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The Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century

Edited By Christine Chaillot

It is common knowledge that the majority of the population of Eastern Europe belong to the Christian Orthodox tradition. But how many people have an adequate knowledge of the past or even of the present of these Orthodox churches? This book aims to present an introduction to this history written for a general audience, both Christian and non-Christian.
After the 1917 revolution in Russia, communism spread to most of the countries of Eastern Europe. By 1953, at the time of Stalin’s death, the division between Eastern and Western Europe seemed absolute. However, the advent of perestroika at the end of the 1980s brought about political changes that have enabled the Orthodox Church to develop once again in Eastern Europe.
The foundation of the European Union in 1993 has had a broader significance for Orthodox communities, who can now participate in the future development of Europe. Some Orthodox Churches already have their representatives at the European Union in Brussels. These include the patriarchates of Constantinople, Russia and Romania, along with the Church of Greece and the Church of Cyprus.
Today, Europe is becoming increasingly religiously diverse, even within Christianity itself. A growing number of Orthodox Christians have come to work and settle in Western Europe. An understanding of the history of the Orthodox communities in Eastern Europe in the twentieth century will contribute, in a spirit of informed dialogue, to the shaping of a new united Europe that is still in the process of expansion.
This book is translated from the French version (published 2009).


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Mircea Păcurariu - 7 The Romanian Orthodox Church in the Twentieth Century 157


Mircea Păcurariu 7 The Romanian Orthodox Church in the Twentieth Century A short history of the Romanian Orthodox Church until 1918 We should start by mentioning the fact that Romanian Christianity is of apostolic origin, in the sense that St Andrew preached in a particular area of present-day Romania, more precisely the territory between the Danube and the Black Sea inhabited by the Thracians, the forefathers of the Romanians. This territory was annexed by the Romans as early as 46 BC and in AD 297 became the Roman province of Scythia Minor, later to be known as Dobrudja. In the fourth century Tomis (present-day Constanţa) was the seat of a bishop, and produced several spiritually and culturally prestigious hierarchs, some of whom even participated in local or ecumenical councils and authored theological works. In the sixth century there were fourteen episcopal sees in Scythia Minor. In the neighbouring Roman provinces there were other sees, each with its own Dacian-Roman hierarchs, priests, believers and churches (the sites of no fewer than thirty-five palaeo-Christian churches have been dis- covered – Tomis, Histria, Tropaeum Traiani, Callatis, etc.), as well as monas- tic establishments (at Basarabi–Murfatlar, near Constanţa, Dumbrăveni and Slava Rusă). A number of well-known martyrs came from the Dacian-Roman priests and believers of this region. At the same time, this province was the land of some well-known writers, the most famous being St John Cassian (360– 435), the author of theological works and the founder of two monasteries...

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