Monastery “Buna Vestire (The Annunciation) and St. Pious Onufrie” – Vorona Hermitage

 

HISTORY


Vorona village, from physical-geographic point of view, is part of Suceava Plateau, subunit of Moldova Plateau, situated in its eastern part.
In Botosani town, the area is situated in its south-western extremity, on the Valley of Siret River, in its middle course, at approximately 12 km, in straight line to Botosani municipality, the area being hilly, with a reduced altitude, most of it being around 300 m.
From mathematical point of view, Vorona area is determined by the crossing of parallel 470 36’ 37” northern latitude and of the meridian 260 41’ 28” eastern longitude.
It seems that the toponym Vorona comes from the name of the Vorona River that crosses the area from the southern part, being a left affluent of the Siret. Close to the bed of this river it was built Vorona monastery around 1600 A.D., name also borrowed from the river. Vorona toponym is of Ukrainian origin, meaning black, crow.
Some locals are using the term to denote the black color of the leaves and branches of the oak, fallen into the bed of the river, that blacken and give the impression that the water is black (the river crosses wide area of oak forests).
The territory of Vorona village was outside the influences of some base confessions, others than the orthodox one, the main influence was the orthodox religion, starting with the 11th century. The religion had an important role in rural communities, creating a good education, contributing to language unity, unity of traditions and rites of the Romanians. This situation, we consider, was given by the orthodox sanctuaries present in almost all villages in the area, and also by two monasteries: Vorona Monastery and Vorona Hermitage, even starting with the 17th century.
The two monasteries were, for the entire area, a true nucleus for the conservation of the orthodoxy and the spreading within the population of the culture, education, school of arts and of crafts.
Even from the 18th century, at Vorona Monastery there was a powerful school of ecclesiastic painting, approaching the Byzantine style, proof of this being the many icons conserved in the museum of this religious sanctuary.
For the first time, the name of Vorona appears on the 7th of January 1403, when Alexandru cel Bun offers to the Mitropoly of Moldavia, the village of Avereşti at Suceava, benefice enforced with the faith of the noble Ion cel Bătrân from Vorona (Wira pana Iona Staraho at Worona).

On the 16th of November 1443, Stefan Waivode offers to Hodea Costiciu the village from Vorona.
On the 31st of July 1463, by a charter, Stefan cel Mare endows Vorona village to Luca Arbore.
About Vorona he find out from the document dated 6 April 1606, by which Ieremia Movilă, the waivode of Moldavia offers to Dumitru Ponici Vorona village, inherited from his ancestor, Arbore the hetman, who had it from old Bogdan waivode, given from Stefan waivode.
So, Vorona village belonged to hetman Luca Arbore, doormen at Suceava, even from the time of Bogdan, the father of Stefan cel Mare şi Sfânt (Stephen the Great and the Holy), and was send to his followers.  
The area of Vorona is one of the beautiful area in Botosani County, fairytale atmosphere, favorable for camping. 
From Joldeştii of Vorona, comes Raluca Iuraşcu, the daughter of boyar Grigore Iuraşcu, the mother of our national poet - Mihai Eminescu.
Between the important riches of Botosani County, are the forests of oak, beech, elms, and ash, which create a rare beauty in this corner of the country. In the middle of these beauties we cannot praise the Lord that created them.   
At two kilometers from the road that connects Botosani municipality to Liteni village – Suceava, there is placed Vorona monastery, old creation with an organized community life even since 1600.
From Vorona monastery, walking to the east for about one hour, through the secular on a paved road and almost vaulted by the branches of the trees that go along with the road, crossing besides Dealul Mare, who was, as elders say, the guiding and rest point of the Faithful Stephen the Great and the Holy, when he was passing from Hârlău to Suceava and backwards, the pilgrim reaches the monastery „The Annunciation and St. Pious Onufrie” – Vorona Hermitage. There is here one of the most beautiful places in Botosani. Special riches of the nature are gathered in this place with all the bounteousness.  In the middle of a glade crossed from the east by a small spring, glade where you only see hills covered with secular forests all around you, here there rises Vorona Hermitage, a suitable place for pray and religious meditation. 

