Fr. Roman Braga reposes in the Lord

Rives Junction, Michigan, April 29, 2015

Yesterday, April 28, a priest of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America reposed in the women’s Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Rives Junction, Michigan.

The monastery’s website has provided information on the life of this well known and respected clergyman:

Father Roman Braga was born on April 2, 1922 in Bessarabia in a village named Condrita. He was the last of the seven children of Cosma and Maria Braga.

He grew up in an Orthodox environment, raised by a devout Orthodox mother and in the close proximity of the Monastery of Condrita. During his formative years, he had the living example of his mother who imprinted on her children the virtues of Christian life. Many times he remembered how his mother attended long church services at the monastery and how sleepy and tired he was, but he was always at his mother’s side. These formative years laid the foundation for the strict discipline of his entire life that served him all along, up to the very last day of his life.

At the age of seven he entered grade school in his native village and at the age of twelve he was sent to the monastery near Bucharest, Caldarusani, from where he was sent to the monastic seminary of Cernica, also near the Romanian capital. At Cernica, at the Seminary, while he was quite young, he formed life-long lasting friendships with some of the greatest future spiritual fathers of Romania. Here he met Fr. Sofian Boghiu, Fr. Felix Dubneac, Fr. Benedict Ghius, Fr. Grigore Babus, Fr. Gratian Radu; with some of them he would be in prison, and would also meet them again, years later, in the United States.

In 1942 he went back to Bessarabia to the Seminary of Chisinau until 1943 when he enrolled in parallel at the Theological Institute, The School of Letters and Philosophy as well as the Pedagogic Institute in Bucharest. Graduating Magna cum Laude in 1947 from the Theological Institute, he received the certificate of professor of Romanian Language and Theology, and in 1948 he entered the Doctoral program at the Institute of Theology in Bucharest.

However, he could not continue with his studies as he was arrested in the summer of 1948, and spent a year under interrogation, being accused of belonging to an anti-Semitic movement. He was detained in Bucharest at the Jilava prison and was also sent to Pitesti, the place where the infamous brainwashing experiments took place. Here in Pitesti he spent time in solitary confinement. In 1951 he was sent to a labor camp in the Danube Delta and was eventually released under parole in the Summer of 1953. He went to Iasi where his sister, Mother Benedicta, was a nun.

He was tonsured a monk in January of 1954 and a week later he was ordained a deacon at the Iasi Metropolia where he was allowed to remain until 1959, under surveillance by the secrete services, however. During this time he not only served daily at the Metropolia and sang in the choir, but he also conducted theological sessions with students from the Medical School and other universities, discussing the practice of the Prayer of the Heart, and interpreting the Philokalia for them. This caused him to be arrested again in 1959 and to spend another year under interrogation. Not being sure what kind of accusations to bring against him he was accused of having been part of the Burning Bush movement along with 15 others and was sentenced to 18 years of forced labor. From 1959 to 1964 he spent time in various concentration camps in the Danube Delta.

The year 1964, under pressure from the West, brought the Amnesty General decree when all political prisoners were freed. It is also the year he was ordained a priest at the Episcopate of Oradea. On January 1, 1965 he was installed as priest in a village in the Northern part of Romania; here he organized a choir of 100 children, a Sunday School, and performed all priestly duties for two years. The authorities did not look favorably on his work so he was moved secretly to another parish.

Being considered an “unwanted element” by the Communist government, the Patriarchate sent him as a missionary to Brazil. After four years in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1972 he was invited by Archbishop Valerian of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America to come to the United States. For the next five years he worked for the Episcopate by translating Romanian church music into English, he was active in the religious education program for children, belonged to the committee that translated religious Romanian text to English, as well as substituting in different parishes across the United States and Canada.

From 1979 to 1982 he was occupied with the functions of a parish priest at Holy Trinity Church in Youngstown, Ohio. From Youngstown he was assigned to the St. George Cathedral in Southfield, Michigan, and from there, as priest and spiritual father to the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.

After five years in Ellwood City, in 1988, he retired to the monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Rives Junction, Michigan where he remained for the rest of his life.

