Postcard sent from detention by Romanian Old Calendarist nun



Postcard sent from detention by Romanian Old Calendarist nun
Carte poștală trimisă din detenție de o călugăriță vechi calendaristă din România


These images show a postcard sent by an Old Calendarist nun to her family whilst in detention. It is a particularly sensitive letter as it conveys the struggles of the nun who appears to have been rejected by her parents for reasons that are not clear from the information we have.
The first image shows the face of the postcard and it contains references to the sufferings that the nun had endured for the last two years. From the message that she wrote to her parents, she seems to accuse them of having forgotten about her during these hardships and she reminds them that she is still their daughter and shares the same rights as her other sisters. The reason for her being treated like this by her parents are not described in the postcard but she makes a statement that might hint at it: “ I always cry and pray to God that He won’t abandon you, that you will get to know the good and the bad.” The statement could imply that her parents were religious and disagreed with her decision of becoming a nun or that they might have accepted the New Calendar, thus putting them at odds with her adherence to the Old Calendar.
The second image shows the back of the postcard. It contains information that makes it clear that the postcard was sent from Vărzărești Monastery, one of the Orthodox monasteries where Old Calendarist nuns were detained and, according to some Old Calendarist literature, forced to accept the New Calendar. The nun asks her family to come and visit her, she wishes them happy holidays and asks for forgiveness.
This postcard offers us a glimpse of the emotions and personal challenges faced by nuns and women who rejected the Orthodox Church calendar reform. This is contrasted by the very different image of Old Calendarist women that was portrayed in the press and Orthodox Church publications of the time. The author of this postcard chose to suffer because of her religious convictions. Although the archives do not preserve a reply to her postcard and we are not aware of her fate, she seems convinced that there is reason to her suffering for her faith. This is a recurrent theme in the letters and postcards written by Old Calendarist women in detention.

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 in Romania.

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, "Postcard sent from detention by Romanian Old Calendarist nun"

Date Created