MONASTERY "The Annunciation and St. Pious Onufrie” – Vorona Hermitage

The Monastery is composed of: the church ”The Annunciation and St. Pious Onufrie”, chapel St. M. M. Mina, church Veil of Virgin Mary - Oneaga Hermitage, Holy Trinity–The Cave Hermitage, prayer sanctuary St. Prophet Elijah, house St Prophet Gideon.

Church “The Annunciation and St. Pious Onufrie”,

To be far away from the world and to be deep in the middle of the forest always was the desire of the monks that lived here. At its very beginning the monastery was hard to found for the ones that came for the first time, being hidden between hills and hidden in the shadow of the old forest.   
According to the tradition, before the building of the church from stone, there was here a hermitage with a wooden church.
The church of the monastery was built at the advice of the ruler from Moldavia, Mihail Sturdza (1834-1849),during 11 September 1858 – 25 March 1861.
We know the name of some monks that have participated to the building works - Ioanichie and Mardarie, Elefterie şi Macarie, Veniamin, who came from Cozancea Hermitage. Abbot of the Voronamonastery was era archimandrite Iosif Vasiliu (1853-1876).
This is said in ”Guidance words for the aid of the building of Vorona Hermitage”, of  His Beatitude Archbishop Chesarie Sinadon – Răzmeriţă (1798-1888) former superior of Popăuţi-Botoşani Monastery, then lieutenant of Metropolitan of Moldavia (1860-1863), held on the 11th of September 1858, celebrating the beginning of the construction of the holy sanctuary. Also from this manuscript we find out that the church was sanctified on the 25th of March 1861 by the same Archbishop Chesarie Sinadon, receiving the saint denomination of Annunciation, he himself being the greatest founder, action determined by the reform initiated by Alexandru I. Cuza in 1859, when motivated by the „bad husbandry”, he decided to take the treasure of Vorona Monastery.
About the Archbishop Chesarie Sinadon, in „Words at the funeral of anchorite Veniamin Constantinescu – January 1917”, we find out that he spent most of his childhood at Oneaga Hermitage, because he was from Botosani county.
His Beatitude Archbishop Chesarie Sinadon – Răzmeriţă died on the 19th of August 1888, at Agafton – Botosani Monastery. He was buried on the 21st of August 1888 at Agafton Monastery, near the Descent of the Holy Ghost Church, according to his will. The ceremony of the burial was celebrated by his Beatitude Archbishop Dositei Botoşăneanul.
Architecturally speaking, the church is rectangular. It is 20 meters long and 7 meters width. It is built from bricks on stone foundation, covered with copper foil. Near the altar, on the exterior northern wall, the painter Vasile Scarlat painted in the third decade of the 20th century the scene Future Judgment, work that was reconditioned by the painted Gavrileanu, from Gura Humorului, in 1990.
Its originality by three apparent apses marked at the exterior of four columns each that gives them the shape of a cross.
During 2004 – 2005 the church suffered radical transformations: new plastering was executed both on the inside and on the outside; new marbled flooring was mounted and was installed thermopane glass windows and doors, a new narthex was built. In 2005 with the blessing and the support of his Beatitude Daniel on the church there was realized a new roof, Moldavian style, covered with copper foil. In side a heating system with solid fuel was installed; it was installed a new sound system and an alarm system.
Inside painting was realized in Byzantine style, fresco technique, in 2005.
The interior is composed of the following places: narthex, vestibule, nave, Holy altar and diaconicon. The Narthex and the Holy altar are higher than the rest of the church; the steps accentuate the tendency of heightening and create a value difference of the parts of the church.
On the 9th September 2005, when was announced the sanctification of St. Pious Onufrie from Vorona Hermitage, the church was sanctified once more by a synod of leading hierarchs, priest and deacons guided by His beatitude Daniel, in the presence of many believers, when the church received a second titular saint St. Pious Onufrie.

