Consecration and Benediction of First Carmelite Church and
Monastery in Romania
On August 3, 2002, Bishop Petru Gherghel, Bishop of Iasi
(Romania) consecrated the Carmelite church dedicated to Our Lady of
Mount Carmel and to the Prophet Elijah. He also blessed the Center of
Carmelite Spirituality. Both are located in Luncani, Romania and were
built by the Italian Province of Carmelites under the direction of
Italian Carmelite Tiberio Scorrano.
Present for the ceremony were Bishop Aurel Perca, Auxiliary Bishop, the
Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, the Councilor General for the
Mediterranean Region, Rafael Leiva Sánchez, the Prior Provincial of the
Italian Province, Claudio Bellotti, the Superior General of the
Missionary Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (Santa Marinella),
Sr. Beatrice Minieri, the Provincial, Sr. Donatella Cappello, Carmelites
from the Italian Province including many of the Romanian Carmelites.
Also present was the Orthodox pastor of Luncani, the mayor, and numerous
men and women religious including two Discalced Carmelites, many priests
and faithful. Fr. Petru Mares, a friend of the Order who is responsible
for bringing the Carmelites to Romania, also attended.
The whole complex, called ‘The Carmelite Monastery,’ was built with the
intention of hosting groups of pilgrims devoted to the Mother of God and
the Prophet Elijah. Retreats will be available. The monastery is located
15 km from Bacau, along the road to Moinesti, in the area of Luncani,
two kilometers from the forest.
The retreat house has 20 rooms, a conference room, dining room, and
smaller rooms for smaller groups to meet. The location, so near the
forest, creates an atmosphere of reflection and makes contact with
nature and long walks possibile.
THE ROMANIAN CARMELITE ICON
||This icon, which is unique,
presents a Carmelite Marian spirituality in a religious and cultural
context which is largely Orthodox. It combines both Byzantine and
Carmelite traditions and evokes immediately the images of Carmel and
of the Lady of the Place. There are a few particular characteristics:
such as the ‘mantle’, a typically oriental sign of protection.
Mary’s right hand holds her mantle which welcomes rather than covers
her faithful servants. These are men and women, members of the
Carmelite Family of the 20th century,
representatives of a new humanity emerging from her Tent, visibly
happy and praying. Blessed Titus Brandsma, witness to the struggle for
freedom from all forms of absolutism; Blessed Isidore Bakanja, a
humble witness of the faith; Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
(Edith Stein) symbol of the encounter between Christianity and
Judaism; Anicka Zelikova, Third Order Carmelite, particularly
interested in bioethics. They all stood up to evil, they banished the
desperation brought about by the horrors of human violence, because
they found refuge in their Mother and with her in her Son the Saviour.
From Mount Carmel the prophet Elijah’s voice also rises in a scroll
with the motto zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum. This
connects the two inspirational figures of the Carmelite charism. The
Carmelite shield is also highly visible recalling the great
undertaking of the Carmelite Family in spreading the Marian message.