Confiscated postcard written by Romanian Old Calendarist nun



Confiscated postcard written by Romanian Old Calendarist nun
Carte poștală confiscată scrisă de o călugăriță vechi calendaristă din România


These images show a postcard sent by an Old Calendarist nun to her family in which she describes how she was arrested and sent to an Orthodox Monastery. The postcard was confiscated and attached to a file that contains many such postcards. They all date from approximately same period of time between 1936 and 1937.
The first image represents the face of the postcard and includes important details about the fate of the nun. She describes to her family how she was arrested, where she was taken and what the conditions at the Monastery were like. Arrested by the Gendarmes on her way to the post office, the nun was taken from Oniceni (Neamț county) to Ciolanu Monastery (Buzău county), where all her things were confiscated. There were 70 nuns there altogether who were put into four rooms. She had to share a room with 20 other nuns.
The second image shows the reverse of the postcard. It offers important information about the regime that the nuns lived under at the Monastery. She asks her parents to write back to her, but carefully, as their letters are first read by someone else implying that she may suffer consequences if the letter contained anything compromising. The image shows how the nun filled the entire postcard writing in order to convey as much information as possible. On the right edge of the back of the postcard she wrote a cramped note asking her family who was still alive in the village. This may have been due to her wish to pray for anyone that was deceased, or it might be a direct hint at the policy of violent repression and arrests that the Old Calendarist church was subjected to on the part of the Gendarmes.
Written in 1937, a short time after a series of so-called Stilist "rebellions" in Besserabia, this postcard is proof of the waves of arrests that followed these events, which sometimes included nuns and Old Calendarist women. When caught by the Gendarmes in the woods, or during Silist agitations, women were arrested and most of the time fined or sent to detention in Orthodox Monasteries. Vărzărești Monastery was one of the main places where Old Calendarist nuns were brought and according to some Old Calendarist literature, they were forced to accept the New Calendar there. The intimate and private lives of the nuns in detention revealed by these postcards contrasts sharply with the way they were portrayed in the press of the time as dangerous heretics and rebels.

These images can be found in the file ANIC, Insp. Gen. al Jand., D 25/1937. Apart from this postcard, it contains many more letters and postcards sent or received by Old Calendarist nuns that were detained at various Orthodox Monasteries.

For related entries see:


Religion and State--Europe
Religion -- History -- 20th century
Religion and Politics-- Europe
Secret police (secret service)
Monastic and religious life of women
Romania. Siguranța
Communism and Christianity--Europe, Eastern
Communism and religion
Communism--Europe--History--20th century
Communism--Europe, Eastern--History--20th century
Material culture--Religious aspects
Religious groups


Iuliana Cindrea


Arhivele Naționale ale României
Inspectoratul General al Jandarmeriei, D 25/1937


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme No . 677355




Copyright for these images belongs to ANIC
Arhivele Naționale ale României


Image/ jpg






ANIC, Inspectoratul General al Jandarmeriei, D 25/1937


20th Century, Romania

Bibliographic Citation

Iuliana Cindrea, "Confiscated postcard written by Romanian Old Calendarist nun"

Date Created