The Iconostasis

This is one of the most characteristic examples where the popular traditions entwine with the ones of cult art, a true masterpiece of artistic craftsmanship, standing out by originality and finesse in execution. In this art masterpiece, we cannot talk about a net delimitation, with regards to the share of the popular tradition and the cult one, all being created in a unitary, original creation.
It was realized around 1870, the craftsman being a monk, the anchorite Vladimir Machidon, living in this God blessed place, at that time being a hermitage of monks. The iconostasis is the only one of this kind by the form and execution style from the extreme north of Moldavia. 
In the upper side, near the Cross with crucified Jesus and the icons of Virgin Mary and of Saint Apostle and Evangelist John (molenele), there are six Archangels, three on the left and three on the right. They are carved in wood of lime, gilded, as it is all the sculpture of the iconostasis, in a new renaissance bas-relief.
Another particularity is the one that the register of the Holy prophets is not in straight line, having an arched shape, after the fronton of the iconostasis, and the icons of the Holy Prophets are situated and intercalated between the Holy Archangels.
The iconostasis and a large number of icons are painted in oil, but they have been gilded – Slain of 14.000 Holy Innocents, The Last Supper, The Apostles, etc. These are paintings that can stand beside art masterpieces.
The iconostasis is a piece of medium proportions, of a great variety with regards to sculpture, technique and decoration, worked from panels, friezes, columns, balusters, pilasters etc., that were conjoint to compose the assembly constitutes by the separation wall between the Holy Alter and the nave.   
The background was painted in dark blue that in time faded. The sculpture was realized separately from the background, by fret sawing and sculpting or modeling and then the finalization of the ornaments by treatment, gild with gold foil and then they were applied, by gluing to the painted background, together giving the impression of a unitary assembly.  
The heavenly doors were carved mostly in hemstitch, in order to leave the impression of the vibration produced by the space that surrounds the elements. It presents itself as a unitary shape, arched in accolade in the upper part, very similar to the heavenly doors of the iconostasis from Mount Athos.
This piece worked with a great meticulousity and elaborateness in details and subtlety, that we discover under the layer of preparation of the gold, it does not constitute an independent work, but is part of an assembly, very varied that has marked and constituted the wood carving of the 19th century.
The conclusions that can be drawn regarding the wood sculpture on this beautiful iconostasis are valid for the Romanian ecclesiastic church, where we can shape the vision of the artist monk in that period.

 

The icon „Virgin Mary holding the Holy Infant”

Between the representations of the Virgin Mary, at the Monastery Hermitage from Vorona there is an icon portraying Her with holding the Holy Infant. This is a unique icon between this kind of icons and, at the same time, unique in our country, by its form of representation, painted by the anchorite Vladimir Machidon, who lives in this monastery during 1861-1876. We can consider that, by this representation, the painter tried to suggest to the mothers that they have the duty to guide their sons on the sinuous paths of life, but leaving them the possibility of the freedom of the will. Another interpretation could be The Return to Egypt or the Virgin Mary with the infant crossing the world. The opinions are divided.   
Another characteristic of this icon is the fact that the watcher has the feeling or the certainty, depending on the mood, when he looks straight to Virgin Mary, She is watching him in the eyes.  
The icon was never reconditioned and although the colors have lost their original glitter, the face of Virgin Mary and of Jesus has kept their clarity over the years.

          The Church „The veil of Virgin Mary”

