Andrei Șaguna and ”The Organic Statute” – VII.4-6 The enforcement of “The Organic Statute” and its role in the ecclesiastical reorganization in the Romanian State after 1918, until 1948


VII.4 The enforcement of “The Organic Statute”; 1868-1918 – the jubilee balance

The involvement of the laymen in exercising the Church power through “The Organic Statute” had unwanted consequences too. They were previsible for Andrei Şaguna, especially in the context of the discussions before the statute was adopted.[1] Although he was constantly against the transformation of the ecclesiastical organization into a lay political platform, as well as against any deviations from the Orthodox canonical spirit, the bishop finally made concessions to the congress of 1868 in order to see his Eparchy solidly organized and protected in front of the political fluctuations. “Thus we remember the case of the first parish committee constituted here at Răşinari, when the people interpreting ad litteram the paragraphs of the law the parish synod did not elect in the committee any of the men who were involved in the leading of their parish in the past; those treated unfairly complained to Şaguna about the shame that was brought upon them by the new ecclesiastical organization. Being cautious and aware of the excess of energy that was accumulated throughout the centuries in the deep wells of the people’s souls during the spiritual slavery which they lived in, Şaguna, a careful man, comforted them with kindness and fatherly wisdom, telling them to stay safe before the torrent, or else they will drown: ‘I had to compose this law and I knew that it would have harmful consequences, especially in the beginning; our nation is not ready for this reform, but I had to use this occasion; it was now or never.’”[2]

In spite of all the problems related to “The Organic Statute”, its value and efficiency is persuasively expressed in the next opinion, after fifty years of application: “If this victimized, humble and poor Church, this ‘Cinderella’ of Transylvania, has risen since 1868 to the stage of today, it is because of the effective and uninterested support given by the laymen who, according to Şaguna, no longer felt out of place after the elaboration of ‘The Organic Statute’, being believers with equal rights.”[3]

An evaluation of the implementation of “The Organic Statute” made by Gheorghe Ciuhandu in 1920, in the middle of the discussions on the harmonization of the ecclesiastical organization of the Romanian unified state[4], showed the following gaps: the excessive bureaucratization of the ecclesial life in Transylvania and the administrative formalism. The evaluator noticed the fact that the formal perspective, missing the spiritual sense of the Church “has mastered our ecclesial life almost all the time [after 1870], seeming to be the only one that presides over the ecclesiastical administrative authority, and it has almost removed all the concepts of spiritual nature on the ecclesiastical life and administration.”[5] However, he emphasized that not “The Organic Statute” itself was the cause of those, but the people who had an important contribution to its application. Although some statutory dispositions “are not among the bests”[6], having to be corrected, these gaps were not essential, but their application “which lacked the true ecclesiastical inspiration”[7] or their narrow interpretation. The constitution of the Transylvanian Orthodox Church was meant to satisfy the interests of a good ecclesiastical administration by its organization, but it “did not put an end to the protection of the Church’s spiritual interests. ‘The Organic Statute’, in §85, leaves untouched the eparchial bishops’ sphere of sovereignty over the spiritual affairs; in the same way it is left place the spiritual agenda of the bishops’ synod in the Church.”[8] Even the mixed eparchial synod was invited, in point 12 of §96, to have an active contribution in promoting the spiritual life of the Church too. That way, “The Organic Statute” “does not have an aggressive tendency toward the purely spiritual matters of the Church; on the contrary, it is involved in creating all those establishments which could underline the Church’s spirituality, and it should promote the spiritualization of the Church and its administration.”[9]

The conclusions of this evaluation were the following: it was possible and not against  the spirit and letter of “The Organic Statute” to introduce reforms in order to spiritualize the bureaucratized ecclesiastical life; the half century experience of a misunderstood and wrongly applied statute had to determine, on the one hand the modification of its shortcomings, and on the other hand its more spiritual interpretation and application; the revitalizing of the liturgical-sacramental life of the Church and of the Christian philanthropy were necessary: “Our ecclesiastical administrative conception from ‘The Organic Statute’s’ era was exposed in a very little degree to the holy and life-bringing blast of the spiritual problems, by which it has to differ from any other worldly administration. […] it was thought that it would be enough, in the Church, to take care of the external order that could be promoted in the consistorial, protopopiate, and parish offices, and to make sure that the Church property is continually increasing. The accent was not enough put on the religious education – in all its disciplines -, on the liturgical or holifying life of the Church, and it was even less put on the propagation of the religious and moral awareness among the great mass of the believers.”[10]

