- Roman Catholicism in Romania
The Roman-Catholic Church ( _ro. Biserica Romano-Catolică din România) in
Romaniais a Latin ChurchChristian church, part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Popeand Curia in Rome. Its administration is centered in Bucharest, and comprises two archdioceses and four other dioceses. It is the second largest Romanian denomination after the Romanian Orthodox Church, and one of the 16 state-recognized religions. In 1992, it had 1,144,820 members, of which the largest groups were Hungarians (approx. 770,000, including Székelyand Csángó), Romanians(approx. 360,000) and Germans (approx. 70,000).ro icon [http://www.culte.ro/ClientSide/cult.aspx?rel_ID=rel-295 "Biserica Romano-Catolică"] , at the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs, [http://www.culte.ro/ Under-Secretariat for Culture and Religious Affairs] ; retrieved July 25, 2007] Overall data for 2002 indicated that there were 1,028,401 Romanian citizens adhering to the RomanCatholic Church (4.7% of the population). [ro icon [http://www.recensamant.ro/pagini/rezultate.html# "Recensământ 2002. Rezultate: Populaţia după religie la recensământul din 2002"] ; retrieved July 25, 2007]
Most Roman Catholics inhabit the region of
Transylvaniaand Bacău Countyin Moldavia.Earl A. Pope, "Protestantism in Romania", in Sabrina Petra Ramet (ed.), "Protestantism and Politics in Eastern Europe and Russia: The Communist and Postcommunist Eras", Duke University Press, Durham, 1992, p.158-160. ISBN 0822312417] The smaller Roman Catholic communities include Banat Bulgarians, Italians, Poles, Croats and Krashovani, Czechs, Slovaks, and Romani people. [http://www.edrc.ro/docs/docs/pliant_minUE-RO.pdf "Diversitate etnoculturală în Europa"] , at the [http://www.edrc.ro/ Resource Center for Ethno-cultural Diversity] ; retrieved July 25, 2007]
Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholicis a related " sui iuris" Catholic Church which uses the Byzantine Rite. It has separate jurisdiction, four eparchies, and one archeparchy headed by a major archbishop (thus the church has its own synod). The majority of its members are Romanians, with groups of Ukrainians from northern Romania. Members of the Armenian community who adhere to the Armenian Riteare grouped in the Roman Catholic-led Gherla Vicariate.
The main archdiocese is the
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest, a metropolitan bishopric for the entire country, directly overseeing the regions of Muntenia, Northern Dobrujaand Oltenia; it has around 52,000 parishioners, most of them Romanians. [ro icon [http://www.culte.ro/ClientSide/cult.aspx?rel_ID=rel-296 "Arhiepiscopia Bucureşti"] , at the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs, [http://www.culte.ro/ Under-Secretariat for Culture and Religious Affairs] ; retrieved July 25, 2007] The other diocese of its rank, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Alba Iulia(in Alba Iulia), groups the region of Transylvania-proper (without Maramureş and Crişana), and has around 480,000 mostly Hungarian parishioners.ro icon [http://www.culte.ro/ClientSide/cult.aspx?rel_ID=rel-297 "Arhiepiscopia Alba Iulia"] , at the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs, [http://www.culte.ro/ Under-Secretariat for Culture and Religious Affairs] ; retrieved July 25, 2007] Four other dioceses function in Romania and are based, respectively, in Timişoara(the Roman Catholic Diocese of Timişoara, representing the Banat), Oradea(the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oradea, for Crişana), Satu Mare(the Roman Catholic Diocese of Satu Mare, for Maramureş), and Iaşi(the Roman Catholic Diocese of Iaşi, for Moldavia).