The hermitage „The veil of Virgin Mary”– Oneaga, is situated in the south-western part of Botosani County.
The history of this hermitage starts in the 18th century, once some Russian hermits established on this lands.
It was built by the family of boyar Cristescu, on his land, in 1780. The church was under the sanctity of St. M. Martyr George.
In 1862, by a lordly ordinance, the hermitage was dissolved. Apparently this happened because of the non-canonical marriage between Gheorghe Cristescu and his cousin, the daughter of D. Mavrocordat.
The church was dismounted and transported to Vânători locality, Gorbăneşti village, Botosani County. It remained only the foot of the Holy Table. The inhabitants had the permission to remain at the place of the hermitage until they depart from this world.
From these, the monk Veniamin Constantinescu went to the community of Vorona Hermitage.
In 1995, with the blessing of His Beatitude Holy Metropolitan Daniel, there was laid a foundation for anew church, action initiated by the anchorite Pimen Chirilă, from Vorona Hermitage. The construction lasted until 1999, when it took place the sanctification of the church on the 1st of October.
The church of the hermitage has the shape of a cross, with a steeple on the nave and two smaller ones on the lateral apses. It is made of bricks, plastered with marbled powder.
The iconostasis is made of carved oak as it is the choir of Virgin Mary. The church has three candelabras made of deer horns.
At the entrance it has an opened narthex, supported on four columns.
Presently, the Hermitage „The veil of Virgin Mary”,  is under the direct management of Vorona Hermitage.

 

The Chapel „Saint Great Martyr Mina”

The foundation stone was laid in 1940, on the place of an old house, during the priorship of the protosinghel Gideon Verenciuc (1920-1947). It is rectangular, without apses, with altar, nave and narthex. It is built form wood plastered with mortar, on stone foundation, being 11 meters  long and 7 meters width.
It was sanctified on the 9th of September 1941 by Irineu Mihălcescu(1939-1947) theMetropolitan of Moldavia. .
The painting is realized in 1992 in tempera technique

 

„Holy Trinity - The Cave” Hermitage
(The cave of the hermits)

At approximately 1, 5 km from the Hermitage monastery, in the heart of the forest, there are still visible the tracks of a chapel protected by the “Holy Trinity” built in 1944-1951, by the anchorite Ioachim Boghean, inhabitant of the Monastery Hermitage from Vorona, prior being the protosinghel Ghedeon Verenciuc, as a fulfillment of the promise made to God, in order to guard the monasteries from the soviet invasion.  
This church, unique in Moldavia, was sanctified by the metropolitan Sebastian Rusan (1950-1956), in 1951, when the protection of “Holy Trinity” was granted. Abbot of Vorona monastery was the archimandrite Damaschin Barbacaru.
The church Holy Trinity was demolished as a result of the Decision no 410/1959, and the inhabitants were moved to the community of the Monastery Hermitage from Vorona.
Presently only the altar carved in rock is conserved. 

         
Prayer sanctuary „St. Prophet Elijah”

          Before the entrance to the road that leads to the monastery, on a 300 m distance from it, on DJ (County Road) 208H, that connects the localities Vorona and Oneaga, there is placed this prayer sanctuary, built in 1984 the anchorite Pimen Chirilă, under the blessing of the anchorite prior Visarion Pâşnei.  

Each year, the day of the celebration of the titular saint (the 20h of July) is marked by a pilgrimage of the believers, leaded by a synod of priests, that starts from the monastery, after the ending of the Holy High-mass with the purpose to celebrate certain religious ceremonies at the prayer sanctuary: holy water, holy oil, and the of the Litany of the Saint.  

 

Other constructions  

In 1958 the bell tower was built, the prior was the protosinghel Sava Iftode (1947-1959).
Between 1993 - 1997, it was built the house of „St. Prophet Gideon”, sanctified on the  25th of  march 1997 by His Beatitude Calinic Botoşăneanul.

Present situation  

On the 22nd of June 1990, Vorona Hermitage, was advanced at the degree of monastery by the address no 5057 of the Chancellery of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church   applied on the 1st of April  1991 by metropolitan decision no 40, when it was designated as abbot the Pious Protosinghel Gideon – Gheorghiţă Huţanaşu.

