Andrei Șaguna and ”The Organic Statute” – VII.3 The critics and deniers of Andrei Şaguna and of the mixed synodality


VII.3 The critics and deniers of Andrei Şaguna and of the mixed synodality

VII.3.1 Radoslav/Emilian Radič; Friedrich Heinrich Vering

The mixed synodality promoted by Andrei Şaguna was the object of acid criticism of the Serbian Orthodox canonist Radoslav/Emilijan Radič[1]. In one of his first works[2], Radoslav Radič, presenting the organization of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1875, he called it Protestant, its paternity undoubtedly belonging to Metropolitan Andrei Şaguna of Transylvania, because he was the first who introduced the lay synods in the Transylvanian Orthodox Church by “falsifying the canons”. From there the Serbian reformers copied their work. With this organization, the Serbian congress would have divided the Church power in two parts: a spiritual one for the bishops, and an administrative one for the congress.[3]

Three years later[4], Radič sustained that the Orthodox Transylvanian Church had had a canonical organization, which was overturned by Andrei Şaguna – who “was of Greek Catholic confession when he was young”[5] – through “The Organic Statute”. For to justify the application of this ecclesiastical organization, the Romanian metropolitan had used the national principle, being seduced by the apostolic canon 34, which he had interpreted through the viewpoint of Beveregius[6], the Anglican bishop. In order to justify the national basis of the Anglican Church toward the cosmopolitism of the Latin Church, the latter searched for reasons in the primary Church, translating the canons.

Radič criticised the presence of the laymen at the bishops and clergymen’s election too, because by Serbians only the metropolitan – as a national-political leader – was elected by the mixed assembly composed of clergy and laymen, not even the bishops.[7]

It is obvious that “the reason of Radič’s groundless criticism is Şaguna’s great deed of having removed the Romanian Church from the domination of the Serbian hierarchy…”[8] Not at least one must take into consideration that Radič studied theology at Moscow, where at the time the caesaropapism but not the constitutionalism flourished in the Church. Actually, the Serbians inspired their ecclesiastical life after the seventeenth century from the Russian model, not from Andrei Şaguna.[9]

One of the foreign critics, who apparently took Radič’s ideas, was the German Catholic canonist Friedrich Heinrich Vering[10], who sustained that the participation of the laymen in exercising the Church power is in contradiction with the fundamental principles of the Eastern Church’s constitution. In his opinion, it was introduced a Protestant element borrowed from the Evangelical Church in the Transylvanian and Serbian Orthodox Churches[11], because the old canons forbid the participation of the laymen in the church synods. Andrei Şaguna’s arguments in favour of the mixed synodality expressed in “Anthorismos” are criticised with the statement that the commentaries of Zonaras and Balsamon lead to the opposite: that the laymen are excluded from the synods.[12]

Friedrich H. Vering’s opinions are based exclusively on the hierocratic-episcopal meaning of the Church, which in the Western tradition was a consequence of the medieval discussions on the investitures[13] and decisional role of the noblemen, outlining, after Reform, the theory of opposition between the clergy and the lay people. Vering’s purpose was to discredit the idea of the mixed church synods – as they existed by Serbians or how they had been conceived in Transylvania – in the fight against the reformed ideas which “tempted” the Catholic ecclesiastical circles in Germany or Hungary of that time.[14]

VII.3.2 Alexandru Grama: the accusation of Calvinization of the Transylvanian Orthodox Church

The most vehement criticisms which Andrei Şaguna received, was those from the part of the Greek Catholics Alexandru Grama[15] and Augustin Bunea[16].

The main theme of Alexandru Grama’s criticism[17] was the implication of the laymen in the exercise of the Church power, Metropolitan Andrei being accused of falsification of the canons in order to sustain his wrong conception on church organization. In Alexandru Grama’s opinion, the laymen are not accepted in any ecclesiastical leadership – according to the Orthodox canons -, and if they were present in the past of the Church in Transylvania, this was a result of the Calvinist domination, of which the Romanians got rid only through the “Holy Union [with Rome]”.[18]