The author of the evaluation had in mind the following proposals of amendment: the completion of the church organization (a proportional distribution of the eparchies and protopopiates, the completion of the administrative ecclesiastical staff in the eparchial  centres, a diocesan technical-ecclesiastical office, the reorganization of the metropolitan consistory, the surveillance of the implementation of the administrative measures by the ecclesiastical control bodies, a statistical office of the Metropolitanate and shematisms); the strengthening of the liturgical-sacramental life of the Church (the organization of the cathedrals’ clergy by introducing of such offices as the protopope of the cathedral, of preacher, deans, singers/choirs, itinerant preachers, the purification and standardization of the liturgical life); the placement on new solid bases of the theological education and the establishment of schools for church singers; the enhancement of the pastoral life, of catechesis (including printings and the organization of an internal missionary service); the organization of the pastoral clergy; the state material assistance. If the solution for the improvement of the ecclesiastical life in Transylvania was not the revision of “The Organic Statute” (“this completion of the ecclesiastical life would be possible without the amendment of ‘The Organic Statute’”[11]), its adoption “literally and especially in its actual form of application, as an exclusive departure point in our ecclesiastical reorganization, would be a disaster.”[12] Not lastly, Gheorghe Ciuhandu also pleaded for the maintaining of the metropolitan organizational system[13] in the new state frame. This system adopted in Şaguna’s organization was considered so positive and welcome, that “the total elimination of the metropolitan system and its reduction to the simple priority of the metropolitan-bishop in front of his suffragan bishops would do more harm than good the Church in its present and future organization.”[14] On the contrary, there were enough reasons which justified “the revival of the metropolitan organization, even where it was suppressed by the necessities of the times or by people’s ambitions.”[15]

The excessive bureaucratization, the formalism were described as the most important shortcomings of “The Organic Statute” by the future Romanian Patriarch Miron Cristea (1925-1939) too: “We, in Transylvania, have often lost many years fighting against empty formalities, but the Church did not advance; it was only damaged in its most vital interests because of the many excessive forms. That is why the formalities must be reduced, simplified, even the corporations created only where necessary; especially because – having too many corporations, established with difficult formalities in parishes, protopopiates, eparchies, metropolitanates etc. then in villages, counties, or country – the people will be sick of all their running and waste of time.”[16] The same future patriarch noticed yet another weak point of the “The Organic Statute” which had to be corrected: “Şaguna’s statute [in fact, it was the statute of the church congress of 1868] leaves the [ecclesiastical] justice in the hands of the church administration. I pity that justice, if the state entrusts its administrative authorities to do justice! Everybody can see that not even the ecclesiastical justice made and applied by church administrative authorities can be perfect.”[17]

More categorical in the evaluation of the implementation of “The Organic Statute” was “The Romanian Telegraph” newspaper, which blamed the partial failure of the mixed synodality, the deviations that occurred, not on “The Statute” itself, but on the hierarchy, on the bishops “who – lacking a thorough theological culture – did not know, as episcopal synod, how to validate a guiding and beneficial moral influence toward the ecclesiastical constitutional bodies. Moreover, the lay element being superior in what the general culture concerns, has introduced a lay mentality within the Church. In the struggles for the episcopal sees the lay deputies interceded in some candidates’ favour, disparaging the others, libelling them both politically and socially.”[18]

VII.5 The role of “The Organic Statute” in the ecclesiastical reorganization in the Romanian State after 1918; “The Statute” of 1925

After the First World War, not only the unification of the Romanian territories – the Old Kingdom (Moldavia and Wallachia), Bessarabia[19], Bukovina and Transylvania -, but also the advancement of the Romanian Orthodox Church to the rank of an autocephalous Patriarchate by the Tomos of recognition from 1925[20] imposed a unitary ecclesiastical legislation.[21] In this way, “The Organic Statute” was brought into discussion as a main reference point for the new organization of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

In the Church of the Old Romanian Kingdom prevailed a mentality which was absolutist, too hierocratic-hierarchical and tributary to the state, and “it missed the organization, because the state’s attributions and position toward the Church and vice versa were not specified.”[22] The ecclesiastical life was in a continuous unrest in the absence of a clear perspective on the position which the Church had within the state.

