Sihastria Monastery was founded by Sihastru Atanasie with his seven more apprentices in 1655. Burnt by the Turks in 1821, the church was rebuilt in 1824 from river stone and brick, high walls with four sides were raised, having two towers, while in the interior cells and a chapel were made. The hard years of communism threatened the existence of the monastery, but during this period of the history there would come numerous Christian people, fascinated by the priests Cleopa and Paisie Olaru's wisdom. Their love for God and desire to guide the people to the right way of the Christianity made the two outstanding priests soul saviors. Cleopa was born in northern Romania, the child of illiterate peasants, and he entered Sihastria Monastery in 1934 at the age of 25. He cared for the monastery's sheep for 12 years. The story is told that only the abbot of the monastery knew about Cleopa's remarkable memory, a gift which allowed him to recite long sections of scripture and the teachings of the Church fathers by heart. The abbot gave him books from the monastery library, and Cleopa would read them while he was in the fields with the sheep.