Irina Cornici, a 23-year-old Romanian woman, made the decision to become a nun. She arrived at the Tanacu Monastery, located in the Vaslui region, one of the poorest areas in Romania, embracing the monastic life and devoting herself to serving God. However, she soon became the protagonist of one of the most horrific episodes in history: The Exorcism of Tanacu.
A few days after her arrival, she started experiencing noticeable depression, claiming to hear voices telling her that she was a sinner.
For this reason, she was admitted to the Tanacu Psychiatric Hospital, where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and treated as such by Dr. Gheorghe Silvestrovici. After several days of treatment, she was discharged on April 20, 2005.
Ten days later, she suffered a relapse, and despite the persistence of her symptoms, the parish priest of the monastery, named Daniel Corogeanu, made the decision not to send her back to the hospital, contrary to the hospital’s discharge recommendation. Instead, he ordered an extreme act: an exorcism.
This is a religious practice aimed at combating forces of evil with the goal of expelling demonic creatures from a body that is believed to be possessed by them and under their control.
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The Exorcism of Tanacu.
This ritual was performed by the parish priest Daniel and four nuns, who were convinced that Irina was possessed and that no medical treatment would restore her health.
During this procedure, she was tied with chains to a wooden cross, gagged with a towel, and deprived of food. She was also brutally beaten by the parish priest.
Ultimately, Irina was subjected to inhumane mistreatment and torture for 6 days, which resulted in her death.
What part of the medicine did parish priest Daniel Corogeanu fail to understand?
Schizophrenia, derived from the Greek words “schizo,” meaning split, and “phrenia,” meaning mind, is a severe and disabling illness. People with schizophrenia perceive reality in a “different” way, affecting their cognition (learning capacity), affect, and will. Therefore, it affects the individual’s ability to think, feel, and behave coherently.
It is characterized by a disintegration of thought with disorganization in speech or behavior. Difficulties in concentration and memory may also occur.
It is common for individuals with the illness to experience visual or auditory hallucinations that constantly influence them to take certain actions.
Why does schizophrenia occur?
Its causes are still being researched, and theories include genetic factors, viral infections, alterations in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, as well as the immune system.
Schizophrenia is aggravated by environmental stress and certain psychosocial conditions. The onset of paranoid schizophrenia (the most common type) typically occurs between the ages of 20 and 32. Currently, 1% of the global population suffers from this illness.
In the case of Irina Cornici, she was 23 years old when she received the diagnosis. Her psychosocial background included experiencing her parents’ separation as a child, the early death of her mother, and her father’s suicide shortly after. Due to these circumstances, she was sent to an orphanage at the age of 8.
What are the key symptoms of schizophrenia?
Delusions: The patient strongly believes in things that are not happening.
Hallucinations: The individual perceives nonexistent things such as voices or images.
Thought disorders: Language and its fluency become altered, sometimes becoming incomprehensible.
Isolation: They withdraw into themselves and their inner world.
Emotional deterioration: Emotions may diminish or even become completely absent.
How is it diagnosed?
There are no specific tests for diagnosis. It is diagnosed through questioning, observation of signs and symptoms, as well as gathering information from various sources such as friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Through the use of questionnaires and scales, the intensity of symptoms can be measured and their progression checked, as well as determining the best treatment for the patient’s current situation.
What is the treatment?
Currently, the treatment relies on the use of medications belonging to the group of antipsychotics, which aim to correct neurotransmitter imbalances. Here we have:
Typical Antipsychotics: (Chlorpromazine, Haloperidol, and Thioridazine).
Atypical Antipsychotics: (Clozapine, Risperidone, Olanzapine, Ziprasidone, or Quetiapine). They produce fewer side effects.
The trial of priest Daniel Corogeanu lasted 6 months, eventually resulting in a life sentence. This event shook the foundations of the Orthodox Church and left deep marks on Romanian society. Yet another horror story based on superstition, where science was rejected, resulting in the loss of a young life.
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