History of Christianity in Romania

The history of Christianity in Romania began within the Roman province of Lower Moesia, where many Christians were martyred at the end of the 3rd century. Evidence of Christian communities has been found in the territory of modern Romania at over a hundred archaeological sites from the 3rd and 4th centuries. However, sources from the 7th and 10th centuries are so scarce that Christianity seems to have disappeared during this period.

The vast majority of Romanians are adherent to the Orthodox Church, while most other populations that speak Romance languages follow the Catholic Church. The basic Christian terminology in Romanian is of Latin origin, though the Romanians, referred to as Vlachs in medieval sources, borrowed numerous South Slavic terms due to the adoption of the liturgy officiated in Old Church Slavonic. The earliest Romanian translations of religious texts appeared in the 15th century, and the first complete translation of the Bible was published in 1688.

The oldest proof that an Orthodox church hierarchy existed among the Romanians north of the river Danube is a papal bull of 1234. In the territories east and south of the Carpathian Mountains, two metropolitan sees subordinate to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople were set up after the foundation of two principalities, Wallachia and Moldavia in the 14th century. The growth of monasticism in Moldavia provided a historical link between the 14th-century Hesychast revival and the modern development of the monastic tradition in Eastern Europe. Orthodoxy was for centuries only tolerated in the regions west of the Carpathians where Roman Catholic dioceses were established within the Kingdom of Hungary in the 11th century. In these territories, transformed into the Principality of Transylvania in the 16th century, four "received religions" – Calvinism, Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Unitarianism – were granted a privileged status. After the principality was annexed by the Habsburg Empire, a part of the local Orthodox clergy declared the union with Rome in 1698.

The autocephaly of the Romanian Orthodox Church was canonically recognized in 1885, years after the union of Wallachia and Moldavia into Romania. The Orthodox Church and the Romanian Church United with Rome were declared national churches in 1923. The Communist authorities abolished the latter, and the former was subordinated to the government in 1948. The Uniate Church was reestablished when the Communist regime collapsed in 1989. Now the Constitution of Romania emphasizes churches' autonomy from the state.

Read more about History Of Christianity In Romania:  Pre-Christian Religions, Origin of The Romanians' Christianity, Roman Times, Greater Romania, Communist Regime, Romania Since 1989

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