Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person – the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.
Father Gheorghe Calciu (November 23, 1925 – November 21, 2006)
I spoke of Your testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed (Psalm 118:46).
Father Gheorghe Calciu was born in the Danube Delta, in Mahmudia, where the propitious blend between the land’s richness and the sky’s beauty reflected into the pious hearts of the countrymen. That blessed place, which Father loved tenderly until the end of his life, fostered the love for God and nation in his soul —a love which later brought him as far as the confession of martyrdom.
Since the time he was in school and while yet a student at the Spiru Haret High School in Tulcea, Father chose to serve the suffering; exceptionally gifted in literature, famous among colleagues and teachers, who were predicting a bright career in literature for him, he decided, to everyone’s amazement, to go to medical school to help those in pain.
Yet his calling was a different one: he was to become a physician of souls after a spiritual “internship” of twenty-one years in the communist prisons.
Arrested in 1948 when he was a third year student at Bucharest University’s School of Medicine, he was interrogated in the Security’s basements and then sent to the Piteşti Prison, where the Christian youth was put through the dehumanizing experiment of re-education. Under the devastating realm of torture and fear, his soul was broken, but only for a while. At the so-called re-education trial of 1956, with a martyr’s courage, Gheorghe Calciu rejected the Security’s frame-up, pointing at the real authors. The punishment was detention in the casimca, a sort of an underground vault meant for extermination. But God saved him, and after his release in 1964, he attended the Literature and Theology Schools in Bucharest, becoming a priest and a professor at the Theological Seminary.
In 1978, when the atheist authorities ordered the demolition of the Enei Church in Bucharest, Father Gheorghe Calciu’s voice rose with the strength of that of the prophets of old, reproaching the wrong-doing and calling people to faith. His “Seven words for the youth” uttered then on the porch of the Radu-Vodă Monastery became the indictment counts for a new conviction. Pulled from the midst of his students and family, he was again sent down into the hell of communist prisons with a ten-year sentence.
Through pressure from the Romanian Diaspora in the West, he was released in 1984 and sent into exile in America. After a few years of difficulty and deprivation, Father managed to set up an Orthodox community in Washington DC akin to those in which the first Christians lived, when “those who believed were of one heart and one soul” (Acts 4: 32).
Father Calciu’s attempt to return to Romania for good after 1989 did not succeed. Perhaps because “no prophet is accepted in his own country” (Luke 4:24). But his last wish of being buried in his native land was fulfilled. His much-tried body rests now in the cemetery of the Petru-Vodă Monastery, and his soul rejoices together with the Romanian martyrs in the ineffable light of Christ’s Kingdom.
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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is. Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.