Even before Andrei Şaguna’s “Project of Regulation” was officially recognized, it was taken into consideration by the government of Romania after 1859, and transposed into an attempt of the state to confer autonomy the Romanian Metropolitanates of Moldavia and Wallachia from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The attempt – entitled “The Organic Decree for the Establishment of a Central Synodal Authority for the Romanian Religious Affairs” – was promulgated on December 6, 1864. This Decree – developed and completed with two further regulations, with the permission of the Ecumenical Patriarchs Gregory VI (1867-1871) and Anthimos VI (1871-1873) and after diplomatic correspondences between the Romanian government, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other local Orthodox Churches – was voted in 1872 as “The Organic Law of the Romanian Orthodox Church”, better known as “The Synodal Law of 1872”.[23] The law was devised by the State Council and took as a standard the ecclesiastical organization introduced by Andrei Şaguna in Transylvania, transposing it in Romania with some changes: “it is a faulty replica of Şaguna’s law, which was taken as a standard.”[24]

The Church of Bessarabia had experienced the convulsions of the transformations in the Russian Church, which part it was from 1812 to 1917. The hierarchical absolutism was the legacy of the tsarist absolutism. However, the mentality that ruled in the Church of Bessarabia was more progressive than the one in the Old Romanian Kingdom or in Bukovina, the conception on the Church was more developed and the ecclesial consciousness more pronounced.[25]

The Church in Bukovina with its “Religious Fund”[26] had a very hierarchical mentality, tributary to “The Religious Fund” and the emperor, the mentality of a Church which belonged more to “The Fund” and the emperor than to the people. It had an old-fashioned organization, which was convenient more the state and some ecclesiastical office holders than the Church itself.[27]

In such conditions, the positive and stable contribution to the elaboration of a new church constitution of the entire Romanian Orthodox Church could have only the Transylvanian Church, because it had “an organization which was appropriate for a right and generous conception on the Church and its purpose, for that time and even exceeding that time …”[28]  The first discussion between the representatives of all the Romanian Metropolitanates regarding the unification of the ecclesiastical organization held at Sinaia from 12th to 25 June 1919[29] decided the following: “In the process of organizing the Church on canonical and autonomous bases, from a representative, administrative, legislative, and judicial perspective, one has to take as a starting point for the debates ‘The Organic Statute’ of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Transylvania…”[30] As one of the participants in that first discussion argued: “The most advanced ecclesiastical organization on the Romanian territory belongs to the Metropolitanate of Transylvania and this is the only reason why its ‘Organic Statute’ has been taken as a starting point for the discussion regarding the establishment of a unitary organization of the entire Romanian Orthodox Church.”[31]

The project presented by the spokesmen of the Metropolitanate of Bukovina for the future ecclesiastical organization of Romania proposed the selective adoption of: “a) the organization of the Holy Synod [bishops’ synod] and possibly of the Superior Consistory of the Old Kingdom […]; b) the organization of the eparchial consistory of Bukovina; c) the organization of the eparchial congresses (‘synods’) and the participation of the laymen in the administration of the ecclesiastical affairs of Transylvania.”[32] Returning to Andrei Şaguna’s “Project of Regulation”, it is noticeable that it was practically proposed by the representatives of Bukovina fifty years later, as an organizational basis for the entire Romanian Orthodox Church. The very deviations from Şaguna’s concept – by changing some fundamental aspects of the Project, introduced by the church congress of 1868[33] – had to be corrected by “borrowing” the institutions of the consistory of Bukovina and of the bishops’ synod of the Old Kingdom. At the same time, the essential points of Şaguna’s canonistical doctrine and ecclesiastical organization were mentioned as absolutely necessary to the future organization of the Romanian Church: the mixed synodality and the Church autonomy.[34] The independence of the Metropolitanate from state – achieved by Andrei Şaguna – was particularly appreciated, even half a century after it was proclaimed: “This is undoubtedly a sign of progress, when we know that in Bukovina many important ecclesiastical issues had to be approved by the Austrian emperor or his government. It was the same situation in Bessarabia under the Russian tsars’ régime, as well as in the Church of our Mother Country [The Romanian Old Kingdom] under ‘The Synodal Law of 1872’, ‘The Law of the Lay Clergy of 1893’, and ‘The Law of the Church Finance of 1902’”[35]

