The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization remains faithful to its mission of promoting dialogue in order to create a culture of peace through dialogue between the academic environment, religious leaders and the younger generations. An appropriate opportunity to achieve these aims presents itself each year, in the form of the International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, scheduled between the 18th and the 25th of January. In 2020, the events celebrating the International Prayer Week were informed by the following Biblical passage: “And they showed us no little kindness (Acts, 28:2), referring to Apostle Paul’s shipwreck in Malta, and of “mankind’s drama before the unstoppable power of Nature”. The preparatory texts were chosen by the Churches of Malta and Gozo, and published by the Ecumenical Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
As it has done in previous years, the Stânceni hermitage consecrated to the Raising of the Holy Cross – established in 1994 by the St. Elijah Carmel Monastery of Saint-Rémy in France at the invitation of the Greek Catholic Metropolitan of Romania, H.H. Cardinal Lucian Mureșan – prepared a special programme dedicated to Christian unity, coordinated by the Mother Superior, Éliane Poirot. On the 25th of January 2020, before a sizeable crowd of Christian faithful of all confessions, Archimandrite Father Constantin Dârle spoke of the activity of the “Saint Irineu” Mixed Catholic-Orthodox Theological Work Group, and of the progress achieved in official Catholic-Orthodox dialogic channels. Dr Ana-Maria Răducan, PhD, an Expert in Roman and Byzantine Culture at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, presented the work of Saint Symeon the New Theologian, a Byzantine mystic who lived around the turn of second millennium, and the continued applicability of his message when aimed at modern audiences. The reunion culminated in a prayer service officiated by a Greek Catholic priest, Aurelian Băcilă (Târgu Mureș), followed by an address by Roman Catholic priest, Ciprian Iosif Scheianu (Stânceni), chants from Orthodox priest Adrian Stoian (Toplița) and a pan-Christian agape.
The Stânceni hermitage, nestled in a Carpathian mountain valley in Mureș County, boasts a remarkable effervescence of cultural and missionary activity, maintained and overseen by the tireless and erudite Mother Superior, Éliane Poirot. The hermitage’s library is a veritable treasure trove, containing approximately 30000 titles on Christian theology and patristics.