II. INHABITANTS

1. St. Pious Onufrie, the spiritual founder of Hermitage Vorona

Among the many fathers that have sanctified the land around our monastery, an honorable place is occupied by St. Pious ONUFRIE, considered to be the greatest hermit onBotosani lands, who, around the middle of the 18th century connected his name to the Monastery Hermitage from Vorona. St. Pious Onufrie’s life has an important spiritual value to us, because it is the life of a father of modern times and who lived no so long ago as the elder Fathers, in the hermit spirit of prayer.
By a special life, dedicated completely to God, spent in hardship and constant prayer, St. Pious ONUFRIE, showed himself to be chosen vessel of the Holy Ghost, placing himself in the lines of the great people of the 18th century, besides St. Paisie from Neamţ, his confessor and friend, St. Basil from Poiana Mărului and others who remain unknown.
Onufrie is a Christian name, meaning the one who is always happy. It is an intermediary Greek-Slavonian, of Egyptian origin.
St. Pious Onufrie was born in Russia, around 1700. Although he was a noble, being the governor of some province, he heard about a renowned hermitage in the land of Moldavia, left his family, honor and country, and around 1749 came to this land.
After 15 years of apprenticeship, while he spend a monastic life in different monasteries, where he met St. Basil from Poiana Mărului and St. Paisie Velicicovski, he retreated to the forest of Vorona, in 1764, living far away from the people for 25 years.
In his cave he copied many phylocalies, of some authors as: St. Isaac Sirul, John the Carpathian, Nichita Stithatul, Calist and Ignatie Xantopol, St. Simeon the New Theologian, Nil Sinaitul, Grigorie Palama. Some manuscripts where found at the Rila monastery in Bulgaria.
By all these he proved to be a follower of the right faith in the Holy Fathers of the Church and willingly to follow their life example.
From the good deeds of St. Pious Onufrie we can mention: the hermit living, humbleness, complete obedience and constant prayer.
St. Onufrie fasted forty days and forty nights during the Lenten, in a cave on the shores of Bahlui, nor far away from springs, deed in forests and thickets not entered until then. He only ate after the sunset, and during the night he slept in a chair for about two-three hours. And he grew so much in spiritual life that many used his gift and asked him to pray for them, being even while alive a wonder-worker. 
St. Onufrie was wise and gentle, and knew more than others the temptations of the enemy. His most distinct deed was the constant prayer with whom he soon habituated. In those times, the community of the hermitage there was not a more gifted worker of the prayer to Jesus than the humble hermit Onufrie. He acquired the gift of tears and with the gift of Christ he had a great joy and spiritual blessing. But about all these he spoke with nobody. So, his name became known everywhere. 
The richest gifts of St. Onufrie can be seen in these words: “His clay bowl where the spirit of the pious guarded, he was dignified with special gifts by the All-Powerful. For all believers that kneeled and kneel with piety before the holy relics, the life of the pious is an opened book for guidance and Christian building; for the pious monks, the pious Onufrie is the face of kindness and humbleness; for the faithful goodness people he is a urge for piety, for leaving oneself, to a clean life. The riches of his soul and the good deeds that have fulfilled his life have raised the ones that come to the shrine on the Monastery Hermitage from Vorona, the ones who fight temptations and worldliness.”
He is considered the spiritual founder of Vorona Hermitage, whose community taught with wisdom, many monks using the example of his clean life.
When St. Paisie came from Mount Athos in 1763, found St. Onufrie in Moldavia, at Dragomirna monastery. Between them there will be a close spiritual friendship, St. Paisie being the confessor of St. Onufrie. They used to visit themselves often for useful words, as the elder fathers say.  Also he received from his hand the great monastic clothe at Dragomirna monastery in 1774.
