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The Orthodox Church in Romania

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Essay title: The Orthodox Church in Romania

Romanian Orthodox Elders and Spiritual Fathers

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The Orthodox Church in Romania

The Romanian people - a Latin people as its language in all its structural elements also makes evidence - is the only one in the East of Europe that belongs to the Latin people. Its formation is the result of the symbiosis of the native Thracian-Gaeto-Dacian population with the Latin one and of the gradual assimilation of other nations temporarily settled in the wide hearth in which it came to existence. Here, Christianity penetrated in Apostolic times. In Dobrudja - the ancient Scytia Minor - the Word of the Gospel was preached by Saint Apostol Andrew - in the second half of the first century A.D. After the Roman Empire had conquered Dacia (106 AD), the number of the faithful increased either by settling here the followers of the new faith who had left the Romanized populations in the Lower Danube or by those who came in this place together with the colonists, the army, the miners and the merchants who were sent by the Roman Empire in its new province.

The majority originated in provinces already christianized by the Lord's Apostles.

After the withdrawal of the Roman administration and army in the North of the Danube, in 271 A.D. the Christians, being no longer threatened by the pagan authority of Rome that chased and persecuted them for there faith, increased in number and started to organise themselves as a Church.

The great number of Dacian-Roman martyrs in the South of the Danube during Emperor Diocletian's persecutions (284 - 305), who paid with there lives for confessing their faith in Christ, brings evindence of the spreading of Christianity in this area at that time. Moreover it strengthens the convinction that Christianity was much older in this area, as long as, during the Roman period, there had been bishops and priests.

Christianity took swing with our forefathers on both sides of the Danube during Constantinian Peace that followed the edict of religious tolerance - Milan, 313 AD. Hence, in the Lower Danube, there functioned numerous bishoprics, some of them certainly much older. One of these was the see of Tomis founded in the last half of the 3rd century, with a canonical authority

on both sides of the Danube. In the 5th century it became an autocephalous archbishopric and then a metropolitan Church. In the next century it was canonicalyl independent and it had 14 bishopric sees.

In the 16th century, Emperor Justinian (527-565) brought back the Byzantine rule on the left of the Danube and reunited it with that on the right of the Danube, ecclestically too, by placing it under the jurisdiction of the archbishopric Justiniana Prima which he had founded in 535. Supported by such circumstances, the North-Danubian Christiandom made an important progress. Basilicas and many other palaelo-Christian vestiges which have been discovered all over our country up to the present confirms it.

The Romanian Christian terminology, especially that which expesses tha basic notions of faith, constitutes another sign that our ancestors were also preached the Gospel in Latin which they understood as a Romanized population.

In conclusion, when the Romanian people appeared in history as a Latin nation it was already Christian. Thus, the Romanian people is one of the few nations that, without having a fixed date of its Christianization, was born Christian and this is how it has remained up to the present, being the only Orthodox Latin people, and at the same time, the oldest Christian people in this part of Europe. Moreover, as a preacher of the Gospel, it prepared the Bulgarians and the Slaves for Christinization. In its turn, forced by historical circumstances, it had to receive the Slave language in the cult of the Church, and it used it until the 17th century.

In the 14th century, after the formation of the Romanian feudal States in the South and East of the Carphatians - Wallachia and Moldavia - as a proof of there complete political independence, they started organizing the Church. In 1359, a Metropolitan see was founded in Wallachia, at Curtea de Arges, and in 1401, in Moldavia, the Metropolitan see of Suceava was confirmed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In 1370, another metropolitan Church is founded in Wallachia with its centre at Severin, and at the beginning of the 16th century, the bishopric sees in Ramnicu Valcea and Buzau. In the East of the Carpatians there came into being the bishoprics of Roman and Radauti, in the 15th century, in the 16th century the bishopric of

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