Grama probably “inspired” himself from Friedrich Heinrich Vering, attacking in a more decisive way the canonicity of the ecclesiastical norms introduced by “The Organic Statute”. He wanted to point out, above all, that under the influence of the Calvinist propaganda exerted upon the Romanian Church throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this Church estranged itself by the administration of its internal affairs from the “Pravila” (“Law Code”) and “Pedalion” as the only measure giving codes in the Church’s organization. Based on some historical sources, he sustained that, before and after the church Union of a part of the Romanians with the Church of Rome, the supreme institution for different affairs of the Orthodox Transylvanian Church was the so-called “great synod”, made up of all the eparchial protopopes and sometimes of some priests.[19] This synod appears in the historical papers of past centuries under the name of “synodus generalis”, which is absolutely identical with the supreme institution of the Calvinist Church in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The identity appears even more striking – in Alexandru Grama’s vision – in the fact that the Calvinists’ “synodus generalis” was of two kinds: one made of protopopes, and one of protopopes and common priests. Consequently, in accordance with their attributions and the time and place where they were held, the “great synod” of the Transylvanian Orthodox Church and “synodus generalis” of the Transylvanian Calvinist Church were two identical institutions.[20] And when an institution with the form and attributions of this synod was not accustomed to the canon law of the Orthodox Church and was unknown to the other local Orthodox Churches, it naturally resulted that the Romanians of Transylvania borrowed it from the Calvinists.[21] Thus, the organization of the Transylvanian Orthodox Church according to “The Organic Statute” was not a consequence of the old constitutions and synods of the Eastern Church, but an “offspring” of Protestantism, adopted by Andrei Şaguna for his Metropolitanate.

In fact, Alexandru Grama “tried, out of too much Catholic zeal, to show that all the canonical institutions of the Orthodox Church in Transylvania would be of Calvinist origin. The impressive attempt of the latter canonist failed, because he could only prove the resemblance in the working of some Romanian ecclesiastical institutions of Transylvania with the Protestant ones, not their formation and Protestant origin. […] It is true that the author gathered a great deal of material, but it was still not enough to prove what he had in mind. Further research has offered facts that refute the author’s conclusions.”[22]

VII.3.3 Augustin Bunea: the accusation of plagiarism of the Transylvanian Evangelical Church’s constitution

Another Greek Catholic theologian – Augustin Bunea – opined that the organization Andrei Şaguna gave to his Eparchy and later to the Metropolitanate was a plagiarism[23] of the church constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Transylvania, drafted after 1851 and finalized in 1861/62[24].

Bunea “known for having a complete lack of impartiality toward the Orthodox Church, based on historical facts that are interpreted in a biased way, formulated after Grama his critical system and gave the supreme accusation, that Şaguna has copied ‘The Organic Statute’ from the constitution of the Saxon Evangelical Church in Transylvania, after he had borrowed the main principles from A. T. Laurianu’s ‘Constitution’.”[25] In his opinion, the mixed synod was introduced in the Transylvanian Orthodox Church under the influence of the Lutheran Church. Andrei Şaguna seduced his believers, generally the Romanians, by allowing the laymen to participate in the synods. “The Organic Statute” was made on the principles of the Evangelical constitution, organizing the Transylvanian Orthodox Church differently from other Orthodox countries’ church organization: Russia, Romania (Moldavia and Wallachia), Greece. Still, Bunea had to admit: “No matter how this organization is, it cannot be denied that it strengthened the Transylvanian Orthodox Church …”[26]

But the constitution of the Lutheran Church in Transylvania is substantially different from “The Organic Statute”[27], and especially from Andrei Şaguna’s “Project of Regulation”, as substantially different are the history and tradition of these two Churches of Transylvania.

Besides the Saxon National University (Universitas Saxonum/Sachsische Nationsuniversität)[28], the Saxons in Transylvania had also had the Ecclesiastical University, with the purpose of their immediate subordination to the Catholic Archbishopric of Esztergom and not to the Bishopric of Alba-Iulia. The Ecclesiastical University, unlike the lay one, extended outside “The Royal Land” (“Fundus Regius”), including the subservient villages. Thus, it surpassed the limits of the institution of class/social status and pointed to ethnical solidarity.[29] The lay and the religious University had held their meetings at the same time. In the relationship between the two Universities, the decisive role was played by the lay one, which subordinated the ecclesiastical one, in the spirit of the cuius regio eius religio principle.