Then ending the journey of this life and knowing from advance the time of his death, he departed from this world with a joyful soul, into the arms of Christ in the spring of 1789, at March, 29, 89 years old and was buried in the orchid of the hermitage, under an apple tree, in the day celebrating the Resurrection of the Christ, after being communed by the priest in Tudora village, 8 km away through the forest, and closest to the hut of the Pious, brought by heavenly miracle to him. This is how it happened: as a tradition kept from the portents, after the ceremony of the Resurrection, in 1789, priest N. Gheorghiu, from Tudora village, went home, ate and wanted to get some rest. Then an angel came to him and said: “Priest, you have eaten, but the servant of God Onufrie is about to die. Take with you the Holy Communion and something to eat and go to him soon.” And the priest said: “I don’t know where he is”. But the angel replied: “The horse will take you to him.” The priest told this to the priestess and she prepared the needed things, putting them on the horse, which walked alone, guided by an invisible hand, and the priest went after it with the Holy Secrets. Arriving to the hut of saint Onufrie, he found him very weak. After he communed him, the saint ate a little and got better. Then he asked to be taken to the hermitage, and after a while he fell asleep, dying and was buried by the monks from Oneaga hermitage. Later, that priest became a monk too. These deeds are confirmed by the teacher Gh. D. Vasiliu from Tudora a great grandson of the priest Gheorghiu in 1943.
After some time, there appeared many signs, seen by many: candles burning, voices signing, and three minks from Lacuri Hermitage (Deleni-Iaşi), who left for Vorona, have lost themselves in the woods and spending the night on the water of Bahlui were guided by a light to the hut of the pious. Two guards of the cattle of Vorona Monastery went to the glade where the pious’ tomb was. One of them lighting his pipe, set on the tomb, while the second scolded him not to do that, because in this place miracles happen and he has to respect it not to blaspheme it. Then, as from the skies, a hand hit him over the head that his pipe fell down and his neck was hurt and he remained mute. His friend took him to the monastery and after many prayers he got better.
In the winter of 1846 the ruler of Moldavia - Mihail Sturdza – going on a hunt in the woods of Vorona, arrives to the Hermitage, where by accident find in the snow, at the roots of an apple tree a big beautiful apple, perfectly conserved. Taking it, to the Court gives it to his daughter, who was epileptic, and she gets healthy. Seeing this miracle in his family, the ruler went back to Vorona, on the 9th of May of the same years, giving orders to be made a wide road to there, to go and see the relics of the saint – because old monks and an old bailiff told him that at the roots of that apple tree lies buried St. Onufrie, whose life they depict to the Ruler. The relics were exhumed, by court order and placed with honor in the altar of Vorona Monastery until 1856, when they were mobbed to the altar of The Annunciation monastery of the Vorona Hermitage.
Folk piety made him a saint immediately after his departure to God, the monks from the hermitage making him a litany and a religious hymn in the honor of the pious, before 1867.
Many miracles have been made and many people have cured at the shrine with his holy relics, both in old days and presently.
The Holy Synod of BOR, in the session from 6 July 2005, decided to list Pious Onufrie from the Vorona Hermitage as a saint, being celebrated on the 9th of September, because of canonic, historic and pastoral – missionary arguments referring to:
The Orthodoxy of belief – The Pious Onufrie from Vorona Hermitage was an apprentice of St. Paisie de la Neamţ and follower in the true belief, confessed by the philocalic fathers, whose works in manuscript he partially copied with monastic effort and humbleness;
The holiness of life – proved by his ascetic living in the 15 years of monastery and the 25 years of solitary life, also receiving the monk clothe.
Wondrous deed both during life and afterwards until nowadays.
His honor as a saint even from earthly life and the worship of his relics.

