Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday signed the decree proclaiming 16 August as National Day of Remembrance of the Brancoveanu Martyrs and of Awareness of Violence against Christians.
This new National Day aims to inform the public, including young people, about the role of Christianity in the history of Romania and the ongoing nature and extent of Christian persecution in the world.
Lawmaker Daniel Gheorghe said he drafted the bill to reinforce the role of Christianity in Romania’s history and to highlight the extent of Christian suffering today.
Gheorghe said he hopes the law will encourage Christians to defend their right to practice their faith without fear or harassment.
To commemorate the National Day of Awareness of Violence against Christians, the Romanian government will illuminate in red the Romanian Parliament, the Government of Romania, the central and local public authorities, the Arc de Triumph, and the Mogosoaia Palace.
Events can be funded from the budget of central and local authorities, and interested non-governmental organisations can provide logistical and financial support for events.
16 August was chosen for the annual day of remembrance because it coincides with the feast of the Brancoveanu Martyrs, who were canonised by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1992.
Muslim Ottoman Turks invaded Romania in 1714 and captured Constantine Brancoveanu, the ruler of Wallachia. Together with his four sons, Brancoveanu was taken to Istanbul where he was tortured and eventually executed by decapitation along with sons and his treasurer Ianache Vacarescu.
Christians are by far the most persecuted religious group in the world and globally “are the victims of at least 75 per cent of all religiously-motivated violence and oppression,” according to a 2017 study by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which added that “the extent of this persecution is largely ignored by our media.”
In its World Watch List 2020, Open Doors revealed that Christian persecution around the globe has reached unprecedented levels, with over 260 million Christians facing “high levels of persecution.”
The Pew Research Centre revealed in 2018 that Romania is now the most religious nation in Europe, based on four factors: the importance people ascribe to religion in their lives, regular religious practice, prayer life, and certainty of belief.