Iuliana Cindrea-Nagy has an MA from The Departament of History, Patrimony and Protestant Theology within “Lucian Blaga” University, Sibiu, Romania, with a dissertation entitled Psychiatry and Political Repression in Communist Romania (1965-1989), for which she also conducted research while being a scholarship student at the Institute for the Investigation of the Communist Crimes in Romania (2015-2016). She has been a member of the European Research Council Project, Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe (Hidden Galleries) between 2016 and 2021. She is currently a PhD Candidate at University College Cork, Ireland with a thesis entitled Hidden Galleries, Silenced Communities:Homegrown Religious Communities and the Secret Police in 20th Century Romania. Her main research interests include the history of religious minorities in Romania, such as Old Calendarist, Tudorist, and Neo-protestant communities, the manner in which they were perceived by the totalitarian regimes and their secret police in the 20th century Romania, as well as the repressive mechanisms used towards these communities.
The practice of incarcerating individuals in Orthodox monasteries was common across Orthodox Eastern Europe. In the case of the Imperial Russia, for example, people would be placed in monasteries for a variety of reasons, such as religious disobedience, heresy, apostasy, social disturbance, mental illness or political crimes. The scope was not intended to be punitive, but reformative, as the sentence would involve living under the monastic rule, attending church services and being involved in various works within the monastery. Even though this constitutes a neglected aspect of Romanian history, monastic incarceration seems to have been a practice that affected the Old Calendarist communities during the interwar period. When the Old Calendarists were seen as a threat to the Romanian state and the Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod decided, in October 1936, that the fate of the Old Calendarist nuns and monks was to be arrested and sent to detention at isolated sketes. There they were put to work and were forced to accept the new style calendar. The archives of the secret police, as well as the National Archives of Romania, preserve various documents in the form of letters, postcards, declarations, and police reports which prove that monastic incarceration of Old Calendarist believers was a phenomenon that extended during a longer period of time and involved at least four Orthodox Monasteries in the country. With the help of archival research and oral interviews with members of the Old Calendarist communities, this project, entitled Old Calendarist Nuns and the Issue of Monastic Incarceration in Interwar Romania, will focus on reconstructing this neglected aspect of Romanian history by answering questions such as: how large was the phenomenon? How many monasteries did it involve and for how long? What were the conditions in these monasteries for the detainees? It will also focus on recovering and tracing the individual stories of some of the nuns that managed to survive incarceration and went on living quiet and sometimes tumultuous lives in secluded monastic dwellings, which they also helped build and organize.