The last requiescat of Pious Onufrie was celebrated on the 7th of September 2005, at “his place” by His Beatitude Ioachim Băcăuanul, Archbishop Dean of The Episcopate of Roman and His Beatitude Corneliu Bârlădeanul Archbishop Dean of The Episcopate of Husi, altogether with a synod of priest and deacons, at the shadow of the tree where he was buried.

At the end of the ceremony the relics of the hermit Onufrie were placed in a beautiful silver shrine.  
The solemn proclamation of the sanctification of St. Onufrie took place on the 9th of September at the monastery he founded – Vorona Hermitage, whom he loved so much, in the presence of His Beatitude Teoctist Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, of His Beautified Daniel Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bucovina other hierarch members of the Holy Synod, a delegation of His Onufrie from Cherniovtsy – Ukraine and an impressive number of believers. 

2. Other inhabitants


The hermit John – come from Neamt Monastery, with the blessing of Veniamin Costachi Metropolitan Of Moldavia(1803 – 1842), around 1810, who loved in the deserted cave of hermit  Onufrie.
He was from Poltava, born in a noble family. Hearing about Abbot Paisie, around 1785 he left his country and came to Neamt Monastery, in Moldavia.
He lived a wonderful ascetic life, in prayer, and obedience, being “helped” by his forefather, whose cave he occupied.  
He had a wonderful ending, just like his life, because his body was miraculously kidnapped and nobody ever found it.  
The anchorite Casian Frunză, from Neamţ Hermitage Monastery, recalls a discussion he had with the old priest of Oneaga village, Botosani, in 1925 – at that time the priest was 90 years old. He told him about a miracle he experienced in the first years of his service. He saw la strange light at the window and he heard a strong and ordering voice:” Take your Holy Secrets and go to the cave of Hermitage and commune the hermit John that awaits you!” terrified, the priest thought it was an illusion, but the light did not disappeared. So he took the Holy Secrets and left towards the cave, which was about 3 km apart, through the dense forest. When he entered the cave, a weak voice told him: “Priest, fear nothing! Come and commune me because I have to leave this world.”
After he communed him, the priest asked John the monk, from were was he and since when he lived in Vorona forest. He answered he was from Poltavaregion, from a family of nobles and in his youth years he had studied a lot. Then, hearing about abbot Paisie, he left his country and came to Neamţ around 1785. After 1810, he retreated in the woods of Vorona, where other hermits lived. There he lived over 50 years. John thanked the priest and promised he will pay for him to the Holy Trinity. Three days later, the priest came back to the cave. He found the books and the place where John stayed, the monk was not there anymore. His body was miraculously kidnapped and nobody has eve seen him.
The anchorite Veniamin Constantinescu - In 1917 he died in Vorona Hermitage. The anchorite Veniamin Constantinescu, who came from Oneaga Hermitage, lived in the wilderness of the forest until he was 117 years old.
As the elder fathers who seen him alive say, he had a holy life, even wild animals listened him; many times, in winter time, he descended to Vorona Monastery barefooted and two wolfs accompanied him, waited him and returned with him on the way back.
In September 1910, the anchorite Veniamin Constantinescu was proposed and occupied the function of abbot of Vorona Monastery, but for very little time, because he loved the peacefulness and the wilderness of the Hermitage. It is enough to say that he personally knew His Beatitude Archbishop Chesarie Sinadon, from whom he often received spiritual advices and the holy order of deacon and priest.
The anchorite Vladimir Machidon – from a litany of the monastery we read: “This is the litany of the servant of God, anchorite Vladimir Machidon, who has enriched this holy hermitage by obedience, have painted the iconostasis, the walls, as one can see, and other things. The painting was started in 1861 and was finished on the 10th of May 1876, when he was 100 years old.
The things he left behind are characterized by an original conception, someway deviating from the observance of some traditions concerning the portrait with religious subject. At Vorona Hermitage, there is, in front of the iconostasis, the icon of Virgin Mary with Her Son, Jesus, painted by the monk but held in the arms, but by the hand, with feet on the ground. It is the only icon of this kind in the country. The monk also sculpted the iconostasis of the church The Annunciation.
The Protosinghel Gideon Verenciuc (1887-1947) – The ones who knew him agree on the fact that he can be considered the last true hermit, from Botosani lands, before him being many others, most of them being anonyms. And how can you not compared him to a pious hermit, when the believers who reached the Hermitage in the woods of Vorona, found a true ascetic monk , with his monk hat on the head, dressed with a frock of thick velvet, beautifully crafted, touching the ground, and dilapidated in time, that covered an almost mummified body. He put shoes on his feet only when the eggs of the crows in the forest cracked because of the vicious frost. Gifted by God with o voice envied by many clerks and with the gift of eloquence, he was called, even from his first years of monasticism, by Metropolitan Pimen Georgescu (1909 – 1933) to serve at the building of  Iosif Naniescu, Metropolitan Church from Iasi. A very rare fact indeed: from the woods of Vorona to the Metropolis of Moldavia (1915-1920)! But there he did not accommodate, he did not feel well. The time spent there seemed an eternity so he went back.
“The last hermit” spent some little time at Agafton Monastery, in 1929, being an anchorite.
Most of his life he spent at Vorona Hermitage, where he was an abbot for a quarter of century (1920-1945). Here he got the name of hermit because of the way in which he executed his vocation of servant of God.
In the Sunday of Thomas of the year 1928 he received as apprentice (monastery brother) brother Theodore Arăpaşu, of only 14 years old from Botosani Tocileni, the present Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, in this position since 1986.
He died in the winter of 1947, after a hard sufferance produced by a terrible illness - putrid fever. His body found rest in the glade of the Hermitage, whom he loved and served for so many years.
The Protosinghel Sava Iftode (1914 – 2001) who was a prior in the hard years after the war - 1947-1959 – until the monasteries and the hermitages were closed and dissolved. 
Between 1959-1968, the hermitage was closed as a result of the Decision no 410/1959. This space was used, starting with 1962, once the Production Agricultural Cooperative Oneaga was founded, as a shelter for sheep. At its opening in 1969, the constructions were heavily degraded. By the efforts of prior protosinghel Ghenadie Verenciuc (1968-1972) some repairs were made.
Between 1973 – 1991, Visarion Pâşnei was the prior.
In 1991, the Vorona Hermitage was raised to the degree of monastery. The abbot was The Pious Gideon –Huţanaşu.         
The museum of the monastery houses a collection of cult in Romanian written in Cyrillic, during 1830 – 1865; the original document that attests the exhumation of the relics of Pious Onufrie on the 9th of May 1846, in the presence of the ruler of Moldavia Mihail Sturdza; a copy after document of the Holy synod for the proclamation of the sanctification of Saint Pious Onufrie. 


