Father George Calciu: Interviews, Homilies, and Talks

Father George Calciu: Interviews, Homilies, and TalksFather George Calciu: Interviews, Homilies, and Talks by George Calciu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is not a single narrative, but a selections of biographical sketches about and interviews with Father George Calciu, as well as a selection of his homilies, talks, and newsletter articles written to his congregation. Because of this, there is a certain amount of repetition — repetition which is to be expected.

The organization of this book is interesting, beginning with biographical sketches and interviews which mention the seven Lenten Homilies to the Youth, the sermons Father George gave to the Romanian people in 1978. But for all the foreshadowing, one is still unprepared for the power of these sermons. It is no wonder that they were laboriously hand-copied, passed from person to person, and quickly made their way to the outside world. After his Homilies to the Youth the book focuses on the various lectures, talks, writings, and interviews given after Father George was released from prison and exiled to the United States, including interviews given after the fall of communism and on the occasion of his visit to his homeland.

Their are several notable things about this book.

First, Father George rarely names names or places blame. There are a few occasions where he mentions a specific church hierarch who failed him, specifically the Bishop and former monk who arranged for Father George’s arrest and imprisonment. And yet even here there is no sense that Father George is seeking revenge; what one senses is sorrow and forgiveness. Father George notes that when he initially began writing his account of life in the Pitești prison, his anger overwhelmed him. It wasn’t until he put his writing away, symbolically making a break with the past, that he recovered. By this we are meant to learn that the rehashing of wrongs hurts our hearts and is ultimately unfruitful. Revenge is a dish best not served at all.

Second, Father George notes several times that it was through suffering that he became aware of God’s presence, that God was with him in his suffering. God did not save him from his suffering, nor did God save him by means of his suffering. However, patient endurance of suffering — while not redemptive — has a purifying effect.

Third, there are passages in this book that are quite remarkable in their practicality. For example, when Father George discusses prayer, he outlines which prayers are normative, and then provides a number of techniques by which one can maintain focus on the prayers. Unlike some more theoretical discourses on prayer, this is personal, pragmatic, and pastoral.

Finally, Father George notes that although our fellow Christians can fail us, our priests can fail us, and even the Church hierarchs can fail is, the Church is still the place where we find salvation. This is continually relevant, as the failure of Bishops, Metropolitans, and Patriarchs looms large in social media. And yet the Church of Christ still stands, and is still the one place where we can partake of the Eucharist, the medicine of immortality. Thanks be to God.

View all my reviews

The Loneliness of Contemporary Man

Picture of a man's hands gripping prison bars


My beloved faithful, our contemporary society and most authorities …are increasingly isolating us, in order that we may become lonelier, less bound to each other, and less communicative, in order that they may lead us to their intended destination. They are trying to isolate us, because communities are much harder to lead than isolated individuals.

The Communists have done this through violence. The West doesn’t use violence but another method: proclaiming that you are “unique,” that you have “many rights,” that you are an “independent man,” that you need to be alone, not confined by your parents, not obedient to them or to anyone as a child, because you are a “free man.”

This misunderstood freedom is a revolt against God, it is nihilism.

Thus we have reached the state that we see today, with all the crimes that haunt the world … where fourteen-year-old children shoot their teachers, their friends, and their parents.

We have broken the human ties with those we live near. That spiritual relationship between my brother and me, between my parents and me, between parents and children, between friends has vanished. And in this disintegration of personality, which leads towards a demonized world, we are growing increasingly isolated.

Let us remain united in faith and love with one another, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us stay united in the community of the Church, because the Church of Christ is the only beneficial social group.[1]  Other groups lead to self-destruction. They attempt to destroy humankind, to make man an instrument of business,[2] a mere cog in the complicated mechanism of human society.


Calciu, George. Father George Calciu: Interviews, Homilies, and Talks. Edited by Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. Platina: Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2010.

[1] [Fr. George is not speaking here of family and friends. Elsewhere Fr. George speaks of the father as the priest of the family church. He also says: “You are in Christ’s Church whenever you uplift someone bent down in sorrow, when you help someone elderly walk more easily, or when you give alms to the poor and visit the sick.” (Calciu 2010, 162) The Church of Christ exists wherever we bear the body and blood of Christ to the world; the Church of Christ exists wherever we serve our family, our friends, and our neighbor, renewing the bonds of love and thereby resacrilizing the world.]

[2] [We are treated as an “instrument of business” when we are lumped together in arbitrary groups based on common characteristics rather than as communities of persons — when our primary relationship is viewed as being the isolated customer of a soulless corporation, treated in the aggregate as consumers.]

