Wednesday, November 25, 2020, marks 2 years since the historic moment of the consecration of the National Cathedral.
The consecration of the cathedral in the Centennial Year meant its dedication first to God and the Holy Apostle Andrew, then to the nation under their protection: the heroes who gave their souls for the country, the founders of the Great Union and the saints who emerged from Romanian land.
Of course, the event was a historic one because it marked 100 years of Romania, but the depth of the moment goes beyond the borders of history. An ideal older than the 1918 Great Union, from the time of King Carol I, was fulfilled.
Heroes and Saints
All Romanian heroes entered the cathedral the night before the consecration ceremony. The Patriarch of Romania placed at the foot of the Holy Altar Table, in a gesture of liturgical and patriotic symbol value, the list of over 350,000 names of known Romanian heroes and prayed for their souls.
On Sunday, November 25, 2018, His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel consecrated the altar dedicated to the Ascension of the Lord (Heroes’ Day) and the Holy Apostle Andrew, the First-Called and the Protector of Romania.
During the ceremony, the Romanian saints were invited to the national altar by placing at the foot of the Holy Table fragments of the relics of the Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs and of the Martyrs from Niculițel.
Five days later the first patronal feast of the Cathedral was celebrated. It was celebrated by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem who brought as a gift visible signs of the presence of another Romanian Saint at the cathedral: fragments from the relics of the Saint John Jacob the New Chosebite and an epitrachelion worn by the Saint during his life.
The Triumphant Church was followed by the Militant Church.
A real pilgrimage took place on Arsenal Hill during the Days of Consecration of the National Cathedral. Between November 25 and December 2, 2018, approximately 150,000 people entered the altar and venerated the holy table.
Although harsh words were thrown at this national project, the construction of the cathedral was supported by both the authorities and an impressive number of believers.
In the two years that have elapsed, the works continued at the Cathedral with the arrangement of the exterior spaces and the adjacent basements. Significant progress has also been made in the mosaic installation.
The National Cathedral in brief
- The idea of the National Cathedral dates back to 1884, from the time of King Carol I.
- The final place, established in 2005: on the Arsenal Hill, in the area of five churches demolished or translated by the communists to build the People’s House.
- The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated during an International Meeting of Orthodox Youth, on September 4, 2016.
- Over 110 million euros invested for the partly finished building.
- In the altar of the National Cathedral is the largest representation of the Platytera Mother of God in Romania: 16 meters from the base to the top of the halo.
- The bells of the cathedral have a total weight of 33 tons and are located at a height of 60 meters in the bellower. The highest point of the Cathedral is 120 meters from the ground (central tower, without cross).
Sayings about the Cathedral
“We are obliged to raise in the Capital of all Romanians… the Church of the Salvation of the Nation as a symbol of the spiritual unity of the whole nation.”
– King Ferdinand I (May 10, 1920)
“Saint Andrew the Apostle built the cathedral.”
– Patriarch Daniel (November 25, 2018)
“The Arsenal Hill, that is, the place where weapons were repaired and stored, turned into the Hill of Peace and Sanctification, the Hill of Grace and Blessing not only for Bucharest but for entire Romania.”
– Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (November 25, 2018)
“I come as a pilgrim desirous of seeing the Lord’s Face in the faces of my Brothers. Looking at you, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your welcome.”
– Pope Francis (May 31, 2019)
“The cathedral is the symbol of our historical unity in faith and in the country.”
– Ioan Aurel Pop, President of the Romanian Academy (November 5, 2018)
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Files
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