Alexandru Nemoianu : ” Archbishop Valerian D.Trifa – Romanian Language Writer

Archbishop Valerian D.Trifa – Romanian Language Writer

The achievements of Archbishop Valerian D. Trifa were very numer­ous, and in many areas of activity: as a spiritual leader, as an administra­tor, and as an editor. However, one of his most remarkable and very rich activities, that of writer, was some­how less emphasized.

In this area, as in all his activities, he was a man of action, not so much preoccupied with „why” but rather with „how.” That was how to find the best solution to move things for­ward. Consequently, as a writer, he manifested himself not as an author of scholarly tomes, but as the author of not so lengthy and very direct and to the point articles.

In fact, he was a journalist (writ­ing and administering newspapers) from a very young age, so young that one may be tempted to say that he was born a journalist. But in this area, his activity reached its peak in the United States, and the contents of his writings addressed problems pertain­ing to the Romanian-American com­munity. For this reason, Archbishop Valerian will remain not only as a remarkable Romanian language writer of the Romanian-American group, but also as one to have a major impact upon this community by writing in Romanian.

In their overwhelming majority, his writings were published in the „Solia,” the official organ of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. His passion and dedication for this activity was probably equaled only by his humbleness. Few people were aware, or are aware, that for many years, Archbishop Valerian was the author of most of the articles pub­lished in „Solia,” and that he was also its editor, administrator, and proofreader. In fact, the only articles he signed were the Pastoral Letters. According to their content, his ar­ticles could be divided into theologi­cal, pastoral, and educational.

In the theological articles, Arch­bishop Valerian was an ardent de­fender and promoter of the Orthodox faith. He took issue on matters of theological dispute, and very success­fully defended the Orthodox faith and its dogma. Toward this end, he used a multitude of information and the writings of the Holy Fathers. He did this in a very discreet manner. He never tried to emphasize his erudi­tion but always promoted the inter­ests of the Church and of his readers.

In his demonstrations he was con­vincing, warm, and always human. He never rebated the quality of the information but was aware that the less educated people were even more in need and entitled to explanations. He was a tireless and enthusiastic promoter of the Orthodox faith. He passionately presented its history, evolution and its beauty.

The pastoral articles were very numerous. In these articles, the sig­nificance of feasts and events was explained. These articles also ad­dressed the direct spiritual needs of the Romanian-American Orthodox community. The articles addressed and answered questions that always lingered in the soul: what is the fast and why to fast; why to be honest, loyal and steadfast; and why to pray.

These articles also addressed prob­lems of practical church administra­tion: the building of new churches; the Sunday schools; the „Vatra” reli­gious camps. In these articles the Archbishop was always direct and ready with practical solutions and examples from life.

In what can be grouped under the category of „educational” articles. Archbishop Valerian gave full mea­sure to his main function, that of Bishop who guides and „rightly de­fines” the truth. In fact, it is sort of difficult to separate those articles, because all of his articles contained a certain amount of educational guid­ance. These articles were addressed to all the people: men and women, elderly, adults and young. The old he comforted and guided toward spiri­tual values. The adults he urged to use all their talents to enrich their life and the life of their community with good deeds.

In all these articles, the Archbishop carefully avoided the use of a sol­emn, sententious, or grave tone that so easily can become deadly boring. Rather, he used a direct, friendly, person to person manner that often was „seasoned” with a wise joke because he professed what the Latins called „ridendo castigat mores” (to straight habits by laughing). For the young, he cared with a passion.

It is well known that the Arch­bishop always had a very special re­lation with the young people. He loved to see them around him and on the „Vatra” grounds, and his goal was to see that they were involved and com­mitted to the Episcopate’s life.

He insisted on having the young people properly educated to be the guarantee of the future. He strongly believed that without the youth, there will be no future for the Romanian-American community. He loved the young people so much that he al­ways accepted them and made al­lowances in his heart for their limita­tions. On this topic an addition is necessary.

It was said many times that the Archbishop was a man ahead of his time, and this reflection is very cor­rect regarding the youth. It was he, this time in the position of a Roma­nian language writer, who understood that the future of the young genera­tion, and for that matter the future of the Romanian-American community, will be the use of the English lan­guage. It is hard to say if he was happy with that fact, but it was he who understood that this was an ob­jective process beyond preferences. It was he who realized that this pro­cess was unavoidable and could not be ignored, without facing devastat­ing consequences. As such, it was he who encouraged and promoted this transition.

In this he proved that his reason and the interest of his people were above sentiments of intimate desires, and that is the difference between the common and the exceptional man. He promoted the use of the English language, and he realized that this will soon be the language of our com­munity, but in the meantime he did his utmost to promote interest in Ro­manian traditions and to preserve the heritage and the Romanian-Ameri­can character of our group.

It was already mentioned that his style was very direct, picturesque and always ready with a practical solu­tion. The articles were written in Romanian and he was first and fore­most a Romanian language writer.

The Romanian he used was the language of the Romanian newspa­pers from Transylvania at the end of the XlXth and the beginning of the XXth century. That language was cultivated by famous newspapers which promoted the rights of the Romanians. It was a very clear lan­guage that was equally accessible to intellectuals and to the less educated people. That very beautiful language was also used by the Romanian-American press and is still in use in what is a clear sign of Romanian-American continuity. In my opinion. Archbishop Valerian will remain as the Master of this language.

It is important to remember Arch­bishop Valerian’s activity as a writer, because this gives an even greater significance to the pledge made by a very young Viorel D. Trifa when he was elected Bishop in Chicago on July 4th, 1951: „/ give you all that God has given me.” He most defi­nitely fulfilled that pledge. In this light we think that the publication of Archbishop Valerian D. Trifa’s writ­ings is of the utmost actuality.

Alexandru Nemoianu

 

 

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