Sketch of an icon of Father Dometie

Preacher. After each Liturgy he would preach with fervour and with a special power of conviction, based on his personal life and example. On Sundays and feast days, he would begin the Holy Liturgy at five o’clock, after which he would give a short discourse on the power of this sacrament. He would then hear the confessions of those who had not gone to confession the previous evening. When the weather was fine, because of the crowds, he would celebrate Mass outside at the altar under the pleached willow tree. Also because of the crowds, Communion lasted an hour or an hour and a half.

Lover of strangers. Especially on feast days, when the number of the faithful was particularly large and exceeded the available space, Father Kentenich would not find peace until he had seen the last person who had found a place to rest. His cell – if it could be called “his”, since he lived with fathers Varsanufie and Filotei – was the first to be filled to the brim with children, the elderly and the sick. The same was true of the nuns’ cells, where the trapdoor, the corridors and even the paraclis were made available to the faithful for rest, and Father was content to doze a little on a chair or on the floor by the Sacred Altar.

Modest. He was simple and modest in his dress, behaviour and food. He had only one set of clothes, which he gave to the needy, either as a gift or made for him by the congregation. His food was mostly vegetables and he often lived on bread, porridge, onions or boiled potatoes.

Merciful and generous. He was a living example of self-denial and dedication to the flock of the shepherd, to all who knew him. Of everything he received, he gave the best and the most beautiful to others, keeping for himself what was inferior or often nothing at all. He was never at peace when he had something extra and knew that someone else lacked it. He was so merciful that he gave away the clothes on his back and even the shoes on his feet when he met a man who lacked them. No one left the monastery, among the destitute and burdened with need, without a word of food and comfort. He made no difference whether they were Romanians or Gypsies, in many cases he gave money from his pocket to the poor for travel or other urgent needs.

A faithful guide. In his tireless missionary work he was natural, sincere and open. He was harsh in his rebukes, but never hurt the heart, for he was just and measured in everything. An uncompromising enemy of the passions of all kinds that rob people, he fought them with his authoritative yet gentle words, both in preaching and in confession.

He was so persuasive that he would make smokers leave their cigarettes and smoking utensils in front of him, or throw them into the oven themselves, and promise never to smoke again.

Peacemaker. Through his powers of persuasion, he brought reconciliation between people who were at odds and divided, often for petty reasons. Not once did he find and heal these quarrels within families.

Selfless attitude. He was especially at home in the midst of the congregation. Where it was more difficult to bear, in the lower tasks, he was the first to be present with the same good will. He was always ready to take on any difficult task that others found particularly repulsive or tiring.

Prayerful and devout. He earnestly advised his Oblates and faithful to pray unceasingly and with all the strength of their faith. He advocated short but fervent prayers with the love of God. He said that all life must become prayer.

Promoter of sincerity. He never missed an opportunity to insist that the living be totally sincere with one another.

Listener. He considered obedience with humility and a serene heart as a white martyrdom.

Fighter against sects. In his sermons he fought with sound arguments against those who had left the Orthodox Church and joined sects, as well as against the superstitions of the people. He turned many sectarians away from their wanderings elsewhere. There are no sects in the whole Apuseni land where he served.

Humble. For the little mistakes he made as a man, having so many faithful in his care and under his obedience, who still sometimes annoyed him, he was much grieved, and soon turned away with consolation, asking forgiveness, lest any hidden wound should remain unhealed.

Punctual. In all the activities of the Convent community he was exemplary in promptness and punctuality, especially in church and at dinner in the refectory.

(Father Dometie de la Râmeți, edited by Costion Nicolescu, Byzantine Publishing House, Bucharest, 2001)

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