In 1978, Fr George Calciu delivered seven courageous homilies, one on each Wednesday of Lent, addressing the youth of Romania, knowing that his defiance would earn him even more long years of communist imprisonment. These became monuments of resistance to the tyranny of communism, and stirred the heart of a nation with the words: “What do you know of Christ, young man? If all you know is what they have taught you in atheism classes, you have been deprived [of] the only truth that can set you free.”
He was rewarded for his faithfulness when in the midst of the harshest conceivable conditions in prison, God allowed him to experience the Uncreated Light.
Many years later, his land now open to Western influences, Fr George in this lecture once again addresses Romanian youth with renewed urgency, but this time warning of different dangers emanating from the Western world, perhaps even more treacherous than before since they assume a mask of faith.
Now he asks those who had once found Christ: “Who stole God from you? Which gardener has hidden Him from you, so that now you are alone and crying?” His message is just as compelling to us today.
Source: Orthodox Christian
By Fr. George Calciu
What new word can I share with you my friends? Since then many long years have passed. A new generation has arisen, tested by unique experience and, perhaps, touched by a new skepticism born from contact with the Western world estranged from the right Faith.
Perhaps today, even more so than when I delivered those “Seven Homilies to the Youth,” the souls of young people — whom I consider as much my friends as I did back then (because I still speak in the name of Jesus Christ) — is increasingly assaulted by mental illness.
This is brought about by the treacherous propaganda from the West, behind the mask of liberal democracy, which often takes on the appearance of Christianity, just as Satan dons angelic light to deceive as many as possible.
Back then (in Communism) you were oppressed through force, which created within you a natural resistance against a system of materialistic thinking and formed within you a mystical dimension. You, my young friend, did not believe anything that was told to you then, because, as you know, under the guise of relative truth, which the rulers of the time had proclaimed as absolute truth, a complete and totalitarian lie was hidden.
Back then, the voice of the priest reached you through the spoken homily at the price of his liberty and even his life, and the truth of Christ consoled a soul wounded by the violence of political language and physical terror.
Back then you were told of Communist internationalism and of an exclusively materialistic existence, which sought to kill the universal love of the Savior. Then, you were told that you were a mere instrument, without freedom, in the social and political mechanism, and that only integration into this necessity would bring you freedom. However, Christ is calling you to a greater freedom of a totally different order when He says, “Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy word is Truth” (Jn 17:17) and, in another place, “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free” (Jn 8:32).
It is not so, my friend, that back then the Christian Truth appeared crystal clear and easily understandable to you?
Today, in the nest of lies which surrounds you from all sides, are you still able to distinguish the Truth from the lies as easily?
Under the invasion of American and Protestant-style “evangelization,” in which partial truths of Christianity are preached before a satanic background of rock music and in the form of a “cheap sham spectacle,” full of shrieks and false tears, with miracles and healings falling upon your confused head, how can you find the true Christ in your heart?
Yesterday, under the terror of Communism atheism, you could robe your soul with the body of the Lord, anointed with myrrh, as when Joseph and Nicodemus put him in the tomb.
Today seduced by the infernal rhythm of drums and the barbaric rhythm of sectarian preaching, you no longer find God, and you stand, like Mary Magdalene, crying from the empty tomb of your soul.
Who stole God from you? Which gardener has hidden Him from you, so that now you are alone and crying?
Return to the simple truth of faith and to the account of the Resurrection of Christ! Run like Peter and John towards the Lord’s tomb, stoop down, enter, and you shall see and you, shall believe, knowing the Scripture, that Jesus had to rise from the dead!
Perhaps yesterday, when Communism tried to wrench any faith from your heart and to form you into a mere cog in the gears of the social machinery, you, out of a spirit of youthful revolt had more Christ in your soul than you have today.
Today you are attacked from all sides with the sound of the rhythmic drumming of all the anti-Christian organizations, which wish to create an amorphous mass out of the world’s nations, easily led to their intended destination. So it happens in the political world — a few individuals are anointed in secret and installed to govern all people from positions of international power. They determine which nations have the right to bear children and which must abort them; they substitute themselves to God and sketch the destiny of nations according to their pleasures and interests. Whoever does not submit shall perish!
This totalitarianism is expressed, more and more, even in the life of the Church, through Masonic-style ecumenical international organizations, which actually impose a new religion, a new liturgy divested of sacredness, the Holy Mysteries, and ritual, like a modern theatrical production.
These so-called religious theaters — which you see gathered in all the public marketplaces, led by some of the Western youth — represent the desanctification of Christianity and the Liturgy. Unfortunately even some Orthodox clergy have taken part in the de-sacramentalization of the Liturgy, as in the case of the brochure Reconciliation — the Gift from God and the Beginning of New Life, edited in Iasi, in 1995, where among the editors is found an Orthodox priest (of course, not without the approval of his hierarch). This work, in its liturgical part, is an attack on the sanctity of Orthodox Liturgy and a negation of its Mysteries.
How can you not stand, like Mary, in front of an empty tomb? All these attacks are pointed against you, young men, especially against you, because you are more deprived of protection and you are more sensitive to injustices. Your attackers want to tell you that you are an empty tomb if you no not submit to them.
However, it is written: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are from God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I Jn 4:1).
Who can test today if the spirits come from God when the Orthodox and catholic priests themselves preach an anti-Christian Messianic message, similar to the sects established by rebels against the Church? Who protects you from straying, my younger brother? Who is to enrobe your heart with the presence of true Christ and not with the false christs of this age?
As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth… And of his fullness have all we received , and grace for grace (Jn 1:12–14,16).
