In a message occasioned by the 162nd anniversary of the Union of the Romanian Principalities, Patriarch Daniel of Romania stressed that “the Romanian Patriarchate blesses and supports the communion of Romanians everywhere.”
The message has three main topics including the declaration of 2021 as a Solemn Year of the pastoral care of Romanians outside Romania, the history or Romanian migration and the current configuration of the Romanian communities in the diaspora.
The Romanian Patriarchate blesses and supports the communion of Romanians everywhere:
1. Expressing its pastoral responsibility for Orthodox Romanians everywhere, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church declared 2021 as a Solemn Year of Romanians’ pastoral care outside Romania.
In the current context of the global migration phenomenon, the Romanian Orthodox Church is currently developing and intensifying its mission and pastoral responsibility towards the Orthodox Romanians outside Romania, whom it considers its faithful sons and daughters and an integral part of the Romanian Orthodox communion everywhere.
In this sense, through the co-responsibility of all the hierarchs of the Holy Synod, and especially of the Romanian Orthodox hierarchs who pastor clergy and believers outside the borders of Romania, the Romanian Orthodox Church carries out a rich pastoral, missionary, social-philanthropic and cultural work in the parishes, monasteries, cultural and social-charitable institutions of the Romanian Orthodox communities located in the vicinity of Romania and the Romanian diaspora.
Knowing the large number of Romanians outside Romania (currently estimated at almost ten million, namely six million Romanians living in historical or traditional communities in Romania’s neighbouring countries and four million Romanians living in church communities in the diaspora), the Romanian Patriarchate supports the efforts of Orthodox Romanians temporarily or permanently settled abroad, to preserve their religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural identity.
2. We can talk about a history of Romanian migration outside the country from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
As a result of the emigration of some Romanian Orthodox from Transylvania, Banat, Crișana and Bukovina, before 1918, and the changes that occurred after the First World War, several Romanian Orthodox communities were established in the United States, in Canada and several countries in Europe.
During the interwar period (1918-1939), and after, due to the establishment of the communist regime (March 6, 1945), many families left Romania, settling in other parts of the world.
However, after the fall of the communist regime in December 1989, but especially after 2007, with Romania’s accession to the European Union, the number of Orthodox Romanians in the diaspora increased more and more.
As a result, the pastoral care and special attention shown by the Romanian Patriarchate to the Romanian Orthodox communities outside the country resulted in the establishment of numerous parishes and new dioceses to meet the multiple spiritual needs of Romanian Orthodox believers in Bessarabia (Republic of Moldova), Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Central and Northern Europe, Western and Southern Europe, the two Americas, Australia and New Zealand, but also by establishing Romanian Orthodox representations and communities in the Holy Land, Mount Athos, the Middle East, Cyprus, Turkey, South Africa, Japan, etc.
In this sense, the Mother Church supports and encourages her spiritual sons and daughters from abroad and understands the difficulties they face in their struggle to ensure a better future. At the same time, however, these Romanian Orthodox believers often live in increasingly secularized and individualistic societies, often viewed with coldness or suspicion, which does not inspire a sense of peace and contentment.
Therefore, their participation in the liturgical life of the parish, as well as in the cultural events and social-philanthropic actions organized by the parishes in the Romanian diaspora, is an extraordinary comfort and joy.
Through the parish activities, the Orthodox faith is professed, the Romanian traditions are transmitted, and the Romanian language is cultivated, all these contributing to the preservation of the ecclesial, cultural and ethnic identity of Romanians outside Romania.
Simultaneously, the harmonious coexistence of Romanian migrants with the citizens of the adopting countries in necessary, for social integration in the host countries, but without the cultural assimilation of the Romanians.
Many of the Romanians who live far from Romania want to stay permanently in touch with their loved ones who remained at home so that the tremendous geographical distances do not produce spiritual distancing or alienation of some from others.
They want to preserve the unity of the family, consisting of a man, a woman and children because the family blessed by God is the most precious intimate space in which conjugal love is expressed, but also parental, filial and fraternal love.
In this sense, the increase of spiritual communion and fraternal cooperation between Romanians working or studying outside Romania and their loved ones in the country is a necessity.
It is also essential to educate the young generation in the spirit of love for God, the Church and the nation and to cultivate fundamental virtues in the souls of children and young people, such as love and compassion, solidarity with people in difficulty, meekness, sincerity, courage and trust.
3. The current configuration of the Romanian communities located outside the borders of Romania, which jurisdictionally belong to the Romanian Patriarchate, is the following:
The Romanian Patriarchate has four archdioceses and nine dioceses under its jurisdiction outside the current borders of Romania. The archdioceses also have the rank of metropolises.
There are today a total of 1,337 parishes and non-parish churches in these dioceses, 64 Romanian Orthodox monastic settlements, served by 1,245 Romanian clerics.
In the last 30 years, the establishment of new Romanian dioceses, parishes and monasteries abroad has boosted pastoral-missionary, social-philanthropic, educational, inter-Christian and interreligious representation and cooperation activities, carried out by hierarchs, clergy, monastics and Romanian Orthodox believers outside Romania.
In the Romanian Orthodox churches abroad, Romanians feel the joy of rediscovering and living the ancestral faith; they participate in the liturgical life, alleviate their longing for loved ones and birthplaces, reconfirm their deep identity and rediscover their origins.
Romanians gather especially around a parish priest, to whom they tell in their mother tongue not only sins at confession but also daily problems and hopes for the future.
These Romanians under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Orthodox Church represent the majority of Orthodox Romanians outside Romania.
In addition to these, there are Orthodox Romanians in other church jurisdictions on the European continent and on the American continent, or in other parts of the world.
With many of these Orthodox Romanians, the Romanian Patriarchate maintains spiritual and cultural ties, as signs of spiritual communion that help Romanians among foreigners not to be alienated from their own Romanian identity.
We pray to God to bless all Romanians everywhere with good health and happiness, giving them all the joy of fraternal communion!
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church