The Church presently runs a faculty of
theology(as part of the Babeş-Bolyai Universityin Cluj-Napoca), four theological institutes, six medical schools and sixteen seminaries ("see Religious education in Romania"). Among the journals issued by Catholic institutions are the Romanian-language "Actualitatea Creştină" (Bucharest) and "Lumina Creştinului" (Iaşi), as well as the Hungarian-language "Keresztény Szó" and "Vasárnap" (both in Cluj-Napoca). It leads a network of charitable organizations and other social ventures, administrated by its "Caritas" foundation or the religious orders; it includes kindergartens, orphanages, social canteens, medical facilities.
The oldest traces of Roman Catholic activities on present-day Romanian territory were recorded in
Transylvania, in connection to the extension of Magyar rule and the region's integration into the Kingdom of Hungary("see History of Transylvania"). Inaugurated by the early presence of Benedictines, these were strengthened by the colonization of Transylvanian Saxons, as well as by missionaryactivities among the local Vlach (Romanian) population and forceful conversions. [Ştefănescu, p.79, 128-131] The Diocese of Alba Iulia ("Gyulafehérvár") was probably set up in the 11th century."Transylvania", in the " Catholic Encyclopedia", Encyclopedia Press, New York, 1913] Ştefănescu, p.80] Tradition holds that this was done under supervision from King Stephen I — according to the " Catholic Encyclopedia" of 1913, a more likely patron is Ladislaus I, who ruled almost a century after (the first bishop it lists is Simon, who held the see between 1103 and 1113).
Other dioceses were created in
Cenad("Csanád") and Oradea("Nagyvárad"). They were subordinated to the Archbishop of Kalocsa, part of the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary. The northern area comprised in the "comitatus" of Máramaroswas originally part of the Alba Iulia Diocese, while the southern one, Szeben, was a provostship not comprised in any bishopric (and thus exempt).
During the rule of Béla IV, the Catholic hierarchy was disestablished by the Mongol incursion ("see
Battle of Mohi"), and only recovered after 1300. In 1304, Pope Boniface VIIIsent the first Catholic missionaries from Transylvania into the lands over the Carpathian Mountains(the area known as " Cumania"), where Eastern Orthodox bishops were already present.Ştefănescu, p.112] A " Diocese of Cumania" was created in Milcov, in areas later ruled by Moldaviaand Wallachia. Its assets were granted by the Hungarian rulers, whose claimed suzeraintyover the region,Ştefănescu, p.116] and it extended over parts of Székely Land.
The Diocese of Cumania disappeared for a while, as locals took over its property, but was revived in 1332-1334, when
Pope John XXIIappointed the FranciscanVitus de Monteferro, the chaplainof King Carobert, as the new bishop. Direct control over the congregation was made difficult by the intrusion of the Golden Horde, who had set up its base in the region later known as Budjak(present-day southern Ukraine). Around 1318, the Dobrujan town of Vicina was part of the Catholic vicariate of "Northern Tartary".
During the 14th century, in the years following the establishment of Moldavia and Wallachia as separate states (the
Danubian Principalities), Roman Catholic clerics arriving mainly from Jagiellon Poland and Transylvania set up the first Roman Catholic congregations over the Carpathians.
