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Metropolitan Varlaam, great scholar, theologist, architect of Moldova's national Church

14:10 | 22.01.2021 Category: Moldova's outstanding personalities

Varlaam was Metropolitan of Moldova and adviser of Ruler Vasile Lupu for decades. Varlaam was born in family of free peasants from Bolotesti, Putna county, in 1580. From the early age, he showed special interest in monasteries and spiritual life. As of the age of ten years, he was an often guest of the Neamt Monastery and then he took knowledge of the lifestyle of the hermits from the Secu Monastery, where he learned the Greek and Slav languages. He became monk at Secu and in 1610 he became superior of the monastery for more than two decades. The soul’s purity and the endeavor prompted the election of Varlaam as Metropolitan of Moldova in 1632– the first son of peasant in this position.              

Varlaam was a very important figure in the political and cultural life of Moldova. He was the only secret adviser of Ruler Vasile Lupu and had courage to criticize the ruler mercilessly, when he deserved this. The Metropolitan’s influence led to the flourishing of the spiritual life on this period. The churches and monasteries founded by him are explained in this way. The restoration of the Golia Monastery, the blessing by the Metropolitan of the Three Hierarchs Church from Iasi, where the relics of Saint Paraskeva, donated to Vasile Lupu by the Ecumenical Patriarch Partenie I, as well as tens of other churches and monasteries, including from Bessarabia, all of them were made at an initiative by Metropolitan Varlaam.    

Metropolitan Varlaam was the first who set to gradually switch the Church activity to the Romanian language, in order to make it better understood by the people. He organized the first printing house at the Monastery Saint Three Hierarchs from Iasi, where he printed his most valuable books in Romanian, Namely here, Cazania (The Sermon) or Cartea românească de învățătură (Romanian Education Book) were printed (1643); this book excelled through the deepness of the thoughts set forth and the extremely cared and innovating form of expression of the Romanian language. This was a big book, with 506 sheets and numerous wood engravings. This book was of exceptional quality and was widely spread and appreciated in the entire Romanian space.    

Less was mentioned in the history the moment when Varlaam, through the international recognition of his achievements, was one of the three candidates to the Patriarchal See of Constantinople. Sources of the archives from the Constantinople Patriarchy confirm that Varlaam lost with just one vote the Patriarchal See of Constantinople.  

After Ruler Vasile Lupe had lost his throne, Varlaam retired to the Secu Monastery, where he died in 1667. He was buried nearby the wall of the Monastery’s church. The Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church put Varlaam forward for canonization, which was actually accomplished on 30 August 2007.

A well-known Syrian Orthodox traveller, Paul de Alep, took knowledge of a written work by Metropolitan Varlaam titled, Prorocii despre vremurile din urmă şi căderea creștinească a Moldovei (Prophecies about the last days and the Christian downfall of Moldova). Varlaam, with a surprising accuracy, speaks about the evil future of Moldova, about the territorial tearing up of the country. ’’The people will become wicked and the traditions of the land will go bad, multiplying between them as animals, without any shame, giving up the Holy Christian Mystery of the Weeding. They will defame the Christian customs, getting used to all kinds of alien traditions and the pagans will get mixed with the Christian blood. A big wrath will be at that time. In the last times, the soils will no longer yield harvest, woods will be cut, lakes will be drained, people will sell their lands shamelessly, forgetting that their ancestors preserved them with swords,’’ the great scholar wrote.     

Metropolitan Varlaam represents one of the brightest personalities of Moldova, who through his spiritual purity and the power of the mind, served with self-denial the Motherland and the Faith and placed Moldova among the most worthy Christian countries.

Chisinau, 22 January /MOLDPRES/.



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