Moldova marks 200th anniversary of death of Metropolitan Gavriil Banulescu-Bodoni
17:36 | 30.03.2021 Category: Culture
Chisinau, 30 March /MOLDPRES/ - The 200th anniversary of the death of Metropolitan, culture man, ecclesiastic writer, the first metropolitan of the Church from Bessarabia Gavriil Banulescu-Bodoni, who was canonized as saint of the Orthodox Church of Moldova (2016), is marked today.
The metropolitan was born in Bistrita, and his Christian name was Grigorie. He studied at the elementary and the normal schools in Bistrita and in Transylvania. Then he continued his education in Budapest and afterwards - at the Theological Academy from Kiev (1771-1773). After that, he left for Greece: at the schools from Chios, Patmos and the Vatopedi Monastery from the Holy Mount Athos (1773-1776). Upon his return, he held the position of teacher in Nasaud (1776) and after one year, he went to Iasi. He is appointed teacher of Latin at the local Princely School (1778). He turned into a monk with the name Gavriil in Constantinople in 1779 and with the support of metropolitan Gavriil Calimachi, he left for the Patmos island to continue his education.
In 1781-1782, monk Gavriil was ordained hieromonk, appointed teacher of Greek language and preacher at the Metropolitan Cathedral from Iasi. Given that the Turks suspected him of spreading free-masonic ideas, he took refuge to Poltava, where he was teacher at the local Seminary (1782-1784). Upon his return to Iasi, he was ordained archimandrite (1784). In 1786, he was bishop in Roman; yet, given that he was not accepted by the then Phanariot ruler, he returned to Russia in the same year. Under a decree by the Empress Catherine of Russia from 22 December 1789, he was ordained bishop of the White Castle (Bilhorod) and Bender (Tighina). On 10 February 1972, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church appointed him as Metropolitan of Muntenia. Yet, in the same year, Alexandru Moruzi, the new ruler of Moldova, sent him to arrest in Istanbul. Released following an intervention by the Russian representative, he returned to Russia and was appointed Metropolitan of Poltava (1793-1799) and then of Kiev and Halych (1799-1803).
In 1801, Tsar Alexander I appointed him member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1803, he retired and settled first in Odessa and then moved to Dubasari (1805-1808).
On 27 March 1808, under a decree by the Tsar, he was appointed as exarch of the Church from Moldova and Muntenia (1808-1812), both countries being under Russian military occupation. After the end of the Russian-Turkish war with the Bucharest Peace (16 May 1812) and Bessarabia’s annexation by Russia, he was appointed at the head of the new local Archiepiscopate, with residence in Chisinau, set up at his request and where he shepherded till his death.
Metropolitan Gavriil Banulescu-Bodoni organized his eparchy well; he endowed it with a printing house and set up the Theological Seminary from Chisinau (1813), which he wished to be Romanian.
Due to his interventions, the Bible in the Romanian language was printed in St. Petersburg; this is the third edition of the Holy Scripture in Romanian (the first one appeared in Bucharest in 1688 and the second one in Blaj in 1795). The metropolitan was awarded the Order of Saint Andrew, offered by Tsar Alexander I (1801).
Metropolitan Gavriil Banulescu-Bodoni died in Chisinau on 30 March 1821 and was buried at the Capriana Monastery.