In both countries, as a result of stately emancipation and lingering conflicts with the Hungarian Kingdom, the relatively strong Catholic presence receded with the establishment of more powerful Orthodox institutions (the Hungro-Wallachian diocese and the Moldavian diocese). [Ştefănescu, p.74-76] Nevertheless, Roman Catholics remained an important presence in both areas. As a result of fighting between Wallachia's Prince Vladislav I Vlaicu and Hungarian King Louis I, concessions were made by both sides, and Wallachia agreed to tolerate a Catholic bishopric (1368). [Ştefănescu, p.93] The following year, Wallachia resumed its anti-Catholic policies.Ştefănescu, p.94] In Moldavia, Prince Laţcu began negotiations with
Pope Urban Vand agreed to convert to Catholicism (1369); following a period of trouble, this political choice was to be overturned by Petru I during the 1380s. New sees were created in that country: in 1371, the one in Siret, and, under the rule of Alexandru cel Bun, the short-lived one of Baia(1405-1413)."Jassy", in the " Catholic Encyclopedia", Encyclopedia Press, New York, 1913] [Ştefănescu, p.16, 76]
Over the following centuries, the citadel of
Cotnariwas home to a notable Catholic community, initially comprising local Hungarians and Germans. In Wallachia, a short-lived Catholic diocese was created during the reign of Radu I, around the main town of Curtea de Argeş(1381). [Ştefănescu, p.76] The Moldavian diocese of Siret survived through the early stage of war with the Ottoman Empire, but was ultimately disestablished during the early 1400s, when it moved to Bacău. In 1497, that location was abandoned by the hierarchy, and was no longer active during the following century. Until the mid-19th century, like all other religious minorities, Roman Catholics did not enjoy full political and civil rights.Vasile Maciu, "Costche Negri, un ctitor al României moderne", in "Magazin Istoric", May 1975, p.68]
The impact of Reformation
Following the 1526 Battle of Mohács, during which the Ottomans conquered much of Hungary, leaving Transylvania under the rule of local Princes ("see
Ottoman Hungary"), Roman Catholicism entered a period of regression, and was later confronted with the success of Reformation. The first community to embrace a Protestant creed were the Transylvanian Saxons, most of whom adhered to the Lutheran Augsburg Confessionas early as 1547, followed soon after by large groups of the Hungarian population, who converted to Calvinism. The provostship of Szeben ceased to exist entirely. Catholicism attempted to reestablish itself as George Martinuzzi, a Catholic cleric, took over rule of Transylvania, but again declined after Martinuzzi was assassinated in 1551.
Religious disputes and battles prolonged themselves over the following centuries, as a large number of Roman Catholic communities founded specifically Protestant local churches — the Reformed Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the
Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession—, while others adhered to the Unitarian Church of Transylvania.Ronnie Po-chia Hsia, "The World of Catholic Renewal, 1540-1770", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005, p.95. ISBN 0521841542] The Diocese of Alba Iulia was disestablished in 1556.
An unprecedented stalemate was reached in 1568, under
John II Sigismund Zápolya, when the " Edict of Torda" sanctioned freedom of religionand awarded legal status to the Roman Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran and Unitarian churches alike (while viewing the majority Orthodox as "tolerated"). The Alba Iulia see was revived soon after the Catholic Stefan Batorytook the Transylvanian throne in succession to Zápolya (who had since become King of Hungary).
During that age, Roman Catholics were recognized an autonomous structure, which allowed clerics and
laityto organize teaching and administrate community schools. A particular compromise was the Saxon citadel of Biertan("Birthälm"), where the fortified church was taken over by the majority Lutheran community, and Catholic worship was still allowed to take place in the "Catholic Tower", located just south of the religious building. [ Myra Shackley, "Visitor Management: Case Studies from World Heritage Sites", Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2000, p.37. ISBN 0-7506-3279-8]
Counter-Reformationitself had an impact, with members of the Jesuit religious orderbeing called into the region as early as 1579 (under the rule of Stefan Batory).ro icon [http://www.iezuiti.ro/istorie/index.html "Repere istorice"] , at the [http://www.iezuiti.ro/ Society of Jesus in Romania] ; retrieved July 25, 2007] In 1581, they founded an educational university in Cluj ("Kolozsvár"), nucleus of the present-day Babeş-Bolyai University. Originally protected by the powerful Báthorys, they continued to have a precarious status in Transylvania. Expelled in 1599-1595 (when Calvinism became official), and again in 1610-1615 (following the pressures of Gabriel Báthori), they continued their activities in the Moldavian region around Cotnari.
17th century setbacks and recovery
Coinciding with the Habsburg offensives, religious conflicts were resumed and, in 1601 Bishop
Demeter Napragywas forced out of Alba Iulia, with the see being confiscated by Protestants (although bishops continued to be appointed, they resided abroad). By 1690, Roman Catholics were a minority in Transylvania.