Even so, “The Organic Statute” of Transylvania imposed itself quite difficultly in front of the Romanians from the other provinces. It “faced more opposition from our brothers than from the foreign domination under which it was established and introduced in the Church’s life.”[36] During the negotiations and discussions held after 1919, there  “appeared obstacles that seemed undefeatable, because politicians and numerous narrow-minded and bigoted spirits from the Church’s men – some of whom were ‘great canonists’, ‘authorities’ etc. – wanted just one thing: to remain with their disorganized old rules in order to prevent themselves from falling away from the pure faith.”[37] The ecclesiastical unification works concluded on May 6, 1925, when “The Law for the Organization of the Romanian Orthodox Church” and “The Statute for the Organization of the Romanian Orthodox Church”[38]  were passed.

The new organization, although elaborated on the basis of “The Organic Statute”, was not safe from un-canonical stipulations. The central mixed synod was a church congress made of the members of the Holy Synod (all the hierarchs in the country) and six members (two clergymen and four laymen) of each eparchy. The attributions of this congress were the administrative, cultural, foundational and trusteeship affairs.[39] Each eparchy had a mixed eparchial assembly made of two thirds laymen and one third clergymen, as a forum with external administrative attributions.[40] It was criticisable the not complete canonical way in which these mixed synods were constituted, because the bishops as members of the congress were treated as equals with the laymen. It was theoretically possible for the lay majority to impose its decisions, even against the bishops’ will. On the eparchial level, the decisions of the mixed eparchial assembly did not require the bishop’s confirmation, as they were self-imposed. If the bishop protested, the case had to be decided by the church congress[41], a fact which was un-canonical; this situation could lead to the “judgement” of a bishop by a mixed ecclesiastical forum where the bishops did not have a decisive word. Practically, despite these un-canonical formal statuary stipulations, they have never been un-canonically applied.[42]

VII.6 From “The Organic Statute” to “The Statute” of 1948

The discussions between the representatives of the Orthodox Church of the Romanian reunified provinces, determined especially by the diversity of the historical and ecclesiastical traditions, did not come to an end with the adoption of the unitary legislation of 1925, on the contrary.

Thus, in the inter-war period, the disputes between the upholders of “Şaguna’s tradition” and its demolitionists continued. Less than ten years after the unification decreed by the legislation of 1925, the Orthodox Romanians seriously raised the problem of the change of the ecclesiastical legislation. The Central Ecclesiastical Council itself made a project for the modification of the law and statute from 1925, which was presented to the church national congress of October, 1935. There were voices for modification[43] and against it[44]. Among the proposals of the project were: the right of the bishops’ synod to dissolve the superior ecclesiastical corporations, if they turn away from the law; the reduction of the number of the mixed church assemblies’ members in eparchies and on the patriarchate’s level; the elimination of the believers’ universal vote by the selection of their deputies in the mixed ecclesiastical corporations; the reinforcement of the hierarchical principle on all levels; the reduction of the disciplinary instances to two instead of three and the recruitment of the judicial personnel by appointment, not by election.[45] A proposal coming from Czernowitz raised also the problem of changing the ratio between clergymen and laymen: two thirds clergymen and one third laymen.[46] Therefore, the mixed synodality was again a stumbling rock. This was because of the un-canonical stipulations introduced in the statute of 1925, but also the exaggerations and deviations which appeared by its enforcement.

The inter-war discussions on the modification of the church legislation in Romania did not come to a result. After the Second World War, the Romanian Orthodox Church – now with some canonical territories lost[47] – elaborated a new “Statute for the Organization and Functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church”[48], completed with a series of regulations which settled all its spheres of activity.[49] Initially, there were elaborated ten regulations which developed the principles of the statute[50], later in time others being added[51] to the firsts.

The new statute came into force on February 23, 1949.[52] It included, beside the general dispositions (art. 1-4 ), four  parts: Part I – The organization of the Romanian Orthodox Church (the central organization, art. 8-38; the local organization, art. 39-114); Part II – Dispositions on clergy (art. 115-158); Part III – Institutions annexed to the Romanian Orthodox Church (The Biblical Institute and of Orthodox Mission, The Insurance Fund of the Church Goods, The Mutual Help House of the clergy and the Church wage-earners, art. 159-176); Part IV – Miscellaneous dispositions (the parish cemeteries, the ecclesiastical buildings, the juridical personality, incompatibilities, the right of succession of the hierarchs and monks, the eparchial emblems, art. 168-199). There are also some final and transitory dispositions (art. 200-205).

As the fundamental principles the ones already stipulated in “The Organic Statute” were kept, namely the Church’s autonomy toward the state[53], and the mixed synodality. Besides these were explicitly added: the principle of autocephaly[54] and – derived from it – the organization of the religious assistance in the Romanian Diaspora[55]. Regarding the Diaspora, we should bear in mind this affirmation: “Because in this domain the last years’ experience did not bear fruit, it has been decided that the religious assistance, the ecclesiastical organization, as well as the sending of leaders for the Orthodox Romanians across the borders should be realized by the Romanian Patriarchate, which should carry out this new mission in accordance with the country’s government.”[56]

Elaborated during Patriarch Justinian Marina’s[57] productive leadership, “The Statute” from 1948 is a work of the best exponents of the Romanian theological school – the golden generation of the Orthodox Romanian theology, educated in the period of the maximum economic, social and cultural development of Romania, between the two world wars. Canonist Liviu Stan – with theological and juridical studies at Europe’s prestigious university centres (Czernowitz, Athens, Warsaw, Rome, Munich)[58], a specialist in the mixed synodality and implicitly in Andrei Şaguna’s works through his 1936’ doctoral thesis called “The Laymen in the Church”[59] – was the one who precisely transposed Şaguna’s canonistical-organizational conception in the new church constitution of the Orthodox Romanians.

But for a realistic and objective evaluation, one cannot evade the historical context of the 1948 statute’s elaboration[60]: the very first years of Communism in Romania. Although it was more than well conceived and implemented, “The Statute” can be criticised from a few viewpoints[61], which rather depended on the social-political context which it was elaborated in, than on the canonical fund.

After 1989, the qualified church authorities, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Church National Assembly, amended and reformulated some articles of “The Statute” and other regulations. The amendments, imposed by the new political-social context of the post-Communist Romania, hinted especially at the elimination of the stipulations which implied the presence of some state authorities in the Church’s life and activity, of the ones which restricted the Church mission, of some incongruities regarding the names of the eparchies.[62]

Finally, following long-years debates on this issue, a new organizational law of the Romanian Orthodox Church was agreed by the members of the Holy Synod at the end of 2007. With the beginning of the year 2008, Romania has a new “Statute for the Organization and Functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church”[63], an improved form of that of 1948.[64]

[1] Cf. the chapter IV.4.1 herein.

[2] E. CIORAN, Mitropolitul Şaguna şi comuna Răşinari, 229.

[3] V. MOLDOVAN, Biserica Ortodoxă Română şi problema unificării, 51.

[4] On  December 1st, 1918, the union of the Romanian provinces Bessarabia (nowadays the Moldavian Republic), Bukovina (now divided between Romania and Ukraine), Banat, Crişana, Maramureş and Transylvania with Romania/the Old Kingdom (Moldavia and Wallachia) was proclaimed, since then dating, with the territorial changes made by the Second World War, the present-day Romania. After the union of 1918, Romania kept the monarchic form of government, until the coming in power of the Communism, on December 30, 1947, when it was proclaimed a republic. Cf. History of Romania. Compendium, 526-532; 612 et seqq. See also the map.

[5] Gh. CIUHANDU, Reorganizarea Mitropoliei transilvane, 6.

[6] Ibid., 7.

[7] Ibid., 7.

[8] Ibid., 7-8.

[9] Ibid., 8.

[10] Ibid., 8-9.

[11] Ibid., 41.

[12] Ibid., 42.

