Bucharest, October 6, 2023
Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae is among those 20th-century ascetics whom the Romanian Patriarchate intends to canonize in 2025, when it celebrates the 140th anniversary of its autocephaly and 100th anniversary of the its Patriarchal status.
And yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the repose of Fr. Dumitru, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century.
Undoubtedly, memorial prayers were offered for the repose of his soul throughout Romania and beyond. In particular, he was prayerfully commemorated by a group of clerics at the St. Catherine Chapel of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest, reports the Basilica News Agency.
Priest and Professor Ștefan Buchiu emphasized that Fr. Dumitru “is present in our midst through his work, through his spirit, which he transmitted to his disciples and to all those who knew him and who follow his path of theology.”
He continued, exhorting the students of the Faculty to continue Fr. Dumitru’s work:
Secondly, his theology is nourished by the thought of the Holy Fathers, who are the best commentators of the Holy Scriptures, but also those who fulfilled in their lives the message of the Gospel.
We all have the duty, especially those of us who study here, in the Faculty where he studied theology for four decades, to follow his example, to love the Holy Fathers, to always return and remain faithful to our revealed faith even more chosen as sons of the Church to take seriously the service that today we must bring to all people.
Fr. Dumitru taught at the Faculty of Theology in Bucharest from 1947 until his repose.
The beloved theologian and ascetic was also commemorated at his grave at Cernica Monastery, near Bucharest. There, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Fr. Gheorge Holbea, a spiritual son of Fr. Dumitru.
Fr. Gheorge spoke about his spiritual father:
Father taught us that God loves each of us completely, that is, not just a part. This completeness that Father describes in The Knowledge of God in the Concrete Circumstances of Life (Dogmatic Theology Vol. 1), we know God in His special care towards each person. This is an extraordinary revelation.
Father had the gift of an interpreter, and I witnessed it many times. For example, when I met him, he was translating St. Athanasius the Great, and he marveled at what wealth, what extraordinary things he found…
Fr. Stăniloae was not only a translator. Fr. Stăniloae was in communion with the saints, he knew very well what it means to be in communion with the saints, because he prayed to them. That is, he was praying to St. Athanasius, whom he was translating.
Fr. Dumitru was born on November 16, 1903 in Vlădeni, Braşov County.
He studied theology at the University of Chernivtsi, where he wrote on the baptism of children. He then studied dogmatics and Church history in Athens.
In the fall of 1928, he defended his doctoral thesis on Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem and his connections with the Romanian lands at the University of Chernivtsi.
He then went to study in Berlin, Paris, and Belgrade, with a focus on Byzantinology and dogmatics and documentation of the original work of St. Gregory Palamas.
Upon his return to Romania, he was assigned as a substitute professor at the Andreiene Theological Academy, where he remained for 17 years.
On October 5, 1930, he married his wife Maria. Two years later, he was ordained to the priesthood, and another year later, on October 8, his daughter Lidia was born.
In June 1936, he was appointed rector of the Theological Academy of Sibiu. He remained in this position until 1946. It was during this time that he translated the first volume of the Romanian Philokalia. He was then transferred to the Faculty of Theology at the University of Bucharest, to the chair of ascetic and mystical theology.
He was arrested on September 4, 1958, and taken to Aiud Prison. He was released five years later and began working as a clerk at the library of the Holy Synod.
He became a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy in 1990, and a full member in 1991. He received honorary titles from several universities throughout the world.
Fr. Dumitru reposed in the Lord on October 5, 1993.