Romania marked on Sunday the first edition of its National Day of Awareness of Violence against Christians. The national commemoration day is intended to honour Romanian martyrs and raise awareness about global anti-Christian persecution.
Several buildings and monuments were illuminated red to mark the day of awareness, including Bucharest landmarks such as the Cotroceni Palace, the Romanian Parliament, the Government building, and the Arc de Triomphe, a memorial monument for Romania’s heroes.
The law establishing 16 August as “The National Day of Remembrance of the Brâncoveanu Martyrs and of Awareness of Violence against Christians” was ratified by Romania’s President on 16 July 2020. The date was chosen to coincide with the date when the Romanian Orthodox Church commemorates the Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs, canonised in 1992.
The aim of the national day is to inform the public, including young people, about the role of Christianity in the history of Romania and of the nature and extent of anti-Christian persecution, which continues to these days.
“The Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs exemplarily illustrated martyrdom as the ultimate proof of love for Christ in the history of the Romanian Christianity”, is stated in a press release of the Romanian Patriarchate, which has welcomed the establishment of the remembrance day.
“That is why the proclamation of a national commemoration day for their martyrdom should be for us an opportunity to become more aware of today’s violence against Christians. This violence takes different forms of persecution today, from the Christphobia of the new ideologies to the filmed executions of those whose only guilt is that of being Christian”.
In this context, the Romanian Patriarchate advocates for “the memorial recovery of Christian martyrdom and for the protection and promotion of religious freedom as a fundamental right of every human person”.
Open Doors Christian ministry warns that the persecution of Christians continues to this day. 1 in 8 Christians lives in countries with a high level of persecution: between 1st November 2018 and 31st October 2019, over 260 million Christians faced persecution. The Christians’ situation has gone worse during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in Africa, where they are deprived of humanitarian aid based on their faith, informs Open Doors.