Studies and formation
Boca was born on 29 September 1910, in Vața de Sus, in what was then Austria-Hungary, and his parents gave him the first name Zian. He studied at the ”Avram Iancu” National High School, graduating in 1929. The same year he embarked upon study at the Theological Academy in Sibiu, from which he graduated in 1933. He received a scholarship from the Archbishop of Transylvania to study at the Fine Arts Academy in Bucharest. Meanwhile, he attended the medical classes of Professor Francisc Rainer and the Christian Mystics class of Professor Nichifor Crainic.
Recognising his artistic talent, Petrescu entrusted him with the painting of a dipiction of Mihai Viteazul for the Romanian Athenaeum. Sent by his bishop, he traveled to Mount Athos for documentation and spiritual experience.
Serving the Church
Boca was made a deacon on 29 September 1935 by Metropolitan Nicolae Bălan. In 1939 he spent three months in the Romanian Skete Prodromos on Mount Athos. On his return, he joined the Brâncoveanu Monastery at Sâmbăta de Sus, Braşov County, where he took his vows and was tonsured into monachism in 1940. He was ordained priest and became the abbot of the Brâncoveanu Monastery in 1942. As abbot he embellished and renovated the buildings of the monastery, while also enriching its spiritual and cultural life. He helped the theologian Dumitru Stăniloae, from Sibiu, with the translation, into Romanian, of the first volumes of the Philokalia, a collection of early Church fathers and monastics in the hesychast tradition.
After the installation of the communist regime in Romania, Boca was persecuted by the authorities and the regime's secret police, the Securitate. He was arrested several times for allegedly helping the anti-communist resistance, removed from Brâncoveau Monastery to Prislop Monastery and thence to Sinaia Monastery. He was banned from monasticism and Church activities and was constantly under the surveillance and harassment of the Securitate.
Father Arsenie has not yet been canonized as a saint. Nonetheless pilgrims from all over Romania flock to pray at his grave which is located in Prislop Monastery, Romania. In October 2015 the Romanian Orthodox Church announced that it was considering the cause of his recognition and proclamation as a saint.
- Alison Mutler. Romanian Orthodox Church considers popular monk, persecuted by communists for sainthood. Star Tribune (AP). 1 October 2015
- Facebook Page
- Christian Orthodox Association Hieromonk Arsenie Boca Association
- Official Page of Brancoveanu Monastery in Sambata de Sus
- Biography and photos of Arsenie Boca, in Romanian
- Web-page dedicated to Arsenie Boca, in Romanian
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