His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel Thursday officiated a Te Deum service at the patriarchal cathedral in Bucharest marking the 161st founding anniversary of the Union of the Romanian Principalities.
On 24 January Romanians celebrate the 1859 Union of the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which represented the first step towards the creation of the modern Romanian state.
Attending the Doxology in Bucharest were the president of the Romanian Academy Ioan-Aurel Pop, the State Secretary for Religious Affairs Victor Opaschi, state officials, academicians, clergy, professors and students.
Following the thanksgiving service, the Patriarch of Romania laid flowers at the feet of Alexandru Ioan Cuza Statue on the Hill of the Patriarchate.
The union of the two provinces, which shared a common culture, language and history, had been a longstanding desire of their elites.
However, the aftermath of the Crimean War brought a change of in the balance of powers in the region, as Russia got defeated by the Great Powers, namely the United Kingdom, France, the kingdom of Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire.
After the end of the Crimean War, in 1856 the Paris Treaty rules that Moldavia and Wallachia would remain under nominal Ottoman rule, but would be able to adopt independent constitutions and appoint national assemblies under the monitoring of the victorious powers. Moreover, the treaty allowed for a referendum to be held to consult the people of the two provinces on the union.
The Union of the Romanian Principalities, also considered the Foundational Union, due to the fact that it preceded and paved the way for the Great Union of 1918, was made possible after Alexandru Ioan Cuza got elected ruler prince of both provinces, which led to their union. In Moldova, Cuza was elected in unanimity on 5 January 1859, and in Walachia on January 24.
At first, the development, a veritable fait accompli, was regarded by the Ottoman Empire and Austria as a breach of the Paris Convention. However, the text of the 1858 Convention did not state that the rulers of Moldavia and Wallachia cannot be one and the same person.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu
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