Arsenie Boca – Romanian Orthodox Personality

© – Romanian Priest Arsenie Boca

Born on 29th of September 1910 in Vața de Sus village, Hunedoara county, Zian Boca is raised by his father in the spirit of “never lose time doing nothing”. Guided by this belief, Boca is committed to study sciences, religion and painting. After graduating the National Orthodox Highschool “Avram Iancu” in 1929, he went to the Theological Institute in Sibiu. His final thesis summarizes his inner struggles and his efforts to achieve the spiritual accomplishment: “Încercări asupra vieții duhovnicești” (tests of achieving spiritual life).

In 1933, Metropolitan Nicolae Bălan sends him to the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest with a scholarship, where he continues to have a lonely life and to avoid unworthy acts for a recluse (city wandering, dancing etc.).Very passionate about anatomy and paintings, he also reads books written by Immanuel Kant, Mircea Eliade and many more in his search for answers regarding life and spiritual accomplishment.

After graduation, he is sent to Mount Athos to learn the secrets of monasticism. Back to his beloved country in 1938, he countinued to study painting and helped Priest Stăniloae to translate Philokalia (book of spiritual instructions from the Eastern Christian tradition). He made the book cover and received the name of the Founder of Romanian Philokalia. Being short-haired and also receiving the name Arsenie (name coming from Avva Arsenie, Orthodox priest from the 4th Century, who was dedicated to the solitary life), Boca spent a short period of time at Sâmbăta de Sus Monastery (Brașov county). In 1942, he became abbot here (spiritual place also known as Brâncoveanu Monastery) and he dedicated his time to its restoration.

When Russian communists came in Romania, Arsenie Boca was persecuted because of his notoriety among Christian believers. Despite his moving to Prislop Monastery, he was permanently persecuted (queries, arrests and so on). After being imprisoned for several times, he was banned for spiritual practicing and he became painter for churches in Bucharest. For nearly 2 decades, he restore Drăgănescu Church (Giurgiu county). With his painting workshop and hermit cell in a monastic settlement in Sinaia, he left there a collection of drawings, paintings, written thoughts and previsions. With his desire of becoming an authentic hermit (to reach spiritual perfection before God), he began building his cell in 1943 where the spring of Sâmbăta valley has its roots, on a vertical slope of Făgăraș Mountains. Unfortunately, he could not live here because of water infiltration and tourists (the cell is near Sâmbăta de Sus lodge).

Very popular among Christian believers, they often visited him for advice, preaching and healing words. Arsenie Boca used to gave his spiritual gift in a jestful and profound way. He also had the gift of prophecy and many visions about Romania and world future happened. After his death on 28th of November 1989, he was buried in the cemetery of Prislop Monastery. Just as he foresaw, Prislop became a place of pilgrimage. Prislop Monastery is located in Silvașu de Sus village, Hunedoara county.

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