Centre for Romanian Studies

Centre for Romanian Studies header image 1

Of Exorcism, Orthodox nuns and Ceausescu’s Children – Letter to an Italian Friend

June 20th, 2005 · No Comments · Diary, International Media, PEOPLE

Carissima Principessa,

You were kind enough to send me a link and I thank you for it:
Romania, giovane suora muore crocifissa

Era stata legata per tre giorni a una croce di legno da quattro suore e da un abate per un rito di esorcismo

[img align=right]http://www.romanianstudies.org/images/articles/exorcism/mad_priest.jpg[/img]BUCAREST – Una giovane suora di 23 anni, tenuta per tre giorni legata ad una croce di legno da quattro suore e da un abate per un rito di esorcismo, è morta l’altro giorno in un monastero ortodosso della Romania orientale. Lo ha reso noto la polizia di Vaslui secondo quanto riferisce l’agenzia romena Mediafax.

«INDEMONIATA» – «Era in preda agli spiriti maligni, abbiamo pregato per lei. Dal punto di vista religioso ci siamo comportati correttamente» ha detto alla polizia il priore del monastero di Tanacu, in provincia di Vaslui, secondo Mediafax. In precedenza la giovane suora, probabilmente affetta da turbe schizofreniche, era stata rinchiusa per diversi giorni in un edificio annesso al monastero, con mani e piedi legati e senza acqua o cibo.

INCHIESTA – Ora la polizia, ma anche le autorità religiose, hanno avviato una inchiesta per accertare come sono andate le cose. Finora si sa soltanto che la giovane suora, ritenuta in possesso del diavolo, prima di morire era rimasta per tre giorni appesa alla croce in legno, senza bere e senza mangiare e con un asciugamano legato intorno alla bocca come bavaglio.

19 giugno 2005

With regards to the Orthodox nuns and the fundamentalist priests: in a nutshell this is the consequence of Ceausescu’s policies of forced pregnancies, who made abortions illegal and contraceptives unavailable (sounds like the Catholic Church – doesn’t it?).
The dictator used to enjoin the populace:
“Comrade women, to have babies it is your patriotic duty!”

Yes it sounds odd – a connection between the death of a nun in 2005 and the dictator’s fixation with population growth some thirty years past. Yet there is a tenuous link between the two events: let me explain why:

During the 1970’s and 1980’s Romania had a population reduced to starvation, which could not feed its babies and had them instead abandoned to orphanages. This happened because Ceausescu was exporting all food to repay the national debt incurred over a forced industrialization that went wrong.
This nun, whose death made headlines, was aged 29, (not 23, as stated in the foreign press) therefore she was born in 1976. .In 1979, as three year-old infant, she was taken to an orphanage, where conditions were appalling and children treated like animals, because under a communist dictatorship (and YES there were plenty of militant communists in Western Europe, including Italy) people were reduced to the basest existence, they were treated like cattle.

By the time she came out of orphanage, aged 18, this girl, who had no qualifications and no family support to turn to, was completely damaged and rudderless. The case was typical of all abandonned children.
The post-Communist regime of oligarchs made of the children and grandchildren of the old Communist guard and of the second and third echelons of the repressive Communist Party did excellent business with the EU (Berlusconi included, but also with corrupt French and Swedes, and sundry EU officials and Americans.) All they did was to become richer at the expense of the poor, rather than take care of the most vulnerable people such as this young girl’s generation.
The heirs of Ceausescu, in the Socialist (ex-communist) Party enjoyed the same privileged relationship with the West: not only had they become billionaires (in dollars) overnight, through fraudulent contracts, illegal commissions, insider dealings of privatised state industries and land, but they expected foreign charities to improve the lot of their orphanages, which was the creation of the communist system. They did nothing to prepare these orphans for a new life, once they reached the age of adulthood. They did nothing to retrain to bring a new attitude to creating new jobs and new opportunities for the young, so long as their dollar bank balance in offshore accounts (like the Virgin Islands) looked well garnished. They pandered instead to naked extreme nationalism – the easiest manner to target the poor and the dispossessed.

On the other hand, the Orthodox Church Hierachy, which connived with the dictator Ceausescu to demolish its own churches and dismantle religion, was penetrated to the bone by Secret service agents, under the guise of priests, who were informing on the believers and the lay population alike; these priests were like torturers and now they carry on religious services, as if nothing has changed.

[img align=right]http://www.romanianstudies.org/images/articles/exorcism/in_coffin.jpg[/img]

After 1989, when Ceausescu was shot, there was a new drive in recruiting new priests, but the old system of selection did not produce any better, more enlightened specimens, quite the contrary they got their new breed of priests amongst the semiliterate and the reductive – and the priest in charge of killing the nun was one such example.
In fact, both priest and nun were the victims of the same old communist practice, of a whole fractured nation, which affected four generations:
1. the generation of our grandparents, who were in their 60’s when the communists came to power (you were lucky in Italy not to succumb to the same system and you probably know how close you were to suffering the dictatorship after the Second War), They had all their savings confiscated, and were given no pension – just left to be looked after by their family, which could hardly survive. Much of this generation died in slave labour camps and in prisons
2. then the generation of our parents (who were in their mid 30’s when the communists took over and died before Ceausescu was put down, their lives completely ruined: this generation too had its share of prisons and persecution
3. followed by our own generation, who were in primary school after the war – another fractured generation, which produced many exiles (most of my school contemporaries live abroad)
4. and finally the last generation of people like this nun and like this priest, the generation of unwanted children born in the 1970’s and 1980’s, who filled the orphanages and now are filling the brothels of Western Europe or the ranks of legal and illegal immigrants, more than one million in the last 15 years mostly people aged 30, who settled in the US, Canada, Australia, or Western Europe.

I know that for the un-initiated this story of the nun who died crucified in a convent, somewhere in the depths of Moldavia, has an awesome anecdotic value, taken out of context… yet for the politically aware it is, sadly, only the natural progression of a communist system that was perpetuated with the connivance of the fellow-travelers in the West, (of the French and Italian Communist parties of Maurice Thorez, Jacques Duclos and Palmiro Togliatti, of the Western leaders and heads of state who sucked up to Ceausescu, instead of exorcising him: de Gaulle, Giscard d’Estaing, Mitterand, Harold Wilson, Nixon, Carter, the Shah of Iran, the King and Queen of Belgium, and Peron, to mention only a few.

[img align=right]http://www.romanianstudies.org/images/articles/exorcism/to_cemetery.jpg[/img]I am afraid that the social scars left by 40 years of Communist dictatorship run deep and will be there to stay and their consequences will reappear from time to time, like the effect of nuclear fall-out, long time after the explosion. The story of a crucified nun in the Romanian Far East is the story of a crucified people, which suffered the injustice in the glare of the whole world who chose to ignore it, because it made no copy and now that it does make the headlines one turns the truth on its head, to fit the stereotypes of the day.

On a brighter note – I was sent by a friend a beautiful poem in Sardinian language: what a splendid language that is. I am sure that as you are keen of poetry you will enjoy it.



Read more about the Romanian Social Landscape in:

Blouse Roumaine – The Unsung Voices of Romanian Women

(Centre for Romanian Studies, London, 2009)

(1,100 pages, 160 Biographies, 600 quotations)


Tags: ···

No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.