[13] In the primary times of the Church flourished the metropolitan system of Church’s organization: for each ecclesiastical province there was a metropolitanate consisted of several suffragan bishoprics, the metropolitanates being coordinated to one another, therefore independent. The centre of the life of the Church was the metropolitanate, not the bishopric and the bishops’ synod of the patriarchate, as in the case of the eparchial-patriarchal system of Church’s organization nowadays. Cf. V. PHIDAS, Droit canon, 114 et seqq.

On this subject see also Grigorios D. PAPATHOMAS, Le Patriarcat œcuménique de Constantinople (y compris la Politeia monastique du Mont Athos) dans l’Europe unie (approche nomocanonique), Katerini 1998; Gh[eorghe] SOARE, Mitropolia în dreptul canonic ortodox, Bucureşti 1939.

[14] Gh. CIUHANDU, Reorganizarea Mitropoliei transilvane, 45.

[15] Ibid., 47.

[16] M. CRISTEA, Principii fundamentale, 23.

[17] Ibid., 28.

[18] Telegraful Român, No. 35, 36/1912; No. 21/1920 as quoted in E. ROŞCA, Monografia Mitropoliei Ortodoxe Române a Ardealului, 163.

[19] Bessarabia is the territory between the rivers Pruth and Dniester, an important part of it belonging nowadays to the Moldavian Republic, the southern part and the northern part belonging to Ukraine.

The region’s name comes from a Romanian reign family – the Basarabs. In 1350, Nicolae Alexandru, Basarab I’s son, ruler of Wallachia, took a campaign against the Tartars, managing to push them across the river Nistru and registering in the maps the territory of about 45,000, between the rivers Nistru and Prut and the Danube’s mouths, which he named Bessarabia. In the following centuries, the territory became part of the historical province Moldavia.

In 1812, through the Bucharest Treaty, concluded after the Russian-Turkish war provoked by the “Oriental issue”, the Ottomans surrendered the south of Bessarabia to the Tsarist Empire, but the Russians occupied the whole territory between the Pruth and the Dniester.

Bessarabia remained under Russian domination  (with a break between the general Peace Treaty signed in 1856, after the “Crimean War” and the Treaty of San Stefano of 1878) until 1917, when it became a republic for a short time, and voted for the union with Romania.

On Juny 28, 1940, Bessarabia (as well as northern Bukovina) was occupied by the Soviet troops, as a result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, of 1939.

After the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, on August 27, 1991, the Moldavian Soviet Republic declared itself independent under the name Republic of Moldova.

Cf. History of Romania. Compendium, 399, 465, 484, 509, 526-528, 580-581, 604-609.

[20] See The Tomos of the Recognition of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate, in: T. SIMEDREA, Patriarhia românească. Acte şi documente, 131-133.

    The autocephaly of the Romanian Orthodox Church of the Old Romanian Kingdom had been already recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in 1885. See The Tomos of Recognition of the Romanian Orthodox Church’s Autocephaly, in: Candela IV (1885), No. 6, 361-364.

[21] Details on the process of the ecclesiastical unification of the Romanian Orthodox Church after the First World War and on its advancement to the rank of patriarchate see at N. ŞERBĂNESCU, Patriarhia română la 70 de ani (1925-1995), 245-267.

[22] L. STAN, Mitropolitul Nicolae, 220. Cf. also the chapters III.2.8 and V.1.3 herein.

[23] See Rumänisches Gesetz vom 14. December 1872, in: AfkKR, 42 (1879), 423-426.

[24] C. DRĂGUŞIN, Legile bisericeşti ale lui Cuza Vodă, 95.

[25] Cf. L. STAN, Mitropolitul Nicolae, 220.

[26] After the incorporation of Bukovina in the Habsburg Empire (1775), emperor Joseph II decided to drastically reduce the Orthodox monastery settlements (from twenty-five to three), their consistent fortunes being administrated by the state; the same thing happened in 1789 with the properties of the Orthodox Eparchy of Rădăuţi. The Church’s fortunes and their income, known as “The Religious Fund”, were meant – according to the “Spiritual Regulation” (“Geistlicher Regierungsplan”) of April 29, 1787, – to cover the expenditure of the Orthodox cult and of the confessional schools in Bukovina, and the surplus “for the benefit of the clergy, religion and mankind.” The emperor himself was called the protector of the fund, its administration, conservation and use, all depending on him and being declared “official affair”, of public interest. Emperor Francis Joseph I strengthened these stipulations by the resolution from December 10, 1869. A new regulation of the same fund was given by the imperial decision of January 19, 1900, but maintaining the second role of the Bukovinian metropolitan and of the consistory in the administration of it. After 1918, it started the “fight” between the Romanian state and the Orthodox Church of Bukovina for the administration of “The Religious Fund”. Cf. P. CIOBANU, Fondul Bisericesc Ortodox Român din Bucovina, 6-8.

[27] Cf. L. STAN, Mitropolitul Nicolae, 220.

[28] Ibid., 220.

[29] Cf. N. ŞERBĂNESCU, Patriarhia română la 70 de ani (1925-1995), 246-247.

[30] “Înştiinţarea dată de Conferinţa de la Sinaia” (“The notice given by the Conference in Sinaia”), in: The Holy Synod’s Archives of the Romanian Orthodox Church, File No. 147, 106, as quoted in: N. ŞERBĂNESCU, Patriarhia română la 70 de ani (1925-1995), 247.

[31] V. ŞESAN,  Reflexiuni asupra unificării, 11.

[32] V. ŞESAN, Proiect de unificare, 2.

[33] Cf. the chapter V.3.2 herein.

[34] Cf. V. ŞESAN, Proiect de unificare, 3-6.

[35] V. ŞESAN,  Reflexiuni asupra unificării, 12. Details on the legislation of the Romanian Orthodox Church at the beginning of the twentieth century see at M. COSTANDACHE, Măsuri noi de organizare în Biserica Ortodoxă Română la începutul veacului al XX-lea, 756-766.

[36] L. STAN, Mitropolitul Nicolae, 222.

[37] Ibid., 222.

[38] See C. COSTESCU, Legea şi Statutul pentru organizarea Bisericii Ortodoxe Române din 6 mai 1925, Adnotate cu desbaterile parlamentare şi Jurisprudenţele referitoare (Colecţiunea de legiuiri bisericeşti şi şcolare adnotate, volumul II), Bucureşti 1925.

We use this statute under the abbreviated name “Statutul (1925)” (“The Statute (1925)”), in order to differentiate it from the next one, from 1948.

[39] Cf. Statutul (1925), art. 8.

[40] Ibid., art. 129-131.

[41] Ibid., art. 135.

[42] Cf. L. STAN, Mirenii în biserică, 237.

[43] See Valerian ŞESAN, Modificarea Legii şi Statutului pentru organizarea Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, in: Candela, XLVI (1935), 117-185.

[44] See Grigorie COMŞA, Modificarea legii de organizare a Bisericii noastre, Arad 1932; Valer MOLDOVAN, Principiile fundamentale ale organizaţiei bisericeşti de astăzi, Cluj 1933; Nicolae POPOVICI, Opinii asupra proiectului de modificare a Legii şi Statutului pentru organizarea Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, Sibiu 1936.

[45] Cf. N. POPOVICI, Opinii asupra proiectului de modificare, 5.

[46] Cf. V. ŞESAN, Modificarea Legii şi Statutului pentru organizarea Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, 126-129.

[47] After the Second World War, Romania lost the north of Bukovina and the whole Bessarabia.

[48] See Statutul pentru organizarea şi funcţionarea Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, in: Legiuirile Bisericii Ortodoxe Române sub Înalt Prea Sfinţitul Patriarh Justinian 1948-1953, Bucureşti 1953, 5-50.

The last updated edition of the Statute from 1948 together with three regulations was edited by the Romanian Patriarchate in 2003. See Legiuirile Bisericii Ortodoxe Române – extras, Bucureşti 2003.

We use this statute under the abbreviated name “Statutul (1948)” (“The Statute (1948)”), in order to differentiate it from the previous statute of 1925.

[49] The Statute of 1948 together with the first ten regulations, some decisions of the Holy Synod and patriarchal decisions on issues regarding ecclesiastical organization composed the “law code” of the Romanian Orthodox Church after 1949: “Legiuirile Bisericii Ortodoxe Române sub Înalt Prea Sfinţitul Patriarh Justinian 1948-1953”, 526 pages, Bucureşti 1953.