A Word on the “Spirit of the Times”



There is a “spirit” unveiling itself in Europe and the world in general, a New Age kind of spirit that frequently changes its appearance and speech,[1] striking the Christian world from all sides. Its images is generally gentle, its discourse attractive, but its intent perfidious. This spirit can speak in beautiful words about family, but its intent is to annihilate it. It can also sermonize on the Church, full of “love” for all, a sort of religious syncretism, but its urge is primarily to dispel Orthodoxy. It can speak about nations and their homelands as something that it tries to support, but its intent is to destroy both the Church and the nations. This spirit is called Ecumenism.

And this whole “beautiful” discourse, which takes on many faces, has only one purpose: the destruction of nations, the abolition of the Orthodox Church in particular, and the establishment of a group of leaders, anointed by I do not know whom …to win over all nations to their spirit, to initiate them into certain social, political, and religious orders, so that those leaders may always direct [world events]. Let us not be deceived! I live among these “spreaders” of prolific and protean discourses that cover the world. And I know their hearts. They have no good intention for our Church! Under the guise of Christian love, of Christian peace, they hide their perfidious intent. And I came here to say: Do not be allured by it!…



For their intent is to destroy all the elements of the Faith, the moral elements, the elements of kinship, on which we have relied, since (so they say) there is no absolute truth. The truth, according to them, is that which I possess {i.e., subjective truth]. And therefore, when my neighbor is wrong I cannot tell him, “You are deceived!” Nor can he tell me that I have erred, because we are absolute entities [unto ourselves]. We have our opinions which are absolute, but before others, they hold no value! This game of hiding the truth is an insidious invention of Satan.

Fr. George Calciu. Interviews, Homilies, and Talks. Platina. Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. 2010. 314-315.

Translated by Elena Chiru from Diaconesty Monastery, ed., Fr. George Calciu: Living Words (in Romanian) (Bacau: Bonifaciu Press, 2009), pp. 86-87

[1] [According to the fathers, one of the signs of a demonic spirit is its changeableness, its inability or unwillingness to maintain a consistent appearance.]

Fr. George Calciu on the Uncreated Light

Father George Calciu

Fr. George Calciu

I can tell you about the burning bush. The burning bush was seen by Moses, and he understood that God was there. He tried to approach, and the voice of God said, Put off thy shoes from off thy feed, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground (Ex 3:5). The bush was enveloped in Light, but the Light did not consume it. It was the same Light that God gives to man, which in touching us does not consume us. Only sin is consumed in us, as this Light gives us perfection or makes us better.

Icon of The Mother of God of the Burning Bush

The Mother of God of the Burning Bush

You know that this burning bush represents the Mother of God, who received in herself the absolute Light of Jesus Christ, the fire. We say in our prayers before receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ: “Rejoicing and trembling at once, I who am straw partake of fire, and, strange wonder! I am ineffably bedewed, like the bush of old, which burnt without being consumed.”[1] It is true: we take in our mouth the fire — God, Jesus Christ — but we are not burnt because the fire consumes nothing except for sin [Isa 6:1-7].

In Exodus we read: The glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children

of Israel (Ex 24:16-17). This means that the mountain was covered by that Uncreated Light which cannot be comprehended by us.

God said to Moses: Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live…. Thou shalt see My back parts, but My face shall not be seen (ex 33:20, 23). No one can see God and be alive because we can never see or understand the Essence of God. He is above everything: above every mind, above every possibility of being misunderstood. Even the angels cannot see the face of God, that is, His Essence. They see only his “back parts,” that is, His Uncreated Energies.

Prophet Moses Receiving the Ten Commandments

Prophet Moses Receiving the Ten Commandments

What did Moses see? He saw precisely the Uncreated Light of Energies. After that, he lived: this means he did not see the face of God, but saw only His Uncreated Energies. The Holy Fathers say that we, like the angels, can only see the “back parts” of God. We can see only from the back and never see His face.

Afterwards, when Moses was invited by God to the top of Mount Sinai and wrote down the Ten Commandments, the glory of God again filled the mountain. Moses didn’t see the face of God, he saw only the Uncreated Light.

Sometimes this Light makes the body and soul come near to perfection, and thus the body begins to shine. The Light is incorporated by the body and becomes visible to the physical eyes. That is why Moses, when he came down from the mountain, covered his face with a veil: the shining of his face was unbearable for the Jews to look at (cf. Ex 34:33-35). The Uncreated Energy was present in his body, not only in his spirit.

Fr. George Calciu. Interviews, Homilies, and Talks. Platina. Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. 2010. 264-265.

[1] Prayer of St. Symeon the New Theologian.