Martyrdom of Father Mihai Enescu in the communist prison

An Orthodox priest who has remained in the consciousness of the faithful of Muscel is Father Mihai Enescu. He was born on 7 February 1903 in Bughea de Jos, Muscel County. After graduating from the Sfântul Nicolae Theological Seminary in Râmnicu Vâlcea in 1924, he enrolled at the Faculty of Theology in Bucharest.

Due to material hardship, he was only able to attend for one and a half years. He returned to his hometown, got married and on 21 December 1930 was ordained a priest by Archbishop Platon Ciosu in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest at the St. Nicholas Parish of Voinești, Lerești commune, Muscel County. He served for two years before moving to the Valea Româneștilor parish in Câmpulung Muscel.

A year later, he became involved in the political struggle initiated by the Legionary Movement, which proclaimed the motto “Christian Romania”. For his so-called participation in the Legionary uprising, he was sentenced to five months in prison by the military tribunal of Craiova on 15 February 1941. Back among his parishioners, Father Enescu understood the failure of the political struggle and sought only to be involved in the service of the altar. Because of his political past, he was constantly persecuted, arrested, interned in camps on several occasions and investigated, although he was no longer active in any way. He was held in high esteem by the faithful, as the Security Police notes from 1951 state:

“He enjoys a certain degree of confidence among the masses because of his religious activities, but he also causes difficulties for the administrative authorities. He does not look favourably on our democratic regime and the measures taken by the government”.

For these reasons, and apparently because of suspected links with members of the anti-communist resistance group “Arnăuțoiu”, Father Enescu was arrested on the night of 14-15 April 1952. After a brief investigation by the Security Service police in Pitești, he was sentenced to 24 months’ administrative detention on 30 June 1952. He was sent to forced labour in Capu Midia (1953), Borzești (August 1953) and Onești (September 1953).

After his release, he was re-examined in Pitești and then sentenced to 15 years’ hard labour for “conspiracy against the social order” by the Bucharest Military Tribunal in Decision No. 2634 of 24 December 1954. He was sent to Gherla prison in February 1955 and to Aiud prison in July 1955.

He was physically and mentally tortured during the investigations and in solitary confinement, so much so that when he began the re-education orchestrated by Colonel Crăciun, Father Enescu was practically a walking shadow. In fact, Colonel Crăciun himself tried to use him against other prisoners. Instead, Father Enescu preferred to be sent to solitary confinement, where he sometimes showed abnormal mental behaviour. His body soon gave out. According to the medical certificate, Father Mihai Enescu died on 22 June 1959 at 8 p.m. in Aiud prison, with the diagnosis “acute cardiopulmonary failure, bronchopneumonia, psychosis”.

(Adrian Nicolae Petcu, “Martyrdom of Father Mihai Enescu in the communist prison” |

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