EVENTS

The most spiritual realization in the Monastery hermitage from Vorona took place in 2005, when, by the blessing and benevolence of His Beatitude the Metropolitan Daniel, it took place the proclamation of the sanctification of St. Pious Onufrie, unique moment in the history of the monastery and of the Botosani lands, by its spiritual load, and also by the participation of His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist to this grand event. Together with His beatitude, there were many hierarchs of the Holy Synod of BOR: His Beatitude Daniel Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bucovina, His Beatitude Laurenţiu Metropolitan of Ardeal, His Beatitude Archbishop Pimen of Suceava and Rădăuţi, His Beatitude Episcope Calinic of Argeş and Muscel, His Beatitude Episcope Casian of the Lower Danube, His Beatitude Episcope Vicar Patriarchal Vincenţiu Ploieşteanul, His Beatitude Irineu Slătineanul Archbishop Vicar of Episcopate of Râmnic, His Beatitude Ioachim Băcăuanul Archbishop Vicar of Episcopate of Roman, His Beatitude Corneliu Bârlădeanul Archbishop Vicar of Episcopate of Huşi, a delegation of His Onufrie from Cherniovtsy – Ukraine and also an impressive synod of priests, abbots from monasteries and teacher fathers of the University of Theology  of  impressive number of believers “Dumitru Stăniloae” din Iaşi.
Also in this spiritual context the grand church of the monastery was re-sanctified by His Beatitude the Metropolitan Daniel, accompanied by the same synod of archbishops and priests, when it received the second spiritual protection saint, St. Pious Onufrie, next to The Annunciation.

The history of the monastic settlement from Vorona Hermitage is closely connected to the lands of Moldavia.
It always had a deep Romanian character and has an important cultural and spiritual role. But still, the Monastery Hermitage from Vorona, managed, by its recluse position, to be unnoticed by the masters of the pen, continuing its quiet and simple life.
A visit to the Monastery Hermitage from Vorona is for every true pilgrim a living lesson of the history of the past, of profound change in Christian spirituality and in the springs of Romanian vitality.
Vorona Hermitage lives with each man and woman that has passed through the great gate, who keep in their souls o flame, and when this flame fades they come back to lit it again. The people coma and go, but the Hermitage is still here, waiting for them.

 

Vorona Hermitage trusts the future and the history. It trusts God, because God is not a God of the past or of the future. He is a God of the present. He loves us not for what we were or for what we will be, but for what we are. And the Hermitage loves God.