Bp Benedict commemorates martyred archpriest Aurel Munteanu: We have the chance to learn from him

“We have this chance to look at a model and learn from him and to live our faith and affiliation most naturally and healthily. We owe him this following through the fruits of his labour, through the fruits of his preaching, and we owe it to him to make them visible in our lives. Now, at the commemoration hour, we look with admiration and try to follow in his footsteps,” Assistant Bishop Benedict of Bistriţa said, remembering the martyred Romanian archpriest Aurel Munteanu.

The Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Vad, Feleac and Cluj officiated a memorial service on Friday, September 10, 2021, at the Orthodox Cathedral in Huedin, to mark the 81st anniversary of the murder of Father Aurel Munteanu.

After the commemorative Divine Liturgy, a brochure entitled “Martyr Aurel” was launched, written by Dr Eugen Nicoară and recently republished by Renașterea Publishing House.

Historian Mircea Gheorghe Abrudan, a scientific researcher at “George Baritiu” Institute of History of the Romanian Academy in Cluj, presented the brochure.

The current dean of Huedin, priest Dan Ionuț Lupuțan, spoke of the importance of remembering his predecessor, who died a martyr’s death.

A memorial service was held at Fr. Aurel’s tomb, which is located in front of the church. All those who suffered and were killed following the Vienna Dictate were also remembered.

The commemoration ceremony began with the sound of tulnic, a type of alphorn used by mountain dwellers and by shepherds in the area.

As part of the commemoration, the tombstone of the martyred archpriest Aurel was illuminated in red, “as a tribute to the one who sacrificed himself on the altar of homeland and faith, but also as a sign of awareness of the violence Romanians endured during the Horthyst occupation,” dean Dan Lupuțan noted.

Martyr Aurel Munteanu

Archpriest Aurel Munteanu portrait. Photo: Basilica.ro / Aurelian Iftimiu

He was born on May 2, 1882, in Merghindeal, Sibiu. Bishop Nicolae Ivan appointed him dean of Huedin in 1923.

He has distinguished himself on a pastoral, municipal, cultural and political level, being a defender of the Orthodox faith and an important representative of Romanians in Huedin area.

On September 10, 1940, he was killed by a group of Hungarian civilians and soldiers, two days after Horthy troops entered Huedin, in the context of the annexation of Northern Transylvania by Hungary.

According to the report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “in broad daylight, in the middle of the city and front of the shouting crowd, the assassins knocked him to the ground, beat him with fists and clubs, tore his hair and beard with flesh, and one of them stuck a pole in his mouth until it came out through the nape of his neck.”

The Cathedral of the Moţi in Huedin was built between 1931-1934 in a neo-Byzantine style and was founded by the martyred archpriest Aurel Munteanu.

It was consecrated on October 14, 1934, on the day of the commemoration of Saint Parascheva of Iași, by Bishop Nicolae Ivan of Cluj and military Bishop Ioan Stroia.

Photography courtesy of Radio Renaşterea

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