He began his elementary education with the priest from the village's church, and continued his studies in a Greek-language school. In order to continue his education he goes first to Căldăruşani monastery and after that to Neamţ monastery, place where Paisius Velichkovsky had laid the bases of a strong hesychast monastic life. It is there that, in 1806, he became a monk and took the name Eufrosin. In 1808 he goes to Bucharest. On March 28, 1809 he is ordained hierodeacon and on January 21, 1813 he is tonsured hieromonk.
In 1813 he becomes a student at the Greek-language Princely Academy from Bucharest, where he studies under Konstantinos Vardalachos, famous professor of the time, until 1816. From 1816 until 1818 Poteca is a teacher of dogmatics at the same Academy, which was now directed by Neophytos Doukas. In 1818, while Benjamin Lesvios was the director of the Greek-speaking Academy, Gheorghe Lazar begins giving lectures in Romanian, at the Saint Sava monastery, thus founding a Romanian-language Academy. Eufrosin Poteca becomes professor of geography at this Academy, between 1818 - 1820.
Due to the need of forming Romanian-speaking professors for the national schools, the Ephory (office) of the Schools decides to send abroad 4 students, in order to study at Western universities. Eufrosin Poteca was one of those. Between 1820 - 1823 he studied at the University of Pisa (Italian, Latin, philosophy, theology, history, politics, litterature, experimental chemistry), and between 1823 - 1825 he studied at the University of Paris.
Returning to Walachia in October 1825, he is appointed Professor of philosophy at the Saint Sava Academy, where he teaches until 1828, when Bucharest will be occupied by the Russian Army. In 1828 - 1829 he goes to Buda, where he prints his translation from Johannes Gottlieb Heineccius' work, Elementa Philosophiae Rationalis et Moralis (1726), a handbook of history of philosophy, logic and ethics. At the University of Pest he assists at the lectures of Janos Imre, an ecclectic philosopher who promoted the "critical-rational synthetism", a philosophy that made metaphysics possible against Kant, arguing that most metaphysical judgements are "analytical a priori", judgements unaffected by the Kantian criticism of metaphysics. This philosophy, taught later at the Mihaileana Academy by Eftimie Murgu, was highly appreciated by Poteca, as it strengthened its native inclination towards metaphysical speculation.
In 1830, Poteca is forced to retire by the General Kiseleff, under the pretext that he was too old. In fact, Poteca demanded in his speeches that slavery be abolished, because it contradicts both Christian religion and natural law. For Poteca the teachings of Jesus Christ were identical to those of the nature, and they could be synthesised in the Golden Rule; or, having slaves is against this moral principle. The Walachian boyars did not stand his oppinions, and were decided even to eliminate Poteca if he continued; the Metropolitan didn't like either Poteca, because he resented fasting, the theology of death, and even celibacy. These were the true reasons for which Poteca was banned to the Gura Motrului monastery, in Oltenia.
Beginning with 1832, Eufrosin Poteca spends his life at this monastery, as its hegumen. While there, he continues his cultural activity, translating and publishing works of Western authors. He had a relationship with the wife of a local priest (Orthodox priests can mary, they are not obligated to be monks), from which resulted a son, Radu Popescu. His son, whose identity was obviosly not made public, was around him as his private secretary. He had a son also, who will become one of the most important Romanian philosophers ever, Constantin Rădulescu-Motru. Eufrosin Poteca died at this monastery, where he is berried, on December 10, 1858.
(Among other things, the book contains a Discourse Delivered at the Opening of the Philosophy Courses in the Saint Sava Academy, from October 1, 1825. The discourse exposes Poteca's general vision of philosophy, its nature, parts and utility, and presents the sketch of a metaphysical doctrine that Poteca will develope later in his courses (see further in this Bibliography) on the Elements of Metaphysics, and which will permeate all his philosophical writings. We give here the translation of a relevant fragment:"Now, which are the first principles of all that there is? Those are three: that is, Body, Soul, and Mind. Body, in philosophy, is not only the body of men and of other living creatures, but everything that can be touched. Soul, in philosophy, is not only the human's soul or that of other living creatures, but all soul that animates every being, towards engendering life, like the air and the light. Likewise Mind, in philosophy, is not only the mind of humans and the understanding of the living creatures, but all the infinit mind and understanding power which fills the sky and the earth and which governs the whole world.Thus, we are surrounded from all sides by bodies, we have life, because by breathing we take life, and we have a mind, because it takes birth from the light and from the power of the infinite understanding, like a small ray [emanating] from the gift of the unfading light - everywhere this trinity experienced and known, from these three, acknowleged or unacknowledged, hypostasis.And who, among men, can measure everything there is on earth? Who counted the multitude of the stars? Who can control the soul that moves and animates the entire world? Who can embrace all the power of the understanding? Thus, Body, Soul, and Mind, taken in general, are avowed infinite. These are the principles of the world. From these three hypostasis is the man made; this is the reason why some ancient philosophers said that man is a microcosm. So, now, if somebody asked what is the intrinsic being of the bodies, I would answer that I don't know, and that I am even more ignorant in what concerns the soul and the mind, which are completely immaterial. But, being asked what is the philosophy and which is its finality, I unswer by saying that philosophy is the science of the principles, in quantity and in quality, as much as the human mind can comprehend; and the finality of the philosophy is the happiness of mankind on earth, for this happiness is born out of love, daughter of justice, daughter of truth, son of philosophy.")