[50] The first ten regulations are: 1. The regulation of procedure of the disciplinary and judiciary instances in the Romanian Orthodox Church; 2. The regulation for the organization and functioning of the educational institutions for the instruction of the ecclesiastical personnel and for the recruitment of the Romanian Patriarchate’s teaching staff; 3. The regulation for the determination of the patriarch’s attributions and for the functioning of the central deliberative, administrative and executive authorities in the Romanian Patriarchate: the Holy Synod, the Permanent Synod, the National Ecclesiastical Council, the Patriarchal Administration, the Patriarchal Office and the annexed institutions; 4. The interior regulation of the National Ecclesiastical Assembly of the Romanian Orthodox Church; 5. The regulation for the election, functioning and dissolution of the deliberative and executive authorities in the parishes, protopopiates and eparchies of the Romanian Patriarchate; 6. The regulation for appointing and transferring of the clergy from parishes, the capacity, tenure, promotion and selection exams for the capital, of the deacons and priests in the Romanian Orthodox Church; 7. The regulation for the administration of the ecclesiastical fortune; 8. The regulation for the organization and functioning of the Mutual Aid Fund for the clergy and the ecclesiastical employees in the Romanian Orthodox Church’s eparchies; 9. The regulation for the organization and functioning of the Insurance Fund of the ecclesiastical goods; 10. The regulation for the organization of the monastic life, and for the administrative and disciplinary functioning of the monasteries.

[51] Some of the later regulations are: The interior regulation of the theological institutes’ boarding schools; The regulation for the organization and functioning of the Pension and Aid Fund of the wage earners in the Romanian Orthodox Church; The regulation for the organization and functioning of the parish and monastic cemeteries of the eparchies in the Romanian Orthodox Church.

[52] Cf. Gh. SOARE, Însemnări asupra noului Statut de organizare, 65.

[53] Statutul (1948), art 3.

[54] Statutul (1948), art. 2.

[55] Statutul (1948), art. 6.

[56] L. STAN, Statutul Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, 648.

Out of the “accordance with the country’s government” have resulted, among others, a schism of the Romanian Orthodox Diaspora of North America which organized itself in two separate bishoprics, as well as many suspicions and distrust between the Orthodox Romanians across the borders, most of whom left Romania after the Second World War because of the Communist régime, whose government now “organized” their religious assistance.

Fortunately, after more than sixty years of separation, the two Romanian bishoprics of North America and Canada started, in July 2008, the process of their reunification under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Patriarchate.

[57] Justinian Marina (born Ioan Marina), was the third patriarch of the Romanian Orhtodox Church between 1948 and 1977. Despite many difficulties and some controversial or disputed actions, during the twenty-nine years of Patriarch Justinian’s leadership a series of important events and changes took place, which greatly raised the prestige of the Romanian Orthodoxy in the Christian world and made him a representative figure for the entire Orthodox Church.

[58] Cf.  S. JOANTĂ, Contribuţia Pr. Prof. Dr. Liviu Stan la dezvoltarea dreptului bisericesc, 4-5.

[59] See Liviu STAN, Mirenii în biserică. Importanţa elementului mirean în Biserică şi participarea lui la exercitarea puterii bisericeşti, Sibiu 1939.

[60] Cf. L. STAN, Statutul Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, 638-641.

[61] Something on this subject at M. STAN, Die Rumänisch-Orthodoxe Kirchenverfassung und ihre ekklesiologischen Grundlagen, 95-110.

[62] Cf. C. PÎRVU, Organizarea şi dezvoltarea Bisericii Ortodoxe Române în spiritul autonomiei şi autocefaliei, 27. See also Alexandru ARMAND-MUNTEANU, Compendiu alfabetic şi tematic din Hotărârile Sfântului Sinod al Bisericii Ortodoxe Române (1986-2001), Constanţa 2003.

[63] See Statutul pentru organizarea şi funcţionarea Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, Bucureşti 2008.

[64] Due to the complexity and dimensions of this dissertation it was impossible for us to approach in detail the current Orthodox Church’s organization of Romania – a heritage from Metropolitan Andrei Şaguna.


mihaela.stan February 9, 2017 Drept si Religie