Conon Arămescu-Donici

Conon Arămescu-Donici

Conon Arămescu-Donici (February 2, 1837 – August 7, 1922) was Metropolitan-Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church between 1912 and 1918. In conflict with the authorities of modern Romania, he was forced to resign due to his collaboration with German occupation troops during World War I.[1]


Born in Urzici-Arămeşti, Neamţ County (the state of Moldavia), into a family of priests, Arămescu-Donici studied at the Târgu Neamţ and Socola Seminaries, then at the University of Iaşi, graduating in Literature in 1877. He was tonsured a monk at Neamţ Monastery and later became a hierodeacon at Socola Monastery. He was a teacher at National School of Iaşi, and then at Normal School, between 1877 and 1880. Between 1880 and 1885, he studied Theology at Czernowitz Francis-Joseph University, in Austria-Hungary, gaining recognition as Doctor of Divinity.[2]

Arămescu-Donici was elected on February 8, 1902 to be the Bishop of Huşi (enthroned March 3, 1902).[2] On February 14, 1912, he was elected by the Romanian Synod to the office of Metropolitan-Primate, being enthroned five days later, on February 19.[2]

Metropolitan Conon's most problematic stances were expressed during World War I, a period of political division. In 1916, Romania joined the Entente, but rapidly lost the Battle of Bucharest to the Central Powers: their armies occupied the city and forced the government to move the capital to Iaşi. Conon, who stayed behind in occupied Bucharest, was persuaded by the German authorities to sign a letter to the soldiers and the Orthodox faithful in Moldavia, urging them to give up the fight against Germany. The letter, written by author Gala Galaction at the request of collaborationist politician Virgil Arion, was later modified by the German authorities without Galaction's consent, and dropped as airborne leaflet propaganda over the Romanian trenches.[3]

After the war, accused of betrayal, Conon resigned on January 1, 1919, being replaced by Miron Cristea.


  1. ^ Lucian Leuştean, Orthodoxy and the Cold War, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, ISBN 9780230218017, p.39-41
  2. ^ a b c "Arămescu-Donici, Conon", entry in Mircea Păcurariu, Dicționarul Teologilor Români, Editura Univers Enciclopedic, Bucharest, 1996
  3. ^ Nicolae Iorga, Ecaterina Vaum, Corespondență: documente literare, Editura Minerva, Bucharest, 1984, p.21

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