Abstract: Prezentul articol înfăţişează doar câteva aspecte din lucrarea misionară, socială, culturală şi patriotică a preoţilor de mir ai Bisericii noastre din trecut. Este totodată un modest omagiu adus celor mai vrednici dintre ei, dar mai ales cu nădejdea că strădaniile lor pot constitui o pildă vrednică de urmat pentru slujitorii de azi şi de mâine ai altarelor noastre strămoşeşti. Activitatea preoţilor români a îmbrăţişat o gamă foarte variată de probleme. Ei au fost prezenţi, înainte de toate în viaţa spirituală a credincioşilor, contribuind la păstrarea tezaurului de credinţă ortodoxă. Pe lângă aceasta, mulţi dintre ei au adus şi o contribuţie de seamă la promovarea limbii literare, a literaturii româneşti, a învăţământului, artei şi vieţii social-economice. În acelaşi timp, prin activitatea lor patriotică, au sprijinit toate aspiraţiile poporului român de dreptate socială şi independenţă naţională, aducând o contribuţie apreciabilă la făurirea statului român unitar.
Keywords: aspects in the missionary, priestly activity, educators, cultural and patriotic activity, manuscript copyists, literary works, first schools, church publications
Summary: The present paper dwells on aspects in the missionary, social, cultural and patriotic activity carried out by the secular priests of our Church in the past. It is also a tribute to the worthiest of them, in the hope that their endeavours can set an example to be followed by today’s and tomorrow’s celebrants at our ancestral Church altars. Historical documents reveal details on the priestly activity, as well as the extremely important role they had in the life of rural Romania and in the history of the Romanian people. The priests were elected by the faithful, from their own community, and recommended for ordination not on the grounds of their formal training, but especially for their exemplary life and their spiritual qualities. Priesthood was usually passed down from father to son, so that a parish could be shepherded for a long while (even centuries) by priests belonging to the same family. Despite a limited ability at preaching the evangelic truths due to the lack of extensive theological training, the Romanian priests preached the Gospel by their deeds, leading by the example of their own lives and the lives of their family members. Many Romanian scholars were born to priests’ families. For centuries, the priests were almost exclusively the educators of the Orthodox people, regulating the social life in their villages. The secular clergy had little theological education but was animated by strong faith and love for God and their fellow people, by which they contributed to the safeguarding and defense of Orthodoxy. Beside this natural role of the priests in the life of their parishes and parishioners, a great number of them exceeded the expectations pertaining to their office, and contributed to the cultural, economic, social and national thriving. Their role in fostering Romanian culture and language is noteworthy: secular priests were among the earliest manuscript copyists, and they circulated literary works in the Romanian rural areas, thus contributing significantly to the development of Romanian education. The first schools were established within the precincts of monasteries and parish churches. Some of the Transylvanian priests played a major role in the progress of Romanian printed press; newspapers and journals with economic, pedagogical, cultural contents were drawn up by priests-professors of theology, in addition to the theological and church publications. Many other priests concerned themselves with literature, history and art, thus contributing to the development of Romanian art and culture. Many priests were church founders, most of them having supervised construction works in their parishes, and thus contributing to the development of Romanian sacred architecture. Others have supervised the painting works, or have been church painters themselves. Some of the priests have contributed to the development of church music, others have been the people’s best advisors in economy and agriculture matters, and yet others promoted craftsmanship and crafts in Romania and helped organize Romanian craftsmen into associations. The work of Romanian priests covered a very wide range of activities. They were first and foremost present in the spiritual life of the believers, contributing to the perpetuation of the Orthodox faith patrimony. In addition, many of them also contributed significantly to promoting the literary language, Romanian literature, education, art and social-economic life. By their patriotic activity they supported all the Romanian people’s aspirations towards social justice and national independence and had a significant contribution to the creation of the unitary Romanian state.
Articol publicat în: Biserica Ortodoxă Română, Anul C, 1982, nr. 3-4 (martie-aprilie), pp. 275-284.
Pr. prof. Mircea Păcurariu – (n. 30 iulie 1932, Ruși, Bretea Română, Hunedoara, România – d. 13 ianuarie 2021, Sibiu, România) a fost un profesor universitar de teologie, istoric și preot român, membru titular al Academiei Române din 2015. Specialist de renume în istoria Bisericii Ortodoxe Române.