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Archimandrite Ioanichie Balan
Abbot, spiritual father, missionary, confessor, hesychast … Fr Cleopa was all of these. His ‘university’ was the more that eight years of complete solitude and withdrawal he spent in the forests of Romania.
He fulfilled the obedience of caring for the monastery’s sheep for nearly 15 years. From shepherding sheep, he was summoned directly to be the abbot and spiritual guide not only for one monastery, but for the entire nation.
When Patriarch Justinian invited Fr Cleopa to speak to students in Bucharest, the elder replied, Your Beatitude, leave me in my wilderness. You have wise and learned men in Bucharest, who have doctorates in theology. I am a stupid sinner, a rotten old man, a potsherd tied together with wire. After a trip to the city, it takes me a month to regain my peace. Here in the mountains, I see a bird, a sheep, a beautiful tree … and I find salvation.
Fr. Cleopa has found his place in history as the most representative elder and spiritual father of contemporary Romanian Orthodox spirituality.
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