(This text argues against the celibacy of the priests-monks, on the grounds of the canonical unicity of priesthood, which should entail its unity; or, since all priests which are not monks have wives, and the monk-priests do not have wives, it results that either no priest should be married, or that every priest should have the right to get married; but it is better to give to them the right to marry, because that is what corresponds to the human nature. Another measure proposed by Poteca is the foundation of new Orthodox Seminaries, but in which the clergy man should have to study first the philosophy, because it is not possible to be a good theologian without being a good philosopher.)
(This small work contains among other things a passage where Poteca affirms that the Golden Rule is the principle of Right: "§3. This so simple law is the foundation of all Rights, natural, civil, political, communal, of one nation in regard to another, and relating to property.")
(A selection of Poteca's occasional speeches and sermons, where we can notice a strong influence from Massillon.)
(Contains two texts wrote by Poteca on his life and ideas, of great value for the comprehension of his philosophical and political conceptions deeply influenced by the philosophy of the French Enlightenment, especially that of Rousseau. Remarcable for their intellectual honesty, these notes contain the description of a romantic encounter that Poteca had with a woman, while in Buda; the passage was considered scandalous and censured even as late as in 1943, when Poteca's atobiographical notes on the years 1828-1829 were first published by his grandson Constantin Rădulescu-Motru.)
(The text served, together with the translation from Heineccius, as a handbook in the Saint Sava Academy. The text exposes in 40§ a Psychology (§1-10), an Ontology (§11-23), a Cosmology (§24-30), and a Natural Theology (§31-40), following the Wolffian division of the metaphysics, but in a different order. In the Sensualist framework of Soave, Poteca proposes a metaphysics which accepts three irreducible ontological principles, body, soul and spirit, each one depending however on the precedent. Poteca tries to make this doctrine correspond to the Orthodox dogma of the Trinity, although it is not entirely clear how this could be done. In §1-3 Poteca criticises, on the basis of this trinitarian archology, the division of the philosophical sciences in physical and metaphysical. One of his arguments is that this dichotomy can not adequately handle psychology, because we can not say if this is a physical or a metaphysical science. The new classification of sciences proposed by Poteca testifies of Konstantinos Vardalachos' influence. There are three great domains of philosophical sciences: the physiology (which is the science of the bodies), the psychology (which is the science of every type of life and of animated creatures), and the ideology (the philosophy of mind). "Ideology", which originally meant "science of ideas", is a word coined by Condillac's disciple, Destutt de Tracy, whose Ideology was taught in Bucharest by Vardalachos, Poteca's venerated professor.)
(The original contributions of Poteca in the first edition are an Introduction to Philosophy, or Introductory Lecture, a Supplement to the History of Philosophy, and two Speeches delivered in 1827 before the Prince, one at the Princely Court, the other at the Saint Sava Academy. The first text explains what is the philosophy ("the knowledge of the Truth and of the Good, acquired from the Right Reason (orthos logos) and leading to the true happiness of man"), which are its parts, what is philosophy good for etc. and exposes the same trinitarian metaphysical conception as the Elements of Metaphysics. The Supplement to the History of Philosophy continues Heineccius, including brief descriptions and evaluations of the philosophies of Spinoza, Locke, Condillac, Leibniz, Wolf, Berkely, Hume, and Kant. The last philosopher whose name is mentionned among the post-Kantians is Fichte. In the two Speeches Poteca tries to determine the Prince to support the developpement of Romanian schools and the generalised study of philosophy, in order to enlighten the Romanians and to deliver them from "the darkness of the ignorance, barbarism, tyranny and serfdom".)