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Romanian Orthodox Church Tateo, Giuseppe


The Romanian Orthodox Church (henceforth ROC) is an Eastern Christian denomination. It represents the largest religious group in Romania (86.45% in 2011). Although the first evidence of Christianization of modern-day Romanian territories (Lower Moesia) dates back to the 3rd century, this entry’s time span runs from the achievement of the status of autocephalous Metropolis of Romania in 1885 – following the creation of the Kingdom of Romania in 1881 – up to the present day. The Metropolis of Romania was eventually raised to the rank of Patriarchate (its current jurisdiction) in 1925. The ROC is structured in Romania (thus excluding its dioceses abroad) into twenty-nine dioceses, fourteen of which have been established since 1990 (seven have been just re-opened after the communist leadership had disbanded them and another seven have been newly established). The Patriarch is the head and representative of the Romanian Orthodox Church, but decision making is the prerogative of the Holy Synod, which meets twice per year. The Holy Synod, which is the highest authority of the ROC, is formed by six Metropolitanates, sixteen Archbishoprics and thirteen Bishoprics with jurisdiction in Romania, plus some representatives for Romanian Orthodox communities abroad, including the Republic of Moldova. On a local scale, Bishoprics and Archbishoprics are divided in Protopopiates and, eventually, in parishes, which are the smallest units (Tateo 2020: 62). The theological framework organizing the orthodoxy and the orthopraxis of the ROC is the same of the other eight Eastern Orthodox churches, which are all autocephalous but in full communion with one another. The Romanian Orthodox faithful worship with particular devotion Saint Nicholas, Saint Parascheva, Saint Filofteia, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saints Constantin and Elena, and Saint Dimitrie. The Orthodox Easter is the most important feast day of the year, while weekly services revolve around the Sunday mass. Pilgrimage to monasteries is a crucial form of religious practice which gathers thousands of believers every year: the Saint Parascheva is the largest one and takes place at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Iaşi on October 14th. The most popular Orthodox monasteries in Romania are Putna, Moldoviţa, Suceviţa, Voroneţ, Prislop, Cernica, and Sihastria. Source: Tateo, G. 2020. Under the Sign of the Cross. The People’s Salvation Cathedral and the Church-Building Industry in Postsocialist Romania. London/New York: Berghahn Books.

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