The suffering of the Orthodox Christians in Romania

noiembrie 29, 2008

This is the English version of the text appeared in “The Guardian / Gardianul” about 16 organizations that report serious violations of religious freedom and opinion of Orthodox Christians in Romania. The text was sent to a number of Western and Russian media agencies, also to all episcopacies in communion with the Romanian Orthodox Church. We are requesting all our brothers who are abroad to take this text and to diffuse it in circles of our friends and acquaintances.


Sixteen Romanian organizations have sent a letter to Mr Traian Basescu, the President of Romania[1], the Government and the Parliament. Through the letter they draw attention over “the grave acts of instigation to national and religious hate, as well as the violation of religious and thinking freedom of the orthodox Christians. The aim of this action is the recognition by law of the “anti-Christian genocide during the communist period in Romania and the right of honoring the collective memory of the Orthodox Church”.


According to the press release, the 16 subscriber organizations (The Friends of Mount Athos Association, The Romanian Christian Orthodox League – Campia Turzii, The Romanian Christian Orthodox Students Association – Cluj and Iasi, The Saint Brancoveni Martyrs Foundation, Hieromonk Arsenie Boca Association, Brancoveanu Association, Civic Media Association, Altermedia Association, The Independent Group for Democracy, ROST Asscociation, Cathisma Group, DREPT Association, Vatra Romaneasca Association, LICAR, The “Soul for soul” Association) are asking for the elucidation of the legal grounds on the bases of which, in August 2008 the itinerary exposition “Destinies of the Martyrs” was closed in Iasi. The exposition was organized by The National Council for the Study of the Security Archives[2] and ROST Organization. The object of the exposition constituted of the files of six political prisoners, four of whom being orthodox priests. The subscribers of the letter consider the accusation of “creating a good image for some iron-guardists” brought to the exposition by the director of the Institute of Researching the Holocaust in Romania as “an act of instigation to religious hate and defamation committed through a normative act of the Romanian state”.

The six political prisoners banned by the authorities

The six political prisoners, whose files of investigation made the object of the mentioned exposition are: Father Arsenie Boca, Father Sandu Tudor, both having retracted from the Iron-guardist Movement, also Father Arsenie Papacioc and Father Gheorghe Calciu Dumitreasa, who, after being released from prison, have followed an exclusively missionary-spiritual activity, without being part of any political party or movement, Ioan Ianolide and Valeriu Gafencu, the last one having died in prison for saving the life of the Jewish pastor R. Wurmbrand. The subscribers of the letter are also saying that “the allusion that the personalities whose files have made the object of the exposition could get under the incidence of the Law regarding the prohibition of organizations and symbols with fascist, racist or xenophobe aspect and of promoting the cult of the persons guilty of committing some infringements of the law against peace and mankind is out of place. It is known that most of the members of the Iron-guardist Movement as it results from the investigations, have been inquired by a commission of the Nuremberg Court (tribunal) and that it has been established that the iron-guardists were not guilty of war crimes in the East, so they were absolved of any responsibility regarding the abuses against the population and the Jewish people from across Nistru (river).”

The Christians protest against discrimination

Among other points, the letter mentioned before, specifies: “The Orthodox Christians protest against discrimination of any kind, condemning the fascist, racist and xenophobe ideas and manifestations, inviting the State institutions and authorities to maintain the limits of a real democracy which may assure the right of opinion and belief.” Any aspects of the social life, as any point of view regarding historical phenomena and events may constitute an object of analyze and debate for anyone, as long as through this no one’s life is endangered. From the mentioned press release also ensues that at the moment of the exposition being banned, there was a protest of 54 historians who have addressed to The National Council for the Study of the Security Archives, requiring free access of the specialists to any information contained in the files possessed by this institution, measure which led to no answer.

Dumitreasa Case, a sample of a communist set-up

The document which has been sent to the President, the Government and the Parliament refers to the fact that “most of the exes so called political prisoners, which includes 2.000 orthodox priests, aside from monks, have been wrongfully blamed of espionage and other trespasses which can be placed among other infringements against peace and mankind”. A famous case in this sense is that of Father Gheorghe Calciu Dumitreasa, who has spent 21 years in the communist prison. It is known that father Calciu was a public personality known in the Occident as a fighter for peace and human rights. After his release from prison, he has been expelled as a result of the pressures made by the American President, Ronald Reagan, by Pope John Paul II and other personalities of the political life from the Occident. He was then received at the White House as a martyr of the present times. But in his country, Father Gheorghe Calciu Dumitreasa was considered a delinquent guilty of crimes against peace and mankind.

By Dumitru Manolache ( in Gardianul ) 26.11.2008

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[1] Romania is one of the European Union countries, located in South-East Central Europe.


[2] The National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (Consiliul National pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securitatii – CNSAS) is the official authority in Romania in charge with the administration of the archives of the former communist secret police, the Securitate.

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