In parallel, Hungary-proper was integrated into Habsburg domains (1622), which created a new base for Counter-Reformation, as well as a local seat for the "Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide". In Moldavia, Catholicism was reasserted among the
Csángós before around 1590, when Franciscanmonks took charge of the diocese reestablished in Bacău(1611) and first led by Bernardino Quirini.ro icon Jean Nouzille, [http://www.itcnet.ro/history/archive/mi2003/current2/mi46.htm "Ceangăii din Moldova"] , in "Magazin Istoric", February 2003; retrieved July 29, 2007] After 1644, more Jesuits from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealthsettled in that country, founding a collegein Cotnari and establishing a branch in Iaşi.
Around that time, the ethnic Romanian Transylvanian
intellectual Gheorghe Buituljoined the Jesuit order, the first member of his community to study in Rome, while the Transylvanian-born István Pongráczwas one of the Jesuits executed by Calvinists in Royal Hungary(1619). The order was expelled a third time from Transylvania (1652), on orders from George II Rákóczi, and was twice driven out of Moldavia by the Great Turkish War(1672, 1683).
During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the Roman Catholic Church sought to obtain the adherence of non-Catholic Christians to the
Eastern Catholic Churches. They were assisted in this effort by the Habsburg offensive into Eastern Europe, which brought about Emperor Leopold I's conquest of Transylvania in 1699. An additional factor for the new Catholic successes was, arguably, the continuous fighting between the various Protestant denominations of Transylvania.
In 1657, Armenians in Transylvania who belonged to the
Armenian Apostolic Churchand were led by Bishop Oxendius Vărzărescu, placed themselves under indirect Roman Catholic jurisdiction, as part of the Armenian Catholic Church.ro icon [http://www.romanialibera.ro/a89181/gherla-capitala-uitata-a-unei-minoritati.html "Gherla, capitala uitată a unei minorităţi"] , in " România Liberă", March 7, 2007; retrieved July 25, 2007] Many of them settled in and around Gherla("Armenopolis" or "Szamosújvár").
Under the rule of Emperor Charles VI, the Bishops of Alba Iulia were able to return to their restored domains, as the see was removed from Protestant rule (1713). The diocese was completely restored in 1771, under Empress Maria Theresia. The defunct provostship of
Szebenwas not revived, and its assets went instead to the main diocese. It was also under Maria Theresia that Catholic teaching and school administration came under the supervision of the " Commissio catholica" (this remained the rule under the Austrian Empireand the early years of Austria-Hungary).
In 1700, with Jesuit assistance, the local Greek-Catholic Church, grouping formerly Orthodox Romanians, was set up. Its leadership was supervised by Jesuit theologians, whose office ensured doctrinal conformity. The Jesuits were also allowed back into Moldavia by 1699, under the rule of Prince
Antioh Cantemir. In 1773, the order was suppressed throughout Europe, before being again created by Pope Pius VIIin 1814 ("see Suppression of the Society of Jesus"). Pope Pius IXreorganized the local Greek-Catholic Church in 1853, and placed it under "Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide" jurisdiction (between 1912 and 1919, the Greek-Catholic parishes were administered from Hajdúdorog).Preda & Bucur, p.57]
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Moldavia and Wallachia were awarded their own
apostolic vicariates, based respectively in Iaşiand Bucharest.Preda & Bucur, p.56] The old Moldavian see of Bacău was itself abolished as a result. The Wallachian one was subordinated to the Bishop of Nikopol (later, of Rousse) for the following century."Nicopolis", in the " Catholic Encyclopedia", Encyclopedia Press, New York, 1913] In 1792-1793, Bishop Paulus Davanlialeft Rousse to live with the Franciscans in Bucharest (who had set up an important center at the "Bărăţia")."Bukarest", in the " Catholic Encyclopedia", Encyclopedia Press, New York, 1913]
In addition to the local presence, the
Danubian Principalitiesbecame home to communities of Catholic diasporas: in Bucharest, Ragusan traders were first mentioned Bucharest during the 1500s, followed, around 1630, by Italian stonemasons; [Giurescu, p.62, 269, 273] later, the Wallachian capital was settled by groups of Hungarians, Poles (a presence notable after the 1863 January Uprisingforced many to take refuge in Romania), and French people ("see History of Bucharest"). [Giurescu, p.272-274]
19th century and early 20th centuries
In 1812, the Franciscan Bulgarian Roman Catholic Bishop of
Chiprovtsidecided, as a result of an epidemic in the city, to move his seat to the village of Cioplea (presently part of Bucharest). The locality was a new center for the Bulgarian community in Wallachia, but opposition from the local Orthodox hierarchy allowed the move to be completed only after 1847. Following the end of the Crimean War, the Danubian Principalitiescame under the supervision of several European powers, ending Russian tutelage and its " Regulamentul Organic" administration. The two countries were instead awarded ad-hoc Divans. On November 11, 1857, on Costache Negri's proposal, Moldavia's Divan regulated an end to religious discriminationagainst non-Orthodox Christians, a measure which mostly benefited the resident Roman Catholics and Gregorian Armenians.
Following the Moldo-Wallachian union of 1859, and the 1881 creation of the
Kingdom of Romania, the seat in Bucharest became an archdiocese ( April 7, 1883) and the one in Iaşi a diocese, replacing the Franciscan-led diocese of Bacău ( June 27, 1884). This came as a consequence of repeated protests from locals, who called for Romanian clerics not to be under the strict control of foreign bishops. Upgrading the local ecclesiastical hierarchy, the move also led to the disestablishment of the Cioplea bishopric. The first Archbishop of Bucharest was Ignazio Paoli.
The Neogothic Saint Joseph Cathedral in Bucharest was also completed in 1884, and two seminaries were set up (the main seminary was in Bucharest, and the Iaşi-based one was a Jesuit institution created in 1886, notably led by the Polish priest
Feliks Wierciński). The Jesuit Mission in Romania was created in 1918, being subordinated to the Order's Province of Belgium, and then to the Southern Province of Poland; it became a Vice-Province in 1927. Romania accommodated various Catholic organizations, including the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools(who operated three Bucharest schools by 1913), the Sisters of Mercy, the Passionists, and the Congregation of Notre-Dame de Sion. Despite this increase in importance, Romania and the Holy See did not formally establish diplomatic relations for several decades. The authorities also refused to allow the Church to create its own college.
World War I and Greater Romania
During the final years of
World War Iand the stages leading up to Transylvania's union with Romania, Catholicism in Romania met with several diplomatic problems. Romania was defeated by the Central Powersand signed the Treaty of Bucharest, but its diplomats remained active in Allied countries, setting up the National Romanian Council in Paris. The latter, which also represented Romanian groups in the Austro-Hungarian-ruled Transylvania and Bukovina, appointed " Monsignor" Vladimir Ghikaas its representative in Vatican City. [Preda & Bucur, p.56-57]
When the Paris Peace Conference confirmed the creation of
Greater Romania, Catholics of both churches represented 13 to 14% of its population. During the Conference, the Ion I. C. Brătianucabinet and representatives of Pope Benedict XVestablished preliminary contacts, a gesture coinciding with the encyclical" Pacem, Dei Munus Pulcherrimum" (which, in turn, redefined relations between the Holy See and individual states). Negotiations were continued by the Alexandru Vaida-Voevodcabinet, who appointed the Greek-Catholic priest Vasile Lucaciuas its representative, and by that of Alexandru Averescu. Through a decision taken by Foreign Minister Duiliu Zamfirescu, the outgoing Ghika was replaced with Dimitrie Pennescu, who was Romania's first Ambassador to the Vatican. The Apostolic Nunciature in Romania was set up as a result of this. The first person to hold this office was Archbishop Francesco Marmaggi, who took charge in October 1920.
Subsequently, the Roman Catholic presence registered significant successes: new religious orders, such as the
Assumptionistsand the Sisters of St. Mary, began their activities on Romanian soil, and the lay "Acţiunea Catolică", a Romanian version of the Catholic Action, was set up in 1927. By the end of World War II, there were 25 religious orders present in the country in 203 monasteries, maintaining 421 religious schools and coordinating various charity ventures. Over the early 1920s, the Holy See and Romania engaged in several diplomatic disputes: in one case, the Catholic Church declared itself dissatisfied by the effects of a land reformcarried out in 1920-1921 (as a result of talks, it was occasionally allowed to keep larger estates than the law permitted); [Preda & Bucur, p.58] in parallel, Romanian authorities were dissatisfied with the activities of certain Roman Catholic prelates in Transylvania and Hungary, whom they suspected of actively supporting Hungarian irredentism(in one of his notes to the Vatican, Pennescu condemned the politically-motivated letters addressed by Gyula Glattfelder, the Bishop of Timişoara, to his Hungarian-majority congregation). [Preda & Bucur, p.58-59]
Concordatwas negotiated in 1927, being ratified by the Romanian side in 1929 Adrian Cioroianu, "Pe umerii lui Marx. O introducere în istoria comunismului românesc", Editura Curtea Veche, Bucharest, 2005, p.273-274. ISBN 973-669-175-6] [Preda & Bucur, p.59] and through the Papal bull "Solemni conventione" on June 5, 1930. ["New Catholic Encyclopedia", vol 12, p. 332] On the basis of it, a 1932 agreement assigned to the Roman Catholic Church all the Transylvanian assets previously administered by the "Roman-Catholic Status". On August 15, 1930, the bishop of Bucharest was appointed metropolitan (the others becoming suffragans).Norman L. Forter, Demeter B. Rostovsky, "The Roumanian Handbook", Ayer Publishing, Manchester, New Hampshire, 1971, p.42. ISBN 0405027478]
A redefinition of ecclesiastical administration took place in formerly Austro-Hungarian provinces, corresponding with the new borders of Greater Romania: Roman Catholics in Bukovina became part of the Iaşi Diocese, and those of
Oradeawere joined with the Satu Mare Diocese. The Armenians maintained their autonomous structure, with the Roman Catholic Church appointing their spiritual leader ("see Armenian-Catholic Vicariate Gherla").
Both Roman Catholicism and the
Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholicentered a period of persecution and regression after 1948, when the Communist regime was established. Early signs of this were present after Soviet authorities, when the Concordat came to be regularly disregarded by the Petru Grozagovernment, partly based on suspicions that the Holy See was attempting to convert the Orthodox population ("see Soviet occupation of Romania").Cristian Vasile, [http://www.geocities.com/serban_marin/vasile2002.html "The Apostolic Nunciature in Romania at the Beginning of the Communist Regime"] , in "Annuario. Istituto Romeno di cultura e ricerca umanistica", 4 (2002); retrieved July 26, 2007] In parallel, after 1945, Vladimir Ghikaand others led a movement calling for a union between the Roman Catholic and Romanian Orthodox Churches, which caused further suspicions from the new authorities. The Romanian Catholic Churches also explicitly refused to let their clergy join the Romanian Communist Party, which singled it out among religious organizations in the country.