You were born, young man, not of desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but from God, Who became flesh for you and of Whose fullness you partook, and grace after grace you have received.
This grace is a shield against fornication, to which your modern teachers push you. They tell you that liberty is the eradication of any obstacle facing you; that a good conscience is a talisman; that honor is an old-fashioned, obsolete notion; that sexuality is the unleashing of the beast within you; that your likeness to Christ is a story created by the priests; and that the love of God and neighbor is a new way of inhibiting your personality. Search in your heart, beyond this diabolic ticket of lies, and you will find the Truth, the only one that shall set you free! And the supreme Truth is the Resurrection, the Resurrection of Christ, as the lever for your own resurrection.
As we approach Passion Week, which we meet filled with pain and repentance for our own participation in the slaying of Christ, not only by the mere decadence of the old Adam but through our actions at every moment and our daily falls. Through these we have wounded Him Who is the ideal of human perfection. The priest proclaims from the altar “the death of God” again and again during the 12 Passion Gospels in a wearing and haunting way. “O my sweet springtime, O my sweetest child, where has Thy beauty gone?” We will be mournful and full of tears, but never despairing, because we know that the time has come when the Son of Man will be betrayed and delivered into the hands of high priests, who will judge, condemn and give Him over to death, but on the third day He will rise (cf. Mt. 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:18-19; Mk. 10:33-34; Lk. 9:22, 18:31-35). This is why we sing during the Lamentation service: “As a lion hast Thou fallen asleep in the flesh, O Savior, and as a young lion hast Thou risen from the dead, putting off the old age of the flesh.”
With torn flesh, ravaged by torments, Christ arises as a lion cub, renewed trough the total spiritualization of the body. As a lion cub, He comes out of the myrrh-filled linen shroud, leaving it untouched yet retaining its form. As a lion cub He ascends, illumined, through the stone of the tomb without leaving a trace — the stone which the angel would later remove in order to show the women that Jesus was no longer in the grave. “Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Mt. 28:6).
Christ is Risen!
Paradoxically, the priest who said to you that Christ had died now proclaims, in the brilliant light of the Truth, that He is Risen. He knows and he preaches the Truth of the Resurrection with conviction. Friend, you are no longer an empty tomb! The risen Christ dwells in you and His joy remains wholly in you.
During Pascha of 1981, I was in the prison of Aiud. Early that morning, when the guards was changing shifts, I broke every diabolic rule of the prison by saying to the guard (one of the cruelest): “Christ is Risen!” He hesitated a few moments, in which, like lightening, I saw passing on his face the innocence of childhood, when his mama or grandma led him by the hand to church and when he heard the angelic voice of the priest saying: “Christ is Risen!”
After this moment of hesitation, he softly answered me; “Truly, He is Risen!” It was for me the most assuring proof that I was never misled in this regard: the one who was torturing me (for Christ) was confessing the Resurrection of the Lord! I cried in silence with tears of joy.
Late, Cornel Prisacaru came to try to prove to me there, behind the bars, in cold and hunger, through Marxist arguments, that it was stupid to believe and affirm the Resurrection of Christ. When he entered my cell, I said: “Christ is Risen!” He gazed fixedly a few seconds and asked me in return: “Did you see Him?”
“I did not see Him, Mr. Cornel, but I believe in the Resurrection through the authority of those who saw Him risen and confessed it: apostles and disciples, myrrh-bearing women, solders who lay as dead men, penetrated by the light of the Resurrection, millions of martyrs who, in the moment of their martyric deaths, have had the vision of the risen Christ. You have not seen the North Pole, but you don’t doubt its existence, through the authority of those who informed you. You have not seem Marx or Engels or Lenin but you believe in their existence, and I assume, in their theories, through the authority of those who speak to you about them.”
I was wasting myself in a stupid and cadaverous argument, using human proof, dead before they were uttered, when the supreme Truth consists in its simple proclamation. I was encountering in some way the same circumstances as had the Apostle Paul when he made use of philosophy before the Athenian citizens, speaking about the irrational and anti-rational act of the Resurrection (cf. Acts 17:16-34). I was slaying little by little, the spirit of Truth which the previous guard had kindled in my cell through the simple confirmation of the Resurrection: “Truly he is Risen!”
Young friend, I can enumerate biblical proof of the Resurrection; I can send you to the tomb with Peter and John to see how Jesus came out from the linen cloth without changing its form, or through the rock without breaking it; I can tell you of all of His appearances to the apostles, disciples and saints. They are all, in my mouth, smoke and haze, if the Spirit of God does not speak through me.
Christ has risen in your heart even before I or someone else could tell you. And you knew this fact and confirmed it, the same as my guard, when you cried from the deepest inarguable conviction: “Truly He is Risen!” Hristos a Inviat! Adevarat a Inviat! (Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!)
Do not run after spectacles; do not run after cheap miracles performed on stage, do not run to the senseless babbling of the sectarians; their incomprehensible words are serpents coming out of their mouth! Do not run to the theatrical preaching of any of them; they are all lies, they are all hidden weapons of Satan! Go to the simplest truth, to the most indisputable and even more undisputed: Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
From The Orthodox Word, No. 255, 2007.
About the Author
Father George Calciu (1925-2006) was one of the great confessors of Christianity in the twentieth century. Having survived the diabolic prison experiments of Communist Romania, Fr. George went on to become an apostle to spiritual seekers in Romania and, eventually, throughout the world. He was able to speak authoritatively of God's love and forgiveness because of his own experience of God's mercy.
As a priest in America, Fr. George maintained a strict ascetic life of fasting and prayer, while at the same time pastoring his flock as a joyful and loving father.