The Romanian Patriarchate on Monday organized several solemn events to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of communism and the remembrance of the heroes who fell during the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.
The Patriarch of Romania, members of the Holy Synod, the President of the Former Political Prisoners Association, state officials, professors and students attended the events.
Those who lost their lives in December 1989 were remembered during a memorial service officiated at the Patriarchal Cathedral by the patriarchal auxiliary bishop Ieronim of Sinaia, who was a cleric at the Cathedral during the 1989 Revolution.
The memorial service was followed by a solemn meeting of the Holy Synod.
Patriarch Daniel: Their sacrifice is the foundation of our freedom
The Holy Synod’s solemn session was opened by Patriarch Daniel who addressed those present stressing that the sacrifice of those who fell in December 1989 is the foundation of our freedom today.
‘The 30th anniversary of the fall of communism is an occasion to thank God for the gift of freedom of the Romanian people,’ His Beatitude said December 16, 2019.
‘Their commemoration or remembrance in a state of prayer and spiritual communion is our moral duty of all Romanians everywhere. It is an act of gratitude and appreciation for their sacrifice, as well as the most real and profound expression of cultivating our bond of fraternal love with them, a love stronger than the death of the body and the opacity of the grave. And if we don’t remember the heroes, we bury them in our forgetfulness. However, their remembrance in the hope of the Resurrection and of eternal life is the acknowledgement of their dignity and the hope of fulfilling justice for them.’
Patriarch Daniel said that these acts reflect ‘a love stronger than the death of the body and the opacity of the grave.
‘These young heroes, who sacrificed themselves for the faith, freedom and dignity of the Romanian people, are remembered in the prayers of our Church, every day, at the Divine Liturgy. They call us today not to separate the gift of freedom from the gift of faith, holiness of life and national dignity.’
Octav Bjoza: Heroes have never been appreciated at their true value
Octav Bjoza, the president of the Former Political Prisoners Association, said that he represents those who went through ‘a sad, shameful stage in the recent history of the Romanian people.’
“I represent the suffering of the Romanian people, of those who fought for the dignity of this people, for the salvation of the ancestral faith, of those who placed God and our ancestral Church above their own being.”
Octav Bjoza recalled that the Romanians suffered and died “thinking of God and our ancestral Church” facing torture, beatings, starvation, forced labour, lack of minimum hygiene and medical care.
‘This is so uplifting (…) In those borderline situations, it was only us and He. That is God and us,’ said the President of the Association of Former Prisoners.
Octav Bjoza said that freedom must be appreciated and cautioned that heroes were not valued at their true value.
“It is difficult for me, but I cannot help but recognize that in this country we live in, heroes have not been highly valued at their true value. And those in my category have considered and consider that a country that does not respect its heroes is heading in the wrong direction,” stressed Octav Bjoza.
The patriarchal auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiești made a presentation of the volume “Testimonies and evocations of concentration camps and prisons. 30 interviews with political prisoners from the communist period.”
After presenting three Trinitas TV documentaries on monastic life after 1959, the Romanian Revolution of December 1989, and the confessors of Orthodox faith in communist prisons.
The program included a concert held by the Tronos Byzantine Choir of the Patriarchal Cathedral.
Teodor Baconschi about the Herald of Orthodoxy
The meeting concluded with a speech by Teodor Baconschi who invited all those present to visit the exhibition entitled ‘The Herald of Orthodoxy, witness of a new beginning in the life of the Church,’ marking the 30th anniversary since the first issue of the publication.Teodor Baconschi. ©Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu
The initiative for the Herald of Orthodoxy belonged to a group of young clergy and theologians including the current Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, His Eminence Archbishop Casian of Lower Danube, and Teodor Baconschi.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu