Patriarch Daniel of Romania on Monday attended a solemn session held at the Romanian Parliament to mark the Centennial of the Constitution of Unified Romania (1923-2023).
His Beatitude addressed the participants after the President of Romania and recalled the importance of the fundamental law adopted in 1923 for church life.
“The great changes in a country’s history also generate changes to the Fundamental Law, which arise from the new realities and create the premises for important further developments in all spheres of society. Thus, the achievement of Romania’s independence in 1878 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Romania in 1881. On the ecclesiastical level, it made possible the recognition of the autocephaly of the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1885. The completion of Romania in 1918 and its international recognition led to the adoption of a new Constitution in 1923 and the Romanian Orthodox Church’s elevation to Patriarchate (1925) rank, which brought together all Orthodox Romanians,” explained the Patriarch.
Patriarch Daniel listed the significant novelties brought by the fundamental law of 1923 for the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Thus, Romania’s constitution of 1923 mentioned: “the participation of hierarchs, clergy and laymen in the organization and functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church (1/3 clergy and 2/3 lay people), according to the model of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Transylvania, during 1868-1918.”
It also contained a special law regarding the Romanian Orthodox Church, which “would establish the fundamental principles of this unitary organization, as well as how the Church would supervise, lead and administer, through its own organisms and under the control of the State, its religious, cultural, foundational and administrative matters” (art. 22 para. 7).
It also implied a second law on “the relations between various religious denominations and the State” (art. 22 para. 10), the Law of Religious Denominations of 1928.
His Beatitude referred to the freedom of conscience and the freedom and protection of religious denominations vouchsafed by the constitution of 1923.
Concluding his message, the Patriarch of Romania congratulated the organizers and prayed for the progress of all those who work for the profit of the Romanian people:
“At this anniversary time for Romania and the Constitutional Court of Romania, we pray to God that He may bless the works of this solemn meeting and grant good health, peace, and joy to all those present, as well as abundant help in every activity useful for the life and dignity of the Romanian people.”
The Solemn session was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of adopting the 1923 Constitution of Romania and opened the series of events organized by the Constitutional Court of Romania in 2023.
On March 26, 1923, the Chamber of Deputies voted on the Constitution of Greater Romania, promulgated by decree by King Ferdinand I of Romania, on March 28 and published in the Official Gazette on March 29.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu