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Sfântul ierarh şi mărturisitor Ilie Iorest, mitropolitul Transilvaniei

Sfântul ierarh şi mărturisitor Ilie Iorest, mitropolitul Transilvaniei
(24 aprilie)

In anul 1950, Sfantul Sinod al Bisericii noastre a hotarat sa fie trecuti in calendarele ortodoxe romanesti, ca sfinti si marturisitori, cativa ierarhi, calugari si credinciosi din neamul nostru. Intre acestia se numarau si Sfintii Ierarhi si Marturisitori Ilie Ioarest si Sava Brancovici, mitropolitii Transilvaniei. Canonizarea lor – adica trecerea in randul sfintilor, dupa randuiala ortodoxa –s-a facut in 1955, la Alba Iulia, orasul in care si-au desfasurat activitatea ca mitropoliti.Este firesc sa ne intrebam: carui fapt se datoreaza cinstea deosebita de care s-au invrednicit acesti doi mitropoliti ai Transilvaniei? Prin ce merite au ajuns sa stea in apropierea lui Dumnezeu, sa fie considerati ca prieteni si casnici ai Sai si sa mijloceasca, prin rugaciunile lor, harul si ajutorul lui Dumnezeu pentru noi, urmasii pastoritilor lor de acum trei veacuri? Pentru a intelege mai bine viata si lucrarea lor de aparare a Ortodoxiei, sunt necesare cateva lamuriri privind starea politica-nationala a vremii in care au trait.

Biserica Ortodoxa romaneasca din Transilvania de alta data si-a desfasurat activitatea in imprejurari deosebit de vitrege, determinate de asupririle nationale, sociale si religioase la care era supus poporul roman de aici. Cu toate acestea, Biserica Ortodoxa a avut un rol covarsitor in istoria poporului, fiind singura institutie romaneasca, in jurul careia se desfasura intreaga viata nationala, culturala si religioasa a romanilor. Cea mai de seama institutie a lor era Mitropolia Ortodoxa, care a avut multa vreme sediul in orasul Alba Iulia. Se stie ca, dupa 1541, Transilvania a devenit principat autonom sub suzeranitate turceasca, avand in frunte principi de nationalitate maghiara, cu sediul la Alba Iulia. La scurt timp, Dieta tarii a recunoscut ca “recepte” trei confesiuni noi, nascute din Reforma protestanta: luterana, clavina si unitariana, fireste, pe langa Biserica romano-catolica existenta mai de mult. Doar romanii si credinta lor ortodoxa au ramas in afara legii, socotiti ca “tolerati” in propria lor tara. In acelasi timp principii calvini maghiari din Alba Iulia si carmuitorii confesiunii calvine (numiti superintendenti) au inceput o lucrare de propovaduire a noii invataturi calvine printre romanii ortodocsi. Era o actiune foarte primejdioasa, caci prin primirea invataturii calvine, romanii se instrainau nu numai de credinta ortodoxa stramoseasca, ci si de neamul din care faceau parte, adica se maghiarizau. Era un atac direct, care urmarea insasi distrugerea neamului romanesc. In ciuda multelor incercari ale principilor si superintendentilor din Alba Iulia de a calviniza pe romani, acestia au ramas statornici in drapta credinta, mentinandu-se astfel si fiinta nationala romaneasca. Un rol important in aceasta lucrare de aparare a Ortodoxiei si a neamului au avut vladicii de atunci, – fie mitropolitii din Alba Iulia, fie episcopii din Vad si Maramures -, precum si smeritii preoti din satele noastre, cu putina invatatura, dar insufletiti de ravna intru slujirea neamului lor.

Intre acesti aparatori ai dreptei credinte s-a numarat si mitropolitul Ilie Iorest din Alba Iulia. Se nascuse in jurul anului 1600, intr-un sat din Transilvania, undeva in partile invecinate cu Moldova, sau in Maramures. S-a inchinoviat de tanar in manastirea Putna, minunata ctitorie a lui Stefan cel Mare, in care au vietuit in curgerea veacurilor, atatia calugari transilvaneni. Dupa ce a invatat carte si randuielile bisericesti, a fost calugarit sub numele Iorest – in locul celui de Ilie primit la botez – iar dupa un timp a fost hirotonit preot-ieromonah. O insemnare pe un manuscris, din anul 1637, arata ca a fost copiat sub indrumarea mitropolitului Anastasie Crimea al Moldovei, apoi a “ieromonahului Iorest, egumen”. Presupunem ca este viitorul mitropolit, ajuns intre timp egumen la Putna, avand deci si preocupari culturale.

In toamna anului 1640 a trecut la cele vesnice mitropolitul Gheonadie II al Transilvaniei. La staruintele domnitorului Vasile Lupu al Moldovei, in scaunul vacant a fost ales ieromonahul Iorest de la Putna. Potrivit traditiei a fost hirotonit arhiereu la catedrala din Targoviste, ctitoria lui Neagoe Voda Basarab, de catre mitropolitul Teofil, care pastorea pe atunci, impreuna cu alti arhierei. Fara indoiala ca domnitorul Matei Basarab a oferit noului ierarh felurite daruri, asa cum au primit toti ceilalti mitropoliti ai Transilvaniei. A fost instalat apoi, cu cinstea cuvenita, in catedrala mitopolitana din Alba Iulia, ctitorita de marele domn al unirii, Mihai Viteazul. Dar cu prilejul confirmarii sale in demnitatea de mitropolit de catre principele Gheorghe Rakoczy I, i s-au impus mai multe indatoriri, care nu urmareau altceva decat inlesnirea propagandei calvine printre romani. Intre altele i se cerea sa traduca si sa tipareasca in romaneste anumite rugaciuni si cantari calvine, precum si un Catehism calvinesc. Noul mitropolit n-a indeplinit, insa, nici una din indatoririle acestea, ci a ramas statornic in dreapta credinta, impreuna cu pastoritii sai. S-a interesat indeaproape de viata bisericeasca din cuprinsul eparhiei: a facut vizite canonice, a convocat “soborul mare” al Mitropoliei, format din protopopi si unii preoti, a facut hirotonii de preoti, a terminat de tiparit, la Alba Iulia, Evanghelia cu invatatura, data in lucru inca de inaintasul sau, a intretinut legaturi cu Moldova. El va fi fost intarit in adevarurile Ortodoxiei si de Sindoul de la Iasi, din septembrie-octombrie 1642, care a aprobat Marturisirea Ortodoxa a mitropolitului roman Petru Movila al Kievului.

