Places of interest09 January 2022

Spectacular Dobrudja and its treasures carved in stone: Saint John Cassian Cave

If you want to reach a place where you feel like in the Jurassic, then choose Dobrudja with its mountains worn down by the winds, with stones dating back millions of years, with limestone caves and other wonders from time immemorial

Saint John Cassian Cave - The Gorges of Dobrudja Reserve

Saint John Cassian Cave - The Gorges of Dobrudja Reserve

The Gorges of Dobrudja Reserve covers a surface of 286 hectares, from the village of Mihail Kogalniceanu up to the village of Ramnicu de Jos. The reserve shelters over 500 species of rare flower species.

The stones of the Dobrudja Mountains date back almost 2 billion years, and the limestones deposited on them formed in the Jurassic and in the Cretaceous. The fossils discovered by the paleontologists in the area are proof that people inhabited the caves from ancient times.

In the proximity of the Gorges of Dobrudja, less than 3 kilometers away from the village of Targusor, you will cross paths with two symbols of Romanian spirituality: The Monastery of Saint John Cassian and the Saint John Cassian Cave.

To reach the cave you must take the path starting behind the monastery. The road is mesmerizingly beautiful, bordered by shrubs, wild roses and blackthorns and otherworldly landscapes, steep cliffs and prehistoric stones. Then you climb a few steps of a metal stairway at the end of which there is the cave entrance. There is a table, by the entrance, holding icons, a votive candle and a prayer book. A very small room with a very low ceiling, where you can only walk if you bend over, two narrow corridors and another small room, Saint John Cassian’s cell.

The Pious John Cassian lived in this cave in 360, fasting and praying. It is said that he became a monk at the age of 20 and he spent his first 5 years of monkhood in Bethlehem. Then he went to Constantinople and became a disciple of John Chrysostom. There can still be seen, on the polished limestone walls of the cave, traces of the candle alcoves, carved crosses, parts of the letters probably making up the names of those who came there throughout the centuries and wanted to leave a mark.

Devout and meditative believers, masters and disciples, spirituality dwellers as well as curious tourists, willing to discover ancient worlds, all visited this place. Once you reach the Gorges of Dobrudja, don’t spare yourself the effort to climb up to Saint John Cassian's Cave, because the time you will have spent here will give you a spiritual and an energy boost.

Sources:

cartitaplimbareata.ro/index.php/8037/cheile-dobrogei-la-plimbare-printre-corali-vechi-de-milioane-de-ani/

https://www.crestinortodox.ro/sarbatori/sfintii-ioan-casian-gherman/manastirea-sfantul-ioan-casian-67838.html 

Elena Radu

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