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February 2, 2023
ARTS & LEISURE

Maglavit Village secures Dolj a place in the history of Christianity

A deaf-mute shepherd convinced hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that God appeared to him. Petrache Lupu, a dirt poor, yet pure in his heart villager of Maglavit Village in Dolj County, southern Romania, generated a unique phenomenon in the history of Christianity in 1935. No one would probably have believed him, had he not suddenly begun speaking, telling the world that he had the concrete vision of the Old Man asking him to tell the world to give up their sins, go to church and come near Him – or He would send fire upon them.
It was not just local, in Dolj; it spread throughout Romania in 1935, and further beyond the borders. God had not appeared to humans for 3,500 years, since Moses – and then He showed Himself to Petrache Lupu. It was a milestone in the history of Christianity, Sacristan Vladimir Daranga of the St. Demetrius Metropolitan Cathedral of Craiova told Agerpres.
The protosinghel [an Orthodox monastic rank below the archimandrite] says it was a true  theophany. Petrache Lupu described a gleaming Old Man with a smell like no flower has. Word spread quickly to the village, county and country, and Maglavit became a pilgrimage destination, where the shepherd would talk to crowds as large as 100,000 people. Priest Dumitru Cristescu relates that on September 14 1935, when the cornerstone of a church was laid on the place of the miracle, three trains of 25 carriages each brought people throughout Romania to Craiova, with half-price tickets. He witnessed it – countless elderly, youth, women carrying their babies, all kneeling on the spot where God appeared.
Father Daranga, a former abbot of the Maglavit Monastery, comes with Bible arguments to reject claims that God cannot appear to Humans. He begins with Moses’s experience on Mount Sinai, and gets through the Book of Daniel the Gospel of John, describing God in the exact words of Petrache Lupu – only the deaf-mute shepherd was also illiterate, and could have not possible know it, unless owing to divine inspiration.
Educated people, even scientists and doctors checked Petrache Lupu, to ascertain his physical and mental health. They pronounced him sane, despite many claims that he was mentally challenged or even suffering of some venereal disease. The messages of the Saint of Maglavit – the name people gave him – even predicted the defeat in World War II to dictator Ion Antonescu. The communist authorities put an end to prophecies after the war, accusing mysticism like a new deadly sin.
The communists demolished the monastery of Maglavit, and went as far as bringing young pioneers – soviet-inspired version of Boyscouts – to plant oaks on the site to efface any trace of it. Father Daranga sees another miracle in it: oaks actually grew on the sand of the Danube meadowland, the only place they grew, in the middle of 1,200 hectares of acacia trees.
The monastery was restored after the fall of communism in 1989, but the phenomenon of Maglavit had by then lost most of its appeal. Petrache Lupu died in 1994, at the age of 87.

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