Saint patron day: Assumption of the Virgin (August 15th)
Year of foundation: 1999
Prior: Justinian Tibil
Cenobitic life: four monks
Accommodation: 8 people
The monastery is a jewel of the Christian Banat, set in a place that resembles very much with the hill of Ephesus from Asia Minor, where the Mother of God lived. A retreated quiet place surrounded by a forest, not of olive as in Ephesus, but of lime trees.
At a time when people seem to have “suspended” for a while the connection bridges with God, being overwhelmed by the everyday’s care, we offer you a pilgrimage to Monasteries in Mountainous Banat, true “spiritual clinics,” as IPS Metropolitan Laurențiu Streza, bishop of Caransebeș (1996-2005) always says, under whose blessing the monastic life revived also in this corner of Romania.
Certainly, Christian tourists are attracted by the Vatican, the Holy Land, the Meteora and Mount Athos. And in Romania the monasteries of Moldavia and Oltenia are searched mostly, as well as the wooden churches in Maramureș.
In Banat, however, you will see the new monasteries built in the places where the oldest Romanian hermitages used to be. On the Banat’s land, due to the Catholic penetration’s wave from the 11th th-13th centuries, many of the Orthodox hermitages, which were “true defensive citadels” at the gate between the East and the West, disappeared because of the hardship of times. The faith and the holy tradition remained as testimonies. It is the fruit of peace and tranquillity of the Banat natives. They made their homes on the mountain or on the hill, on the edge of the forest or in the clearing, as close to the spring as possible. The threshold of the house was adorned with vineyard, and in the garden of the house they put bee hives. Every day, the Banat women adorned the windows of the houses with flowers and the walls with icons on glass, wood or board; on these representations the icon of the Virgin Mary with the infant in her arms is always present, as well as the “saints of the house” who, according to the church calendar beginning on September the 1st , are celebrated with great honour: Sântămăria Mică (The Assumption of St. Mary, Holy Mother of God ) (September 8th), Sânedru (St. Dumitru) (October 26 th), the Archangels Michael and Gabriel (November 8 th), Sânnicoara (St. Nicholas) (December 6th), Sântioan (St. John the Baptist) (January 7 th), Sântoader (St. Tudor), the Annunciation Day (March25 th), Sîngeorz (St. George) (April 23rd ), Sînpetru (St. Peter) (June 29th), Sânimpărăţii (St. Emperors Constantine and Helena) (May 21st), Sântilie (St. Elijah) (July 20th) and Sântămăria Mare (The Nativity of St. Mary, Holy Mother of God) (August 15th).
The following pilgrimage that we propose to you is a continuous journey, in group or alone, for three days, on the itinerary route of the 10 monasteries:
Pilgrimage to the monasteries of Mountainous Banat
The Teiuș Monastery – The Written Stone Monastery – The Almăj-Putna Monastery – The Saint Anne Monastery – The Mraconia Monastery – The Gornea-Sicheviţa Monastery – The Nera Monastery – The Călugăra Monastery – The Vasiova Monastery – The Brebu Monastery.
The pilgrimage will begin in Caransebeș, the place of “rejuvenating Orthodox Faith” through the historic Diocese of Caransebeș (1865), where the following pure message was born for the tourists:
“He who has not lived for at least a day in the piety atmosphere of a monastery, who has not spent a night of vigilance in holy prayers and hymns, in the flickering of many candles under the dome of the starry sky, who has not felt the fiery holiness of a pilgrimage, at the holy monasteries of the Mountainous Banat, cannot understand the conquering charm of pure hearts that the pilgrimage offers us. ” [Joan V., 2004].
The first day of the pilgrimage:
The Teiuş Monastery – The Written Stone Monastery – The Almăj-Putna Monastery
At 3 km from the city, in a fairytale natural setting, with a strong ionized air and a “resurrection” smell of the linden forests, the Teiuș Monastery is located, being a jewel of the Christian Banat. The foundation stone of the church of the monastery was placed on the 15th August 1999 on the “Holy Mary” Day due to the concern of the bishop of Caransebeș of that time, IPS Laurențiu Streza.
Although it has a short history, the monastery lived its primitive years with great intensity, as Prior Justinian Tibil will gladly recount: “Our greatest joy is not that we have been able to erect this monastery here on the hill, but the fact that we have been able to build a much more beautiful one in the souls of the people who worked together and are still coming to pray with us.”
The monastery of Teiuș, under the protection of the Saint Virgin Mary, has the appearance of a “fortress” in the style of the Moldavian monasteries, having in the centre the church with the patronage of “The Assumption of the Virgin”, a great Christian feast in Banat.
Every place in the world has its mystery and history. Although there is no written testimony of a monastic settlement near Caransebeș, the tradition preserved from generation to generation reminds of a “Green Cross” and a water spring called “The Monk’s spring”, which means that around the Caransebeș fortress a monk used to live in the 14th century.
The monument’s “construction” began in the blossoming period of the linden tree in the summer of 1999, when Father Justinian moved to the dwelling place situated on the land that had been donated to the monastery by the two families: the Simeria family (one hectare) and the Tomescu family (one hectare).
As in any beginning, there were many hardships and difficulties, but also many hope and joy.
First they erected a chapel made of corrugated iron. Then the summer altar (2000) was erected in the shape of a cross with a Neo-Byzantine painting, executed on applied canvas. While the walls of the new church of the monastery were being erected, a small wooden church was being brought and mounted in 2002 on the location of the old chapel, a real jewel made of linden wood in Maramureș style.
Father Justinian visited his native places in Maramureș, and in his parents’ yard his brother made the wooden church, from where it was transported to Banat, to Teiuș-Caransebeș, and mounted in the vicinity of the summer altar.
Whoever enters the monastery’s new church will be impressed by the beauty of the interior painting. While the paintings of the summer altar were painted by the painter Ioan Botiş, the ones from the big stone church were painted by Radu Moldovan, an apprentice of the former.
The iconostasis is carved from oak wood, according to a model brought from Greece by craftsmen from Târgu Neamţ. He is smaller than its model, in order to see the image of the Holy Mother of God better.
In the church the pilgrim tourists can also retreat before the wondrous “Saint Virgin Mary with the baby in her hands” icon, dated from 1767, donated by a US family, in remembrance of a spiritual ascension moment that they had experienced at the Teiuș Monastery.
If you come to the monastery on a summer day, stay for one night in a hermitage cell and, and rest on the outside porch, under the starry sky, meditating on the purpose of life on earth. You will be charmed by the natural beauty of the place where the Teiuș Monastery is located, like the Efes chapel in Asia Minor, where St. Mary found her retreat in prayer in her last 11 years of life after the ascension of Jesus Christ. It is a secluded place, quiet and surrounded by a forest, not of olive as in Ephesus, but of lime trees. It is still a sign that nothing is a coincidence when choosing a monastery location.
On the morning of the Sântămărie Feast (The Ascension of St. Mary, Holy Mother of God) (August 15th), the women of the Gugulan Country come to the monastery with flowers they put on the icon of the Mother of God and with bunches of grapes of special varieties, ” Sântămărie Grapes”, placed in baskets to give in the month of tasting “the grapes koliva” to the believers and guests from all over the world.
Also at the Teiuș Monastery you will hear of a local custom when the elders change their hat with the fur cap, a sign that the summer has passed and the autumn is near: Passes Sântămărie has come, the summer hat is gone!