Relics of future saint Elder Petroniu (Tănase) exhumed on Mt. Athos

Mt. Athos, April 28, 2023

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The relics of the beloved Romanian Athonite elder Petroniu (Tănase) were ceremoniously exhumed on the Holy Mountain yesterday.

The service of exhumation at the Prodromu Skete was led by Patriarchal Vicar Bishop Varlaam of Ploieşteanu, reports the Basilica News Agency.

Fr. Petroniu, who spent the last 33 years of his life on Mt. Athos, and the last 25 as abbot of Prodromu until his repose on February 22, 2011, has been proposed for canonization by the Romanian Metropolis of Muntenia and Dobrogei.

Elder Petroniu “had a high spiritua life,” said Bp. Varlaam. “When we took out his leg bones, we thought about how tired they were, because Fr. Petroniu never sat down during the long services and vigils.”

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His Grace also recalled how Fr. Petroniu always received pilgrims with great love and had “a voice that calls you to deep inner prayer, to piety.”

Thousands of Romanians have blessings from Fr. Petroniu, who always answered all letters sent to him and often donated funds to those in need, the hierarch said.

And of course, he remains an example for the monks of Prodromu Skete “who enjoyed his spiritual guidance and especially the bright example of his life as a teacher of prayer, humility, repentance, piety, and love of country.”

Bp. Varlaam also noted that there are numerous testimonies about other Romanian Athonite fathers for whom there will also be canonization efforts.


Photo: Photo: Elder (Petroniu Tănase) was born in Fărcaşa, Neamţ County on May 23, 1916.

He joined Neamţ Monastery, where he became a monk on September 22, 1942. From Neamţ, he was called to Antim Monastery of Bucharest, where he continued his intellectual formation, graduating the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, and attending courses of mathematics and philosophy. In 1947, he was ordained hieromonk for the Patriarchal Cathedral, and then sent to teach homiletics, catechetics and pedagogy at the Monastic Seminary of Neamţ Monastery.

A hard period for the missionary monk began with the onset of the totalitarian regime, and he was forced to leave Neamţ Monastery in 1959. It was with much courage and zeal for the Church Christ, our Savior, and the same never-ending love for the monastic life that he retired to the community of Sihăstria Monastery in 1964, where he lived till 1978, when he left for the Romanian Skete of Prodromu on Mt. Athos.

The monks of Prodromu elected Fr. Petroniu to be their abbot seven years after his arrival there. During his time as abbot of the Skete (from 1984), he completed much restoration work there. During his abbacy, the walls of the cathedral were painted, a new guesthouse was built, and a convenient road was constructed connecting the Skete to the Lavra.

The blessed Elder was a great spiritual authority not only on Mt. Athos, but also throughout Greece and in his native Romania. The monks of Romanian and Moldavian origin all considered him their spiritual father. His book of spiritual contemplations, The Doors of Repentance, has been translated into several European languages.

Fr. Petroniu was asked to be Patriarch of Romania twice, but he humbly refused.

He reposed in the Lord on February 22, 2011.

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