Dar tot in anul 1642 calvinii au tiparit, in satul Prisaca, un Catehism calvinesc in romaneste, caruia i s-a dat, cativa ani mai tarziu cunoscutul Raspuns din partea invatatului mitropolit Varlaam al Moldovei. Se pare ca mitropolitul Iorest s-a impotrivit la tiparirea si raspandirea Catehismului, fapt care a accentuat nemultumirile mai vechi pe care le aveau impotriva lui carmuitorii calvini. Asa se face ca la inceputul anului 1643, din ordinul principelui Gheorghe Rakoczy I, s-a convocat “un sinod” de protopopi, preoti si mireni, care a hotarat inlaturarea mitropolitului Iorest din scaunul vladicesc.

Este sigur ca la indepartarea mitropolitului Iorest din scaun au stat si motive de ordin politic, determinate de inasprirea relatiilor dintre Gheorghe Rakoczy I si Vasile Lupu, care il recomandase la ocuparea scaunului mitropolitan. Dar adevaratele motive care au dus la inlaturarea lui din scaun se desprind din spusele traditiei, consemnata mai tarziu in lucrari scrise. De pilda, Samuil Micu, in lucrarea sa Scurta cunostinta a istoriei romanilor, scria ca “pentru impotrivirea pastoriceasca cu care s-au pus impotriva eresului calvinesc si nu au voit a primi impartasirea lui, la care domnul tarii il silea, au fost lepadat din episcopie si ca sa nu vaza ca pentru credinta patimeste, i-au scornit nume rau si i-au facut para mincinoasa”. Iar Gheorghe Sincai scria ca “acesta s-au lepadat din vladicie pentru ca n-au primit catehismul (calvinesc n.n.)”.

Inlaturat din scaunul mitropolitan, Iorest a fost aruncat in inchisoare, impreuna “cu multi preoti crestini”, cum se arata intr-o scrisoare de atunci, iar bunurile i-au fost confiscate. A fost eliberat abia in noiembrie 1643, dupa noua luni de detentie, pe baza raspunderii ce si-au luat-o 24 de credinciosi ca va plati 1000 de taleri, suma mare pe atunci, pentru vistieria principelui. Dupa eliberare, s-a reintors la manastirea Putna.

In iunie 1645, mitropolitul Iorest a plecat in Rusia, pentru a strange ajutoare, in vederea rascumpararii celor 24 de garanti, asa cum facusera si alti ierarhi si calugari transilvaneni. Avea o scrisoare de recomandare catre tarul Rusiei, Mihail Feodorovici Romanov, semnata de ierarhii moldoveni, in care infatisau pe scurt viata mitropolitului si suferintele pe care le indurase din partea carmuitorilor calvini; o alta scrisoare primise din partea lui Vasile Lupu. Ajuns la Moscova, a fost primit de tar in doua randuri, obtinand felurite daruri si bani. Se pare ca s-a reintors in tara in primavara anului urmator.

Si-a petrecut restul vietii in manastirea sa de metanie, la Putna, dupa ce-si va fi rascumparat garantii din Transilvania prin platirea celor 1000 de taleri. A murit la adanci batraneti, dupa cum aflam dintr-o insemnare pe un Minei in manuscris: “Sa se stie cand a murit vladica Iorist, in anul 7816 (1678), luna martie 12”. Inseamna ca a fost asezat spre vesnica odihna in ctitoria marelui aparator al crestinatatii, Stefan cel Mare.

Din toate acestea se vede ca mitropolitul Iorest a fost un neinfricat aparator al Ortodoxiei in Transilvania, oferind o minunata pilda de statornicie in credinta pastoritilor sai, un ierarh insufletit de dragoste fata de Hristos, de neamul sau si de pamantul stramosesc.

Acestea au fost motivele care au dus la trecerea lui in randul sfintilor in anul 1955, alaturi de unul dintre urmasii sai, mitropolitul Sava Brancovici. Cinstita lui praznuire se face in fiecare an la 24 aprilie, cu slujbe nou alcatuite intru cinstirea lor. Unii din cei care sunt primiti in ingerescul cin calugaresc, isi iau numele lui, iar bunii crestini se straduiesc sa-i urmeze viata pilduitoare de munca, de rugaciune, de sfintenie si de ravna fata de credinta stramoseasca.

“Mladita odraslita din tulpina neamului nostru, fericite Ioreste, pentru credinta ta cea neclintita si pentru dragostea ta de popor ai fost aruncat in temnita, invrednicindu-te de cununa cea nevestejita a marturisitorilor lui Hristos; pentru aceasta si noi cu dragoste te laudam pe tine, zicand: Bucura-te, ierarhe Ioreste, prea cinstite parinte!”. (Din Acatistul Sfintilor Ierarhi Iorest si Sava, icosul 9).

Pr. Prof. Dr. Mircea Pacurariu,

Sfinti daco-romani si romani”, Editura Mitropoliei Moldovei si Bucovinei, Iasi, 1994

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