HOMO LITURGICUS by Priest Marin Mihalache

Orthodoxy in Dialogue takes great pleasure in introducing to our readers around the world Father Marin Mihalache’s newly published collection of spiritual poetry, Homo Liturgicus.
In March 1981 Father Alexander Schmemann wrote to the then 29-year old poet:
My dear Marin,
In the first place this is unmistakably—poetry. If by poetry we mean, above all, a vision of life incarnate in words (“the best possible words in the best possible words”) and thus a recreation of the world, your verses are poetry. Once more a man saw and experienced life in a new and unique manner, and revealed that which he saw and experienced. Revealed—not explained… For this a thank you—not of politeness, but as the only proper response, the only genuine amen. The poet’s world is God’s and his, and no one else’s. You give it to us, as God gives us His (and now through your poetry—yours) world. We can receive it, integrate it into our vision yet, it will forever remain a gift, and this is the only genuine ontology. All poetry (even a “blank” one) is religious. Yours is Christian. It is itself an Amen to a gift, an act of communion, praise and wonder. I am glad I read it on the first day of Lent. You write your poetry in a language which is not yours, yet you transform it, make it into yours (not “Romanian” but yours). For the first time in my life I had the thought that maybe each poet ought to write in a language other than his. For then he must “sacramentally” transform an “alien” language into his own-unique and genuine… Meanwhile, thank you once more, for a wonderful gift.
Yours with love,
+ Alexander Schmemann
The occasional, minor grammatical errors in Father Mihalache’s text add to the simple charm of his poetry.



You are a lonesome man
Without your god.
Bereft of twilight
By a mystical vision
You are that sprout
Of a miraculous dawn
The beatific rumination
Of finite apprehension.

Disown fidgety souls
Awaking from dreadful
Drifting in dazzling desert
In pursuit of pristine oasis
A bright sun has blinded us
With its sheen rays of glory
Crossing unseen verges
To show the true way.

Longing to return home
In elusive blissful abiding
When we arrived at a shore
A new horizon unfolded.

Until we descended within,
Into the buoyant fountains,
In the flares of our hearts.
Burst streams of living
Waters flowed back
In pacific oceans,
The pure tears
Of the departed saints
Who at that shore had arrived



Blessed are the departed
For they may have already
Be ascending and arrived.

Blessed are those
Who are the salt of the world
For they are seasoning
Adding keenness to life.

Blessed are those
Who have wings bruised
Growing from the pain inside
For with the new wings
Can ascend to the heavens.

Blessed are those
Who been born on earth
For always have
A sky to climb higher.

Blessed are those
Whose eyes are springs of light
So that others still
Crawling among shadows
Could see the starry night.



I built this tiny chapel
Blindly with my own hands
In the long night of my soul
Like in a dream walking.

With sweat of the brow
Laid down every layer
Hefty boulders of granite
From the hill of the skull
With dust and tears
Painted icons on walls
Windows to heavens
Doors I left wide open
For pilgrims to find abode
For the Lord to return.

I have no seen the chapel
But unrelenting shaped it
On faith through stained glass
With blind fingers I molded
All long night of my soul.

In the morning at sunrise
I shall see the mystic abode
I have built blindly without grit
In the trying night of my soul.



The rays of God’s glory
Seeds of gladsome light
Spanning from above
By the heaven’s windows
Descending on the stairs
Of the celestial cathedral.

A candle hourglass in vigil
Burning the midnight oil
Angels’ choir’s herald
The Sabbath of peace.

Pouring the new wine
Into the heart chalices
Bread of life on the altar
Elixir of immortality
Holy truth revealed
By untutored prayer
Of the Holy Ghost.

Bring your gifts in silence
Whole mind and body
In fear and in trembling
Not even vain thoughts
For the Lord is coming
Sacrificial mystic lamb
The joy of the faithful
And life of the world.
Drop all worldly care
No one wanting is worthy
To approach and serve
The Emperor of Glory

Man is worshiping along
With the unseen hosts
Angels, multi-eyed cherubs
The six-winged seraphim
Singing Alleluia,
Echoing Amen!

To read the remainder of Father Mihalache’s poetry you may purchase Homo Liturgicus on Amazon.

Father Marin Mihalache holds a law degree from the University of Bucharest, an MDiv and MTh from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and an LLM from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He is a priest of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America. His MDiv thesis (1983), written under the supervision of Father Alexander Schmemann, is entitled “On the Christian Understanding of Poetry” (available at TREN). His poetry and articles appear in the trilingual Alternativa/The Alternative/L’Alternatif and the Romanian Crestin Ortodox.

2 thoughts on “HOMO LITURGICUS by Priest Marin Mihalache


  2. Pingback: THE WONDER OF WORDS by Marin Mihalache | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

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