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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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Emil Dragnev - 8 The Orthodox Church in Moldova in the Twentieth Century 177


Emil Dragnev 8 The Orthodox Church in Moldova in the Twentieth Century The Orthodox Church in Bessarabia in the twentieth century After the war of 1806–12 between the Russian and Ottoman Empires, the eastern part of the principality of Moldavia (a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire) situated between the Rivers Prut and Dniestr was annexed to Russia by the Peace of Bucharest (1812). Russia renounced her claim to Wallachia, then to Moldavia, and finally to the Moldavian region between the Rivers Siret and Dniestr (more than two thirds of the territory), con- tenting herself with the part lying between the Rivers Prut and Dniestr (almost half the land). The new province of the Russian Empire took the name Bessarabia from the name of the fairly narrow strip of land on the left bank of the Danube (between the Rivers Prut and Dniestr) together with the town of Chilia, which until the beginning of the fifteenth century had been a possession of the ruling princes of Wallachia of the Basarabe family. This eastern part of the principality of Moldavia was rapidly incor- porated into the Russian system of administration. The last vestiges of autonomy were extinguished in 1873, when the region was transformed into a goubernie, or province, of the Russian Empire. But autonomy had already been suppressed in essence in 1828, when among other administra- tive reforms Russian was imposed as the of ficial language, with Romanian reserved only for exceptional cases. In the ecclesiastical domain it was...

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