Presbyter Iustina Constantinescu – fighter for truth and freedom

Born in the village of Poenărei-Muscel, Justina Constantinescu was born on 12 April 1912 into a peasant family: Grigore Grigorescu and Justina Poenăreanu – a descendant of successive generations of Orthodox priests, among whom the priest Grigorie Poenăreanu, “an outlaw priest from the mountains”, as Ion Ghica described him in one of his famous letters to Vasile Alecsandri [Bucharest, 1887], was a founding member of the Philharmonic Society of Wallachia in 1833. In 1928 Justina Grigorescu married the priest Ioan Gh. Constantinescu from Cerbureni, Argeș County, a graduate of the “Neagoe Voda” Theological Seminary in Curtea de Argeș.

A role model in the family and in the village community, she was her husband’s main support in the difficult task of rebuilding the monumental wooden church from scratch between 1937 and 1943, in the precarious economic conditions caused by the Second World War.

A devoted mother to her three sons, she worked with remarkable perseverance for their future, and they graduated from university, despite the material deprivation exacerbated by their status as “rich” – a label of the “proletarian” ideology that promoted social laziness and marginalised the authentic values confirmed by work.

Not accepting communist ideology under any circumstances, since it blatantly contradicted her own principles of life, and rejecting the “egalitarianism in poverty” preached by the lying “apostles” of Marxism-Leninism, who had poisoned people’s souls with atheistic poison, she became aware that she had a sacred duty to contribute to the overthrow of a regime alien to the spirit of the nation, imposed at the criminal behest of communist potentates at the head of the Red Empire….

During his interrogation on 30 June 1958, Toma Arnăuțoiu, the leader of the partisan group, stated at the Pitești Security Police Station that, after discovering the place where they were hiding, “Constantinescu Ioan’s wife said that she also wanted to join us (the partisans, ed.), that she too was a “partisan”. ), that she too was a “good Romanian” and that she would bring us food, even though we were three kilometres away” – an unmistakable confirmation of Justina Constantinescu’s patriotic feelings for her country and its destiny of freedom. [File 1238, vol. 43].

Therefore, sentence 119 of 4 June 1959 of the Military Tribunal of the Second Military Region will find her guilty of the crime of “omission of denunciation” and of the effective support – moral and material – given to the members of the partisan group “Haiducii Muscelului”, “for the benefit of the terrorist gang Arnăuțoiu, whose members were hiding near the village Poenărei in 1952”, and will find her guilty of the following offences concerning art. 284 in conjunction with art. 207 of the Communist Penal Code: “Since 1952, the accused has helped with food, money and clothing the fugitive members of the gang, who were being pursued by the state authorities for having committed terrorist acts of which she was aware. The defendant Constantinescu Justina gave shelter to the fugitive members of the terrorist gang and kept in contact with a number of members who supported the terrorists. Together with co-defendant Andreescu Maria, she travelled to Câmpulung, where they were sent by the fugitive terrorists to ask for help from “Dragomirescu Ilie” [priest of the church of Scheiu, n.n.].

And because she had thus ‘worked’ against the totalitarian system, the military tribunal, made up of servants of the oppressive communist regime, sentenced her, in a hearing on 4 June 1959, to ’15 years of hard labour, 5 years of civil servitude and total confiscation of her property’.

Tortured during the investigations at the Security Service in Pitești, by the bestial torturers of that despicable criminal institution, she stoically endured the odyssey of the prisons of Miercurea Ciuc, Arad and Oradea, enduring unspeakable deprivations, diabolical attempts to crush the dignity of a true fighter for truth and freedom.

(Grigore Constantinescu – The Epic of the Anti-Communist Resistance in Poenăreni-Muscel, Pitești, pp. 23-24)

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