August 16 marks Romania’s National Day of Remembrance of the Brancoveanu Martyrs and of Awareness of Violence against Christians.
Romania’s President ratified the law proclaiming August 16 as “National Day of Remembrance of the Brancoveanu Martyrs and of Awareness of Violence against Christians” on July 16, 2020.
The day of August 16 was chosen to coincide with the feast of the Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs, commemorated by the Romanian Orthodox Church on this day. They symbolize the Romanians fight for independence, affirmed through their cultural and religious Christian ethos.
This National Day aims to inform the public, including young people, about the role of Christianity in the history of Romania and the ongoing nature and extent of Christian persecution in the world.
The Romanian Patriarchate welcomed the proclaiming of this national day of remembrance. It advocated for “the memorial recovery of Christian martyrdom and for the protection and promotion of religious freedom as a fundamental right of every human person.”
“The Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs exemplarily illustrated martyrdom as the ultimate proof of love for Christ in the history of Romanian Christianity.”
“That is why the proclamation of a national commemoration day for their martyrdom should be for us an opportunity to become more aware of today’s violence against Christians. This violence takes different forms of persecution today, from the Christphobia of the new ideologies to the filmed executions of those whose only guilt is that of being Christian.”
On this day, buildings in Bucharest and throughout the country are illuminated in red to show Romania’s concern for the violence and persecution against Christians.
Christians are by far the most persecuted religious group in the world and globally “are the victims of at least 75 percent of all religiously-motivated violence and oppression,” according to a 2017 study by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which added that “our media largely ignore the extent of this persecution.”
In its World Watch List 2020, Open Doors revealed that Christian persecution around the globe had reached unprecedented levels, with over 260 million Christians facing “high levels of persecution.”
The Pew Research Center revealed in 2018 that Romania is now the most religious nation in Europe, based on four factors: the importance people ascribe to religion in their lives, regular spiritual practice, prayer life, and certainty of belief.
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