History of Christianity in Romania - Communist Regime

Communist Regime

See also: Communist Romania

According to the armistice signed between Romania and the Allied Powers in 1944, Romania lost Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union. Consequently, the Orthodox dioceses in these territories were subordinated to the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. In Romania, the Communist Party used the same tactics as in other Eastern European countries. The Communist Party supported a coalition government, but in short time drove out all other parties from power.

The 1948 Law on Religious Denominations formally upheld freedom of religion, but ambiguous stipulations obliged both priests and believers to conform to the constitution, national security, public order, and accepted morality. For example, priests who voiced anti-communist attitudes could be deprived of their state-sponsored salaries. The new law acknowledged fourteen denominations, among them the Old Rite Christian, Baptist, Adventist, and Pentecostal churches, but the Romanian Church united with Rome was abolished.

Although the Orthodox church was completely subordinated to the state through the appointment of patriarchs sympathetic to the Communists, over 1,700 Orthodox priests of the 9,000 Orthodox priests in Romania were arrested between 1945 and 1964. The Orthodox theologian Dumitru Stăniloae whose three-volume Dogmatic Theology presents a synthesis of patristic and contemporary themes was imprisoned between 1958 and 1964. The first Romanian saints were also canonized between 1950 and 1955. Among them, the 17th century Sava Brancovici was canonized for his relations with Russia.

Some other denominations met an even more tragic fate. For instance, four of the five arrested Uniate bishops died in prison. Religious dissident movements became especially active between 1975 and 1983. For instance, the Orthodox priest Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa spent sixteen years in prison and was later condemned to ten more because of his sermons on the relationship of atheism, faith, and Marxism. The crisis that led to the regim's fall in 1989 also started with the staunch resistance of the Reformed pastor László Tőkés, whom the authorities wanted to silence.

Read more about this topic:  History Of Christianity In Romania

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Famous quotes containing the words communist regime, regime and/or communist:

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