Update 6/21 4:24 p.m.: Thanks to the persecution.blog I learned that the convent has been closed and the monk/priest has been suspended from the priesthood and excluded from monastic life as well and being indicted along with four nuns in the murder of Irena.

While scanning the news today I came across this tragic story about a Romanian Orthodox priest who ordered the crucifixion of a young woman living in a convent. According to the news accounts the young woman had come to visit a friend at the monastery in northeastern Romania and decided to stay in the convent. She had been there for a few months when she had a public argument with the priest. She was punished with the help of the nuns and had been shut away in a room for several days, her hands and feet tied and without food or drink. The young woman, Irena, was found dead, gagged and chained to a cross, on Wednesday after fellow nuns called an ambulance. The priest is unrepentant and said he ordered the crucifixion because the young nun was “possessed by the devil.” He now faces murder charges.

What these people did this woman was as far as it could be from Christian teaching. Here’s why I think so:

1. Was this woman demon possessed? I do not know although the news accounts said that she was suffering from schizophrenia. That does not necessarily mean she was demon possessed nor does it mean that she wasn’t. In reading the Bible we find that Jesus and the apostles encountered many demon possessed people who suffered all kind of symptoms such as raging anger, uncontrollable physical movements, uncontrolled speech, and foaming at the mouth. You can read for yourself about these accounts in the four Gospels and the book of Acts. In none of these accounts do we find that Jesus tormented or physically abused any of the demon possessed people he encountered. He rebuked the demon or demons and commanded them to leave the person’s body. It was only the demon who harmed the person’s body — not Jesus and not those who followed him and cast out demons in Jesus’ name.

2. Crucifixion in the time of the Romans was a form of capital punishment. Jesus was crucified on our behalf so that we would not have to pay the penalty for sin which is death. In order to receive God’s gift of grace and forgiveness for our sins we have only to ask. Nowhere do I find in the New Testament where we need to be punished in order to receive forgiveness or favor from God or to be released from demon possession.

If you have something to add or wish to explore this topic further with me please do so in the comments section below or send me an e-mail using the link on the right side of this page.

At June 21, 2005 2:20 PM, Anonymous said…
I posted this story at persecutionblog.comThanks for the tip! Any other stories you find that pertain to persecution, please let me know. Stacy L. Harp

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous
    Jun 21, 2005

    I posted this story at persecutionblog.com

    Thanks for the tip! Any other stories you find that pertain to persecution, please let me know.

    Stacy L. Harp