Among the contenders for the designation of the Greatest Romanian Philanthropist are six saints of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The campaign, initiated by the Metropolis of Transylvania, currently includes 48 names, including a number of ecclesiastical and secular figures. Nominations are being accepted through November 20 and can come from dioceses of the Romanian Orthodox Church or from the private sector.
The campaign is part of the Patriarchate’s commemorative year of Romanian Orthodox philanthropists. The winner will be announced on December 6.
The Saints named from among the ecclesiastical figures are Sts. Neagoe Basarab, Joseph the Merciful, Constantine Brâncoveanu, Andrew Şaguna, Anthimos of Iberia, and Jacob of Putna.
St. Neagoe Basarab was the Prince of Wallachia from 1512 to 1521. He made generous donations to Orthodox monasteries throughout the Balkans and founded a home for the sick at Bistrița Monastery. He was canonized by the Romanian Church in 2008.
St. Joseph the Merciful was the Metropolitan of Moldova. He founded a clergy society that helped widowed priests’ wives and orphaned priests’ children. He supported many young people in their studies, organized collections for the army during the War of Independence, and mobilized monks and nuns for the sanitary service of the Romanian army. He was canonized in 2017.
St. Constantine Brâncoveanu was the ruler of Wallachia from August 1654 to August 1714. He founded the hospital at Brâncoveanu Monastery, and his wife Maria founded the hospital at Hurezi Monastery. St. Constantin and his sons and son-in-law were martyred by the Ottoman Sultan for refusing to renounce Christ. They were canonized in 1992, and beginning this year, their feast day coincides with the National Day of Awareness of Violence Against Christians.
St. Andrew Şaguna was Metropolitan of Transylvania from 1864 to 1873. He helped many students from poor families and established the foundation that bears his name. During his tenure as Metropolitan, about 800 schools were established and 25 textbooks were written. He also established educational courses in all of his parishes. He is remembered for his significant role in the cultural and national edification of the Romanian people. He was canonized in 2011.
St. Anthimos of Iberia was Metropolitan of Wallachia from 1708 to 1716. He made considerable donations for the education of poor children, the burying of the poor, alms for the poor, hosting foreigners, and so on. He also played a significant role in the introduction of the Romanian language as a liturgical language. He was canonized in 1992. He is also highly venerated in the Georgian Orthodox Church.
St. Jacob of Putna was the Metropolitan and most distinguished pastor of the Moldovan Church in the 18th century. He took great care of families, raising and educating children, and helping the poor. He founded several churches and monasteries, printed the first alphabet in Moldova, established the first rural schools in Moldova, and established the St. Spyridon Hospital in Iași. He was canonized in 2016.
Read about all the contenders (in Romanian) and vote at the campaign’s website.
English article by Orthochristian