“It’s our duty to bring them home”: Draft law on repatriation of relics of Transylvanian Confessors

On February 9, 2021, eleven deputies submitted a draft law on the repatriation of the Holy Transylvanian Confessors’ relics.

The Saints died in the Kufstein prison in the Austrian state of Tyrol in the 18th century, when the Austrian authorities imposed the union between the Orthodox believers in Transylvania with the Roman Catholic Church.

Saint Bessarion Sarai and the Holy Martyr Oprea Miclăuș were canonized by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1950. The Holy Hieromartyrs John from Galeș and Moses Măcinic from Sibiel were canonized in 1992.

The only Transylvanian Confessor who did not die in Kufstein’s fortress was Saint Sophronius of Cioara (canonized in 1950). They took refuge in Wallachia after being imprisoned several times in Transylvania. 

The authors of the legislative initiative propose that the Government be authorized to identify and bring Romania the relics of St. Bessarion Sarai, St. Oprea Miclăuș, St John from Galeș, and St Moses Măcinic from Sibiel.

Within 90 days from the date of entry into force of the law, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Public Finance, and the Secretary of State for Religions will issue the order to establish the procedures for identification and repatriation of the saints’ relics.

According to the bill, their holy relics will be placed with the support of the Romanian Patriarchate at the “Holy Trinity” Church in Sibiel.

Icon of the Holy Transylvanian Confessors

“It’s our duty to bring them home

Liberal MP Daniel Andrei Gheorghe signed the explanatory memorandum to the draft law.
He told Basilica.ro that it is an act of respect and national dignity that “the relics of these four brave confessors of our ancestral Orthodox faith return home to the land of Transylvania and there be properly venerated by the faithful and the whole people.”

“It is regrettable that about 240 years after their departure from us into the heavenly Kingdom they will not find their everlasting rest in the land of their elders and ancestors and in the land where, unfortunately, none of them had been left to return, despite all petitions, and have died far away in a foreign land.”

Their gesture of defending our Orthodox Christian faith is one that cannot merely be passed on to others and cannot be left waiting for the times to come who knows when. “We cannot forget them. It’s our duty to bring home these Romanian Orthodox Saints!”, the parliamentarian pointed out.

In his statement for Basilica.ro, Daniel Gheorghe expressed his hope that the law will be promulgated and the saints will return home.

“Today, more than ever, we are called to return to our Orthodox roots. Let us affirm, let us profess, let us say clearly: yes, we are Orthodox, and we are worthy of our ancestors’ inheritance. The relics of these saints cannot forever remain in completely undeserved places for some people who gave their lives for the faith.”

“I am confident that together with my co-initiating colleagues, we will succeed. I want God to help us complete the initiative as soon as possible, to be promulgated, to see it implemented, and for our saints to return to our ancestral land,” said the Daniel Gheorghe.

The bill was also registered in Parliament on October 13, 2020. It was filed, according to the decision of the Permanent Bureau of the Senate of December 30, 2020.

Photo: Kufstein Fortress where the Holy Transylvanian Martyrs died. Credit: Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of Germany

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