The Metropolis of Bessarabia has marked thirty years since its reactivation. The event was celebrated on September 14 with thanksgiving services at the diocesan headquarters and in various places of worship.
The Metropolis of Bessarabia marks three decades of spiritual, cultural, philanthropic, and social activities of the Church in Bessarabia, witnessing and synthesizing, to the whole Orthodox world, the spiritual energy and faith of the Bessarabian people, the representatives of the Metropolis said.
“These have been difficult years, but thanks to the eloquent facts that speak best of its role and activity, the echoes of unanimous voices of appreciation at home and abroad about the blessed Metropolis of Bessarabia are only positive.”
The Eparchial Assembly in Chisinau on September 14, 1992, resolved to reactivate the Metropolis of Bessarabia, which had existed since 1925, being sanctioned by Royal Decree no. 1942 of May 4, 1925. The Metropolis functioned until 1944.
Subsequently, on December 19, 1992, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church took note, with blessing, of the reactivation of the Metropolis of Bessarabia and by a Patriarchal and Synodal Decree recognized this Metropolis as autonomous, observing the old calendar, being an integral part of the body of the Romanian Orthodox Church with its headquarters in Chișinău.
However, the Moldovan state authorities refused to recognize the Metropolis of Bessarabia, which for ten years had been operating “under conditions of methodical and systematic persecution by the government authorities”, Prof. Gheorghe Badea explained according to the official website of the Metropolis.
After several trials in the Republic of Moldova and at the European Court of Human Rights, it was only in July 2002 that the Bessarabian Metropolis was admitted to legality.
Finally, the Metropolis of Bessarabia, which, on February 19, 2002, had asked the Moldovan Government for the eleventh time to be recognized as a distinct religious structure, canonically subordinated to the Romanian Patriarchate, was recognized and admitted to legality on July 30, 2002, as a direct result of the Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of April 24, 2002, on the functioning of democratic institutions in the Republic of Moldova,” Prof. Gheorghe Badea noted.
Despite restrictions and almost non-existent material or financial resources, the Metropolis of Bessarabia has succeeded in fulfilling its mission on many levels over the past thirty years:
- Restoring and building dozens of churches, monasteries, homes, and social institutions.
- Organizing or participating in cultural, educational, and social events and manifestations at national and international levels.
- Publishing numerous scientific and theological works and periodicals.
- Organizing pilgrimages, processions with holy relics, pastoral visits, and exchanges of experience for the clergy and faithful of the Metropolis.
- Implementing national and international youth camp programs, etc.
“We would like to thank all believers, authorities, institutions who trusted us, who were close to us and helped us in various ways, who struggled tirelessly with us for the same ideal, who prayed with and for us, who will serve the Orthodox Church and Christ the Lord until the very end,” the representatives of the Metropolis of Bessarabia said.
The Metropolis of Bessarabia has four historical suffragan dioceses:
- the Archdiocese of Chisinau,
- the Diocese of Balti (former Diocese of Hotin),
- the Diocese of Southern Bessarabia (former Diocese of White Fortress and Ismail),
- the Diocese of Dubasari and all Transnistria (former Romanian Orthodox Mission in Transnistria).
Photography courtesy of the Metropolis of Bessarabia