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Romanian Exorcism Cures by Killing

As the UK ponders abusive exorcism practices, grim news from Romania, via the AFP:

TANACU, Romania — A Romanian Orthodox priest, facing charges for ordering the crucifixion of a young nun because she was “possessed by the devil,” was unrepentant Saturday as he celebrated a funeral ceremony for his alleged victim.

“God has performed a miracle for her, finally Irina is delivered from evil,” Father Daniel, 29, the superior of the Holy Trinity monastery in north-eastern Romania, told an AFP reporter before celebrating a short liturgy “for the soul of the deceased”, in the presence of 13 nuns who showed no visible emotion.

He insisted that from the religious point of view the crucifixion of Maricica Irina Cornici, 23, was “entirely justified,” but admitted he faced excommunication as well as prosecution, and was seeking a “good lawyer.”

Cornici had been raised in a Romanian orphanage, and worked as a nanny in Germany before entering the monastery just three months ago; there are contested claims that she was mentally ill. Inside the monastery, “Father Daniel” and four nuns gagged her and chained her to a cross, in which position she was found dead on Wednesday. The Bucharest Daily has further details:

The nun, Maricica Irina Cornici from the “Sfanta Treime” Monastery [in the village of Tanacu in Vaslui] died on Wednesday evening after being imprisoned in a room by a priest, Petru Corogeanu, and four other nuns, Nicoleta Arcaleanu, 32, Adina Ciopraga, 20, Elena Otelea, 23, and Simona Bardanas, 21. Initially, the nun’s limbs were tied with rope but, on June 13, as a result of her violent reactions, she was chained to a wooden cross and a towel was placed in her mouth as a gag. She was held on the cross in a shed for three days without food and died on the evening of June 15.

“Father Daniel” is Corogeanu’s religious name. According to the AFP report, one parishioner reported that Cornici had argued with Corogeanu in church a few days before, and the crucifixion was a punishment. Corogeanu interpreted a thunderchap during the funeral as a sign of God’s approval, and told reporters that he didn’t “understand why journalists are making such a fuss”.

Although the AFP reports that Corogeanu faces excommunication, other clerics quoted seem somewhat less than agitated:

Vitalie Danciu, the superior of a nearby monastery at Golia, called the crucifixion “inexcusable,” but a spokesman for the Orthodox patriarchate in Bucharest refused to condemn it.

“I don’t know what this young woman did,” Bogdan Teleanu said.

The Bucharest Daily adds:

“What happened is regrettable,” declared Father Costel Stoica, spokesman for the Romanian Patriarchy.

Exorcism was illegal in Romania until the 1989 revolution; a short 1997 CNN report on Romanian exorcisms can be seen here. Just recently an exorcism was performed inside a government building after a spate of accidents.

Further reports can be seen here (in Hungarian) and here (in Romanian). The BBC has a picture of Corogeanu.