This book deals with a very important topic for the multimillennial history of Dobrogea. It is known that this province of Romania - called in Antiquity Scythia Minor (Little Scythia) - was framed since ancient times, due to its geographical location, in the geo-political and cultural framework of the Greco-Roman world and, as a result, were present here historical, religious and cultural realities specific to it, which came into contact with the native ones, and the dominant languages, Greek and Latin, were understood and even spoken by any inhabitant of this space. From an early age, the powerful Roman Empire was established in that world, a political and religious organization then imposed on the regional entities in which Dobrogea was located. This led to a certain uniformity of the way of life of the inhabitants of the vast Empire, but many specific spiritual traditions or practical lives were also preserved.
In this context, Christian teaching could penetrate the land of Dobrogea, even from the apostolic period, being preached here by two apostles of the Savior Jesus Christ, namely Saints Andrew and Philip. Due to them, Christianity among the Romans is very old, and within it appeared early monasticism in the specific forms of the Christian East. Being, at that time, a province of the Roman Empire, Dobrogea benefited from the knowledge of the Christian forms existing at that time, and Saint Basil the Great, who had close ties with the political and religious leadership of this region, supported everything that could contribute. to the development and strengthening of the spiritual life in this geographical space. Monks and early forms of monastic life are known in this early period, namely from the end of the third century, which the author of the book inserts in his work. Then it presents the institutionalized forms from the 4th century and the following ones, indicating the names of important people like Audius, Ioan Casian, the bishop Teotim de Tomis and then those from the V – VIII centuries, Carossos, Saint Dionysius Exiguus and the Scythian monks. They are all shown their spiritual role in society at that time. These news complete them with the archaeological data revealed during the excavations carried out in the northern part of Dobrogea (at the Russian Slava), then at Murfatlar, in the middle of the province, and then in the south of Dobrogea and even beyond the southern border of Romania. on Bulgarian territory.
If until the eighth century, the history of Dobrogea monasticism is treated predominantly on the basis of literary texts, the next period, until the fourteenth century, is based more on archaeological discoveries.
Chapter X is dedicated to the presentation of some monasteries in northern Dobrogea: Cocos, Celic Dere and Saon.
In the final part, chapters XI - XIII, the history of monasticism in Dobrogea during the years 1918-2004 is presented. At the end, there are five annexes with demonstration maps, as well as 68 pages with drawings, plans of places of worship. They are joined by numerous photographs that make it easier to understand the more difficult problems of Dobrogea monasticism.
The work we present is actually the first comprehensive monograph of a Romanian province and it adds to other studies and books published by the same author so far. It is part of the elite works of historiography in our country and is also a reference volume for future research. Therefore, knowing his youth and creative power, I look forward to others like him.
Prof. univ. Dr. Emilian POPESCU,
member of the Romanian Academy