Metropolitanate of Wallachia and Dobrudgea
Archbishopric of Bucharest
The Cathedral of the Nation’s Salvation or the National Cathedral
Act of consecration
In the Centenary year of 2018, the altar of the Cathedral of the Nation’s Salvation or the National Cathedral with the patronal feasts of the Ascension of the Lord (Heroes’ Day) and Holy Apostle Andrew, the First-Called, Protector of Romania, was consecrated by the will of the Father, the work of the Son and the completion of the Holy Spirit.
The need to build a National Cathedral in Bucharest was felt especially after the Independence War of 1877-1878. And following the proclamation of Romania as a Kingdom, in 1881, King Carol I of Romania submitted to the Legislative Chamber, in 1884, a draft law on the construction of a Christian Orthodox Cathedral in Bucharest.
Although, initially, the Parliament provided 5% of the country’s budget for the construction of this place of worship, this fund was not realised, which led, in 1900, to a public subscription for the collection of funds, interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War (1914-1918).
After the Great Union of 1918, the necessity of raising a cathedral in the Capital City of the country, as gratitude to God for the accomplishment of the completed Romania, was supported both by the Metropolitan primate Miron Cristea and by King Ferdinand (1920).
Thus, after the establishment of the Romanian Patriarchate in 1925, there were numerous discussions on the location of the future cathedral and several architectural projects were proposed. Consequently, on 11 May 1929, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Miron Cristea, performed the blessing service of the plot of land placed at the foot of the Metropolitan Hill, an event attended by members of the Regency, the Government, Church servants, officers and a multitude of believers.
All efforts, however, have not been successful because of the economic crisis, the outbreak of the Second World War and subsequently the establishment of the communist regime.
After 1990, the worth of remembering Patriarch Teoctist Arăpaşu reiterated the project of the Cathedral, who, although in 1999 blessed the place from Unirii Square for the new Cathedral, encountered numerous difficulties and hostilities through repeated changes of the Cathedral’s location in different areas of the Capital City, until its definitive establishment on the Arsenal Hill (2005).
In fulfilling the wish of his forerunners, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, after his enthronement as Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church (30 September 2007), resumed as a priority the project of the Cathedral of the Nation’s Salvation and laid the foundation stone at the location on the Arsenal Hill on 29 November 2007, on the eve of the feast of Holy Apostle Andrew, the First-Called, Protector of Romania.
After many preparatory steps (2008-2010), the Romanian Patriarchate started the construction works at the end of 2010, carefully supervised by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, who had frequent consultations with specialists in the field and with the coordination team appointed by the Romanian Patriarchate, with designers and executors of the works.
In order to consecrate the altar of the National Cathedral, in 2018, the Holy Table, the stained-glass windows of the Holy Altar, the mosaics of the iconostasis, objects of worship, liturgical vestments, etc. were manufactured. In the same year, on 3 September 2018, the Patriarch of Romania consecrated the six bells, manufactured in the Grassmayr workshops in Innsbruck, Austria, the largest bell dedicated to the Heroes of the Nation weighing 25 tons.
These works were carried out through a fruitful cooperation between the Romanian Patriarchate and the Romanian State authorities (the Romanian Government, the Bucharest City Hall, other Mayoralties in the Capital City and the country, and several County Councils), as well as with the help of hierarchs, clergymen, monastics and lay people.
On 25 November 2018, the consecration service was celebrated by His Holiness BARTHOLOMEW, Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, His Beatitude DANIEL, Patriarch of Romania, and His Eminence CHRYSOSTOM, Metropolitan of Patras (Greece), together with a large number of hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church and of other sister Orthodox Churches, priests and deacons, in the presence of representatives of the central and local state authorities, guests and many clergymen and lay people from the country and abroad.
O, Lord, bless the founders, the benefactors, the servants and the worshipers of this Holy Cathedral and all the Romanian people everywhere!
Photo credit: Basilica.ro