Editor's note: Romania is one of those countries which literally never makes it into the headlines in the US, and even in Europe it gets less attention than its Eastern neighbors, but for world Orthodoxy, it is hugely important. At 20 million, its population is twice the size of Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Belarus, and it is overwhelmingly Orthodox, 85%. It has, by a very wide margin, the 3rd largest Orthodox church in the world, at 16.3 million souls, well ahead of its neighbors and Greece which come in at about 9 million, behind only Ukraine and Russia.
If one includes the independent state of Moldova, which is basically Romanian in culture, the number rises to 20 million. If one includes other parts of greater Romania, chunks of which now belong to its neighbors (Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia , and Poland) the number rises by another 5 million. Add to that a very large Romanian diaspora in Europe and the US, that number grows another 10 million. It is also one of the oldest Orthodox nations, having adopted Christianity in the 3rd century thanks to the Apostle Andrew.
So what happens in Romania is very important to world Orthodoxy.
It is also, historically, a warlike state, on the border of Europe fighting against Islam and other invaders, and its flavor of Orthodoxy is deeply intertwined in this military history, making it, well, militant - and deeply socially conservative, fighting back hard against globalism, unlike, for example, most of limp-wristed Greece.
Our correspondent writes from Bucharest, and promises to keep us posted in the future on interesting and important developments there.
Romania follows the Holy Light
The Orthodox Faith in Romania endured through Communism and came out victorious. If going to church was considered a political act before 1989- while the churches were open and religious services tolerated if not fully endorsed, being seen in church would’ve had repercussions if you were a party member- it is even moreso a political act today.
Us Romanians are a nation born Christian and Orthodox. Holy Apostle Andrew the First Called was sent to the North of the Danube, and by the 3rd century the protoRomanians were majority Christian.
By the time Wulfilas translated the Bible into the Gothic language and came to the North of the Danube to convert the Goths of Athanaric, the local protoRomanian population is attested as being in its majority Christian.
Ancient churches and monasteries gifted with miracle working icons adorn the land, including a monastery built in a cave where Apostle Andrew allegedly slept one night. The monastery shelters an icon of Virgin Mary alleged to be one of the 12 icons painted by Apostle Luke (or a very early copy) brought over by Apostle Andrew himself.
Throughout the centuries, the people of the Black Sea, Carpathians and Danube maintained their Christianity as an intrinsic part of their identity and neither barbarian conquests or the latter Ottoman attacks made any dent in Romanians’ faith and dedication.
Nor would the Communist occupation be more successful. The harsh persecutions and punishment against Orthodox priests and monks in the Communist prisons did nothing to sever our connection with God. Romanians are nothing if not stubborn and steadfast and we proved that in our unshaken faith.
For centuries we defended Christendom from the Muslim assaults. Our armies were first and foremost Christian and even our national hymn “Awaken, Romanian!”- banned under Communism- remembers this “Priests with the cross lead the way, for our army is Christian”.
So, will you ask, where does that leave the Romanians in 2021?
Just where we’ve always been. Orthodox.
Under the relentless attacks of Globalism, us Romanians dug our heels in and took it as a challenge. We really aren’t good at taking orders, which is why we survived.
Much as Romania’s current Government is very very globalist and very very much resented by the people, their attempts to impose globohomo on us have failed miserably. Romania’s most respected institution remains the Orthodox Church under the iron hand of Patriarch Daniel, the very embodiment of Militant Orthodoxy.
Unlike his predecessor, the much more peaceful and diplomatic Patriarch Teoctist who steered Romania through the stormy waters of late Communism and early post Communism, Patriarch Daniel is not just unrepentantly Orthodox, but has steadily advanced the Church’s position as the most respected institution of Romania, and arguably the most powerful one.
The building of the Cathedral of National Salvation in the centre of Bucharest, the largest(by volume) and tallest Orthodox Church in the world sends a very strong message to the world. Romania is and will remain resolutely Christian.
The excellent Steve Turley explains the symbolic significance of this cathedral.
Patriarch Daniel is not a meek monk. On the contrary, he speaks from equal to equal not just with the leaders of other Churches, but also with the country’s elected leadership. Well, maybe not as an equal. The Romanian Orthodox Church has a significantly larger support base than any political party, which is why when the Patriarch calls, the President and Prime Minister answer.
One of such power moves was seen during the Covid 19 lockdown of 2020. When the Patriarch was informed the Government intended to keep the churches closed for Easter, he demanded the secular authorities ensured all of Romanians would have access to the Holy Pasca- and the result was having the Romanian Police work hand in hand with the Church to distribute the sacrament all over the country.
In 2021, things changed. The Romanian Government announced its intention to once again close the churches for Easter but Patriarch Daniel opposed this and supported the vast popular marches and street actions which forced the Romanian government to lift the lockdown so Romanians could celebrate the Resurrection undisturbed.
The Romanian Orthodox Church has warned against the EU’s attempts to impose children’s sexual education in primary schools and force Romania to recognize same sex marriage. Patriarch Daniel is standing steadfast against any globalist attempts to weaken the morality of our people.
And Romanians follow.
While half of Romania’s adult population unfortunately lives abroad, this only means we have seen the West and didn’t like it. At home or in the Diaspora, we remain Orthodox, and our churches are still full on the religious holidays. The Diaspora communities have their own churches, monasteries and bishops, and we continue to grow.
Religious weddings and baptisms are part of our identity and are considered an inherent element of our national pride.
In recent years we have seen more and more attacks on our identity and faith. The reaction was very Romanian.
We took back the wearing of our national costumes as a political act. We counter the disgusting Pride marches with a Normality March, carrying Orthodox icons and singing Christian hymns to counter their vice and degeneracy.
Romanian children are baptised in church, dressed in traditional costumes and taught how to say Our Father Thou Art in Heaven. Romanian children receive religious education in schools if the parents choose so, and more and more of us return to the Faith as the one part of our identity nobody can steal from us.
As the world grows darker around us, Romanians follow the Holy Light.