, stop with your priesthood, with your nonsense…” I pulled myself together, even though it was a hard life and I said: “I’m Romanian, I’m Christian, I sucked milk from a Christian mother, I don’t betray my faith and my people!” They took notes of this, after I was released, they arrested me again. I am proud in Christ and also humble in Christ that I did not betray my faith and my nation.
He is still alive, colonel M. who tied me with a wire to my back, spat on me, burned my books, and… After 1989 [fall of Communist Regime in Romania] I met him in Tecuci, at the train station, he was selling drinks there. I grabbed his hand, “Do you know me?” “No” “Look more carefully!” “What do you want to do to me?” “I’m not doing anything to you, if I wasn’t Romanian and Christian I’d cut your neck, but I’m Romanian, and because of you I was purified…” That’s how tears flowed from him. We must forgive, forgiveness is from God.

My mother and my sister washed Fr. Ioan [Iovan]’s wounded legs. When I was in Aiud [prison], all those who had a prison sentence of 25 years were taken to the blacksmith’s workshop, were put on chains. The officers with a hammer tore Fr. Ioan’s flesh. And Fr. Ioan was like the Apostle Peter, he could not walk easily and when they took the prisoners from Aiud to the train station, 1km, an officer tells him: “Move, you bandit! Move, you criminal!” Then Fr. Ioan turns back to him and says: “May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ forgive you all your sins, including this one!” That officer foze. This was Fr. Ioan.

Fr. Ioan was in prison for 25 years. And the Father wrote a letter on a piece of cloth with a coal. “My dears, ‘Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered’ [Zechariah 13:7]” The nuns were scattered in the villages, some of them in prison. “If the grain of wheat does not die, it cannot bear fruit [John 12:24]. Here is the grain of wheat, the Church, it is buried now, but it will grow. Keep these 5 points: do not wander around the world without a reason (he addressed his nuns, they were 300 before the monastery was closed), do not renounce the monastic habit, refrain from drinks and meat, continue to preach. I feel happy. I’m sitting on a mat in the sun for the pus to dry up [his legs were wounded, he was in chains], I miss you all. I miss those harps that once played in the holy place and now they play on foreign shores. Your supplicant, John the Hieromonk”. I ate a piece of it, of that paper. 🙂

There was a priest… whom they stripped naked, it was freezing outside. And they ordered him to peel potatoes. But we used to ate them raw [we were hungry], so he didn’t get to clean them. And we found him in the morning frozen, dead. They kept his body there for 3 days to scare us and after 3 days they threw him into the water, in the Danube river, and I saw how the fish ate him. Then I did not see him anymore. I will tell you a miracle. When I was released from prison, I said: I have to visit my monasteries in Northern Moldavia [Romania]. And went biking from Galati to Suceava in the North of Moldova. I arrived at Fr. Cleopa [Ilie]. I listened to Fr. Cleopa, he spoke beautifully… and I told him about this incident [with the priest]. But there was a lady of about 45 years old who started to shout: “It’s my father!!” “Well… he is a martyr, they killed his body, but his soul is in heaven.” We were crying so hard… These are all miracles.

The greatest joys I felt were those in prison…
They killed their bodies and sent their souls to Heaven… we are not wrong if we pray to them
The joy I felt in the prison… I no longer feel it now. The Easter we spent in prison was [a real] Resurrection. We rejoiced during Easter in Gherla prison, the officers saw that we were rejoicing and in the second year they took us out naked, beaten, with our straw mattresses, until the Easter night was over… And one of us composed some verses, they are written somewhere:
“Christ is risen!
We are people who believe in Resurrection
And forever and ever the nation does not perish…”
I don’t feel these moments anymore… My soul hurts, we have 30 years of freedom. Our youth has been overwhelmed by the Internet, they only collect the bad things out of it.

Fr. Mina Dobzeu… he was arrested for 25 years. I met him in the Balta Mare, he was cutting the reeds. The reeds were like this, the corn was like this. And there was reed left. And the officer tied Father’s hands back with a wire, [and forced him] to pull out the reeds with his teeth…

Antichrist is no longer interested to crush us [physically]… When I was under investigation, they took the cross from my neck and smashed it: “Now Christ, let’s see if you work miracles!” I said: “He will!” After 40 years [of communism] He did miracles… And now… What did the devil say now? “Well, how should we do it? Let’s build churches, altars, we give them freedom, and we take [corrupt] them in a delicate manner”. Now the dragon is very wise…


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