Dumitru Staniloae

DUMITRU STANILOAE, already a gifted scholar, was ordained to the priesthood in 1932. Two years later he became the director of the newspaper Romanian Telegraph, a position he held until 1945. In 1936 he was named rector of the Theological Academy in Sibiu.

After the Second World War, the new Communist government began to proscribe Christianity, and Staniloae lost his position. He also suffered personal tragedy, in the death of his daughter Maria, aged sixteen. It was a second blow, as her twin brother had died shortly after he was born.

Together with fellow scholars, he founded the Burning Altar (Rugul Aprins) group, a center for rejuvenation of Orthodox Christian life in Bucharest. In 1958, he was arrested and confined to prison to await his trial. Staniloae was held in isolation for months at a time until he was released in 1963. He was able to take up his scholarly activities again, receiving many accolades from Universities in Greece, England, and elsewhere in Europe.

In the first video, he speaks with great gentleness and wisdom about religion, philosophy and science, and how the systems of thought arising in this world (such as Communism) cannot take us beyond it to something higher. In the second, he outlines the very essence of Christianity.

Often overlooked among the leading figures of twentieth century Orthodox scholarship, he was in fact one of the most truly Orthodox of writers, and a man of deep and impressive spiritual wisdom.