The next 15 years at the Dormition Monastery were filled by the complete cycle of liturgical services, counseling, teaching and pastoral ministry. Up until the past two years he never missed a service, and maintained his prayer rule intact: rising at 2:00 am, reading morning prayers, preparing for church and to be in church at 5:00 am sharp. He maintained most of the same schedule even after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, with the exception that, as time went by, he no longer had the strength to attend all the services. He, however, never missed a Divine Liturgy for which he always prepared in advance, regardless of how tired he was.

His spiritual children were and are many, and he never forgot anyone of them, even if he did not see them for many years.

During the Spring Session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA, on March 17, 2015 Father Roman was awarded the order of Saint Romanos in recognition for his outstanding contribution in the field of liturgical music in the OCA’s Romanian Episcopate of America. The award was presented to him by Archbishop NATHANIEL on the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, 2015.

He became bedridden only 10 days before his repose, but remained lucid and completely aware of his surroundings until the very end.

The funeral service for Fr. Roman will be held on May 1, 2015, in the Monastery of the Dormition, Rives Junction, Michigan. For more information, please see their website.


See also
Book Review: Fr. George Calciu: First Century Christian Book Review: Fr. George Calciu: First Century Christian Book Review: Fr. George Calciu: First Century Christian Book Review: Fr. George Calciu: First Century Christian
I had no idea. To be more precise, before I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, I knew that the Orthodox Church had been harshly suppressed by the communists, but I had no idea that the cruelty of persecution often equaled that inflicted on the early church.
“God Is Always With You” An Interview with Father Roman Braga “God Is Always With You” An Interview with Father Roman Braga
Fr. Roman Braga, Jessica Precop
“God Is Always With You” An Interview with Father Roman Braga “God Is Always With You” An Interview with Father Roman Braga
Fr. Roman Braga, Jessica Precop
When we were free we did not have time to ask ourselves these questions. Our faith was superficial because you can learn a lot of things and can have a mind like an Encyclopedia full of all the knowledge, but if you don’t know yourself and who you are!. Even if you know everything in the world you are superficial if you do not ask yourself who am I? Why do I exist? What is the destiny of my life? Why did God create me? If I believe in God what does God want from me?
An Interview with Elder Joel of Sihastria (1908–1986) An Interview with Elder Joel of Sihastria (1908–1986)
Archimandrite Ioanichie (Balan)
An Interview with Elder Joel of Sihastria (1908–1986) An Interview with Elder Joel of Sihastria (1908–1986)
Archimandrite Ioanichie (Balan)
Тhe fathers from Sihastria Monastery and the faithful from the region remember with great reverence the name of Protosinghel Joel (Gheorghiu). He was a skilled spiritual father, meek and merciful, with a heart pure before God and man. He was also a father of absolute obedience, humility, and prayer. Few from the community loved the services of the Church, the good order [of the monastic life] and silence as much as Fr. Joel did. However, in order to attain this spiritual measure, one needs over fifty years of ascetic labor, obedience, patience, and renunciation of all that is transitory. Otherwise, one is unable to acquire a peaceful conscience and the hope of salvation.
The Reverend Jasper Green Pennington11/14/2015 6:37 am
Fr. Braga came to St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Ypsilanti, several years ago to attend a meeting of the Fellowship of St. Alban & St. Sergius. I found him a delightful man with a great and rich knowledge of Christian spirituality. He was one of those people who share their goodness freely with others and thus enrich the life journey. Shortly after his visit with us my late cousin Fr. Basil Pennington, OCSO, told us of his time at Mt. Athos and the exposure to some of the richness of Orthodox life. Between the two of them I have been liften up by the light of God shining through them. May angels continue to welcome Fr. Braga...The Reverend Jasper Green Pennington, Ypsilanti, Michigan. 13 november 2015
Liana Filimon5/9/2015 6:46 am
This is so true!he He never forgot us!We went from Florida for Easter,and we were blessed by him,and he remembered us!We were lucky to see him right before he went back to The The Heavenly Father.We met him 30 years ago and went to see him whenever we could.He changed our life, he opened our eyes!God rest his soul in peace.Memory eternal!9892
Ron Skulas4/30/2015 4:33 am
May his memory be eternal.
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required