Week of Pilgrimage: August 26 – September 5, 2023.
(Please note that we organise only one Pilgrimage to the Monasteries in Moldavia every year.)
The Pilgrimage lasts for eleven days (ten nights) and takes us through the famous Land of the Monasteries, one of the most beautiful parts of Romania and the spiritual heart of the country. In a relatively small area, hundreds of monasteries, sketes, hermitages and churches have been built during the centuries. Almost all of them are still populated by monastic communities and in use, while new sketes and churches are being founded every year, the concrete expression of the deep and living faith of the people.
As with our Celtic Pilgrimages, I am doing everything possible to offer you the experience of a real, prayerful Pilgrimage. We are not operating as a tour company; we are a small monastic community that tries to share with you the spiritual joys of a real pilgrimage. Because we know you and the world you come from (all our pilgrims come from Western countries), we are in a position to offer you a balanced combination of safety and comfort, while not sacrificing on the spiritual benefits of a pilgrimage.
In practical terms, this means that we shall celebrate the Divine Liturgy as often as possible (hopefully on a daily basis); we shall not rush from one monastery to another, but take our time to develop a personal relationship with each place; we shall focus on prayer; we shall engage in spiritual conversations with local monastics etc
For most of the pilgrimage, we shall be accommodated at the Hermitage of Rasca Monastery, the Monastery where I became a monk and a priest. We shall eat in the Monastery and have the opportunity to speak to the Abbot and the brothers. The Hermitage has new and comfortable accommodation facilities for pilgrims, but it is about fifteen kilometres deep in the forest, so we shall also have the unique opportunity to see and partake in the life of a small and secluded brotherhood.
The cost of the pilgrimage is 1,900 GBP (or USD equivalent), and is split between a Deposit (400 GBP or USD equivalent) and a Balance (the rest of the amounts). A place is booked only after payment of the Deposit. The deposit is fully refundable up to 30 days before the pilgrimage; it becomes non-refundable after that date.
For US pilgrims, we strongly encourage payment by cheque, written to the American Friends of the Celtic Saints and sent to 3736 W County Rd 4, Berthoud, CO 80513; please include a mention ‘for Moldavia pilgrimage’ and that the payment is a deposit, balance or full payment. Only use online payment if you do not live in the USA.
The cost of the pilgrimage includes: 10 nights of accommodation (two persons in a room); transport from the airport in Iassy (Iasi) to Rasca Monastery and back; transport to all the Monasteries we shall visit; all meals for the entire duration of the Pilgrimage; and all other expenses related to the Pilgrimage.
It does not include the international travel expenses to and from your home country to Iasi (Iassy), Romania.
Below is the intended schedule of the Pilgrimage. We may change the order in which we visit places, but these are the Monasteries we shall visit.
Day 1: We meet in Iasi (Iassy); we visit the Three Hierarchs Cathedral, we get our blessing from the relics of St Paraskeva; we travel to the Hermitage of Rasca Monastery – Rasca is my home monastery, where I was received as a novice, tonsured into monasticism and ordained as a priest.
Day 2: We visit the Hermitage and the main Monastery of St Nicholas in Rasca (one of the famous painted monasteries of Moldavia (UNESCO Heritage)); we get to know the Abbot and the brotherhood.
Day 3: We travel South and we visit Agapia Monastery and the Hermitage of Agapia Monastery; Varatec Monastery.
Day 4: St John of Rasca – The Feast Day of the Hermitage of Rasca Monastery; we shall celebrate the Feast together with the brotherhood.
Day 5: Voronet Monastery (with its famous outside fresco iconography; St Daniil the Hermit is buried here) and Humor Monastery (both UNESCO world-heritage painted monasteries).
Day 6: Neamț Monastery (the home of St Paisius Velichkovsky); Sihăstria Monastery (the home of Elder Paisius Olaru and Elder Cleopa); Sihla Monastery (including the Cave of St Theodora of Sihla, where she lived as a hermit).
Day 7: We travel North. Sucevița Monastery and Moldovita Monastery (both UNESCO world-heritage painted monasteries) on our way to Putna Monastery.
Days 8 and 9: We visit Putna Monastery, The Monastery of Sihastria Putnei (Putna Hermitage), the Cave of St Daniil the Hermit, and the oldest wooden church in the country.
Day 10: After the Divine Liturgy at Putna, we travel back South to Rasca Monastery; on our way we stop to visit Dragomirna Monastery and the Monastery of St John of Suceava.
Day 11: We travel back to Iasi (Iassy).
Depending on time and the decision of the group, we may also visit Camarzani Monastery and Petru-Voda Monastery.