On Saturday, February 4, 2023, the Romanian Orthodox Church marks the 98th anniversary of its elevation to the rank of patriarchate.
On February 4, 1925, the Holy Synod gathered in Bucharest and resolved the establishment of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate, following Romania’s Great Union achieved in 1918.
The first person who advocated for the elevation of the Romanian Orthodox Church to the patriarchal rank was Fr. Gheorghe Ciuhandu who supported this idea during the Assembly of the clergy of Transylvania in 1919.
After him, several other important figures of Romanian culture, historians like Nicolae Iorga and Ioan Lupas, together with the Primate Metropolitan Miron Cristea and King Ferdinand continued to present this need as a natural fact.
At the end of 1924, Metropolitan Pimen of Moldavia and Suceava submitted the proposal that the metropolitan see in Bucharest be elevated to the rank of patriarchate, thus conferring the right to the Metropolitan of Wallachia to bear the title of Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
This proposal was also signed by Metropolitan Nectarie of Bukovina, Archbishop Gurie of Chisinau, Bishop Lucian of Roman, Bishop Roman of Oradea, Bishop Nicolae of Cluj, and Bishop Ilarie of Constanta. This topic was included on the agenda of the Holy Synod to be considered during its working session held on February 4, 1925.
During the synodal session chaired by Abp Gurie of Chisinau, Bishop Vartolomeu Stanescu of Ramnic presented the ‘Establishment Act of the Romanian Patriarchate,’ stressing the important role played by the Romanian Orthodoxy over time.
The establishment of the Romanian Patriarchate was also recognized and approved by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. On February 23, 1925, the law in question was promulgated by King Ferdinand.
Being enthroned as Patriarch of Constantinople in July 1925, Ecumenical Patriarch Basil III recognized the decision of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church and issued the Patriarchal and Synodal Tomos no. 1579 on the elevation of the ROC to the rank of patriarchate on July 30, 1925.
A special ceremony was held on September 27, 1925, at Bucharest’s Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Emperors Constantine and Helen during which the Romanian Orthodox Church was officially declared a Patriarchate. The event was attended by a delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Metropolitan Miron Cristea was enthroned as the first Patriarch of Romania on November 1, 1925.
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