In 1946, the Groza cabinet declared Apostolic Nuncio
Andrea Cassuloa " persona non grata", alleging that he had collaborated with Romania's wartime dictator, Ion Antonescu; he was replaced with Gerald Patrick Aloysius O'Hara, who continued to face accusations that he was spying in favor of the Western Allies. In secrecy, O'Hara continued to consecrate bishops and administrators.Dennis J. Dunn, "The Catholic Church and Russia: Popes, Patriarchs, Tsars, and Commissars", Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, p.144. ISBN 0754636100]
The 1927 Concordat was unilaterally denounced on
July 17, 1948(in December of the same year, the Greek-Catholic Church was disestablished, and its patrimony was passed to the Orthodox Church).Imogen Bell, "Central and South-Eastern Europe 2004", Routledge, London, 2003, p.24. ISBN 1857431863] New state regulations were designed to abolish papal authority over Catholics in Romania, and the Roman Catholic Church, although it was one of the sixteen recognized religions, lacked legal standing, as its organizational charter was never approved by the Department of Cults. Until 1978, the celebration of Catholic Mass in Romanian language outside Bucharest and Moldavia was forbidden by the government. ["New Catholic Encyclopedia", vol 12, p. 334]
Many foreign clerics, including the Jesuit superiors, were intimidated and ultimately expelled. The Apostolic Nunciature was also closed down on government orders in 1950, after O'Hara left the country. By that year, Romania, like all other
Eastern Bloccountries, cut off diplomatic contacts with the Holy See. Associated Press, "Evolution in Europe; Links to the Vatican Restored by Romania", in " The New York Times", May 16, 1990] Only two dioceses were allowed (the Bucharest Diocese and the Alba Iulia Diocese), while the banned ones continued to function in semi-clandestinity (their new bishops, appointed by the Holy See, were not formally recognized). The Communists unsuccessfully attempted to convince Catholics to organize themselves into a national church, and to cease their contacts with the Holy See.
Many Roman Catholic clerics, alongside their approx. 600 Greek-Catholics counterparts, were held in communist prisons from as early as 1947 and throughout the 1950s. Five of the six bishops, including both bishops of the recognized dioceses,
Anton Durcoviciand Áron Márton, were placed in custody. ["New Catholic Encyclopedia", vol 12, p. 333] Among Roman Catholic clerics to die in confinement were the bishops Szilárd Bogdánffyand Durcovici, "Monsignor" Ghika, and the Jesuit priest Cornel Chira. In 1949, 15 religious orders were banned in Romania, and the rest (including the Franciscans) significantly reduced their activities. A number of local Jesuits were kept in imprisonment or under house arrestat the Franciscan monastery in Gherla(a situation which lasted for seven years).
During the relative
liberalizationof the 1960s, sporadic talks between the Holy See and the Romanian state were carried out over the status of Greek-Catholic possessions, but without any significant result. Romania became a Jesuit Province by 1974 (numbering, at that time, eight priests and five brothers).
The situation normalized soon after the
Romanian Revolution of 1989. Links with the Holy See were resumed in May 1990 (Romania was the fourth formerly Eastern Bloc country to allow this, after Poland, Hungaryand Czechoslovakia). All six dioceses were recognized by the Romanian state during 1990, and the one in Alba Iulia became an archdiocesein 1991. Religious orders were once again permitted to function, and Jesuit activities were freely resumed following the 1990 visit of Provincial superior Peter Hans Kolvenbach.
Beginning in the 1980s, the Romanian Roman-Catholic Church has taken part in several international gatherings to promote
ecumenism. These include the meetings in Patmos(1980), Munich(1982), Creteand Bari(1984), Viennaand Freising(1990), and at the Balamand Monastery(1993). In May 1999, Romania was the first majority-Orthodox country to be visited by Pope John Paul II, who was personally welcomed by Teoctist Arăpaşu, the Patriarch of All Romania. Problems continued to be faced in the relation with the Orthodox Church, in respect to the status of Greek-Catholic status and property.
Constantin C. Giurescu, "Istoria Bucureştilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre", Editura Pentru Literatură, Bucharest, 1966. OCLC|1279610
*ro icon Dumitru Preda, Marius Bucur, [http://www.itcnet.ro/history/archive/mi2000/current5/mi56.htm "România - Vatican. 80 ani de relaţii diplomatice"] , in "Magazin Istoric", May 2000
*Ştefan Ştefănescu, "Istoria medie a României", Vol. I, Bucharest, 1991
New Catholic Encyclopedia". Vol. 12. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. p329-337. 15 vols. entry: "Romania"
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