Petre Tutea: Between Sacrifice and Suicide
- Publish Date: 2004-04-13
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Alexander Popescu
Petre Tutea (1902-1991) was one of the outstanding Christian dissident intellectuals of the Communist era in Eastern Europe. Revered as a saint by some, he spent 13 years as a prisoner of conscience and 28 years under house arrest at the hands of the Securitate. This book explores his unique response to the horrors of torture and re-education and reveals the experience of a whole generation detained in the political prisons. Tutea's understanding of human needs and how they can be fulfilled even amidst extreme adversity not only reflects huge learning and great brilliance of mind, but also offers a spiritual vision grounded in personal experience of the Romanian Gulag. Following the fall of the Ceausescus, he has begun to emerge as a significant contributor to ecumenical Christian discourse and to understanding of wider issues of truth and reconciliation in the contemporary world. As Tutea's pupil and scribe for 12 years, as a psychiatrist and as a theologian, Alexandru Popescu is well placed to present the work of this 20th-century Confessor of the faith. Drawing on bibliographical sources which include unpublished or censored manuscripts and personal conversations with Tutea and with other prisoners of conscience in Romania, Popescu presents extensive translations of Tutea, which make his thought accessible to the English-speaking reader. Through his stature as a human being and his authority as a thinker, Petre Tutea challenges us to question many of our assumptions. The choice he presents between sacrifice and moral suicide focuses us on the very essence of religion and human personhood. Resisting any ultimate separation of theology and spirituality, his work affirms hope and love as the sole ground upon which truth can be based. At the same time, hope and love are not mere ideal emotions, but are known and lived in engagement with the real world - in politics, economics, science, ecology and the arts, and in participation in the Divine Liturgy that is at once the traditional offering of the Church and the cosmic drama of the incarnate Word.