The importance of the Ecclesiastical University grew after the Reform, when the lay University accepted the ecclesiastical regulation of the Transylvanian Germans[30] (Reformatio Ecclesiarum Saxonicarum in Transylvania / “Kirchenordnung aller Deutschen in Sybembürgen”[31]). This is how the Saxon Evangelical Lutheran Church was born, and it became the Saxons’ national church (Volkskirche), playing an important role in the preservation of their identity. It had the character of a state Church on “Fundus Regius”, a feature given by the Saxon National University, as supreme political institution. The national and religious life influenced each other, and even the political organization was transplanted over the internal life of the Saxon Church.[32]

In the eighteenth century, the Catholic persecutions determined the rethinking of the organization of the Saxon Evangelical Church, the first Evangelical consistory being founded at Sibiu, in 1753. This consistory finalised a new church regulation, decreed by the Synod of 1763, according to which the ruling bodies were the central and local mixed consistories (Oberkonsistorium and Consistorium Domesticum/Privatum).[33]

But beginning with 1795, the Viennese Court asked this Church for a new organizational plan, approved only in Josephinist formula: the emperor claimed his right as supreme bishop, the consistory had to be inspected by the government, and the Church was handed over to the lay people.[34]

After 1848, measures for the return to the old formula of the ecclesiastical autonomy were taken, the model of the new organization – expressed in “Die Kirchenverfassung 1861/62”[35] – being the constitution of the Evangelical Church in North Rhine-Westphalia, from 1835.[36]

Ioan Mateiu compared[37] the two church constitutions – Orthodox and Evangelical – of the middle-nineteenth century in Transylvania and pointed out that there is not any fundament for the accusation of plagiarism, concluding: “If we compare the Saxon organization with Metropolitan Şaguna’s original Project, the difference is so huge, that any doubt of imitation has to be excluded ab ovo.[38]

As for the hazardous affirmation that the “Project of Regulation” would be made by the Saxon lawyer Jakob Rannicher[39], it is not sustained by any credible proof.[40]

It is useless to comment – in the contemporary ecclesial context – the groundlessness of the Catholic Friedrich Heinrich Vering and Greek Catholics Alexandru Grama and Augustin Bunea’s accusations. The canons 204 §1, 460-468 of the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC) and 7 §1, 140-145, 235-242 of the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium (CCEO) are enough to show that Andrei Şaguna’s only “guilt” when he regulated the presence of the laymen in the mixed church assemblies was that he did it hundred years before the Roman Church.

VII.3.4 Other criticisms[41] and misapprehensions

One of the Romanian Orthodox critics[42] of “The Organic Statute” was the Bishop Melchisedec Ştefănescu of Roman[43]. In the context of “The Synodal Law of 1872” in Romania – with many inconveniences – heated discussions on the synod and in general on synodality, and on a possible consideration of the ecclesiastical organization of Transylvania began. Thus, a study presented to the Holy Synod[44] by the Bishop Melchisedec, in the autumn of 1883[45], outlined the non-canonicity of the mixed synods stipulated by “The Organic Statute”. The organization of the Orthodox Transylvanian Church was – in the view of that study – wrongfully considered in connection with the nationalist desiderates, the same as the Serbian old synods which “grouped in their organization not only the strict ecclesial interests, namely the Church doctrine and ecclesiastical discipline, but also the national ones like […] the election of the metropolitans and bishops, who are in a way also the political national leaders.”[46] Andrei Şaguna’s value was not contested, but it was thought that “he, in his organization, could not remain strictly on the canonical bases, which limit the role of the ecclesiastical administration more to the doctrine and discipline of the Church, under the leadership of the bishops’ synod; it is understandably that the other [ecclesiastical] affairs are ruled by the state.”[47] The name “synods” given the mixed ecclesiastical assemblies in Transylvania was qualified as “not appropriate” or “even abusive”, the possible adoption of this ecclesiastical organization in Romania being considered “absurd”[48].

Apart from some tendentious aspects of Bishop Melchisedec’s criticisms, the others were correct, “but his mistake was that he attributed ‘The Organic Statute’ to Şaguna and not to the church congress of 1868.”[49]

Even not on the line of ungrounded accusations but more on the one of misunderstanding were the historians Ştefan Meteş[50] and Nicolae Iorga. The latter – who underestimated the value of Andrei Şaguna’s works[51] – stated in the very light of this underestimation: “He did not feel as a priest above all anymore, but as a Romanian, and by ‘The Organic Statute’ which organized the new Metropolitanate deciding the participation of the laymen in the leading synods he gave the Church to his people.”[52]

Without knowing neither the ecclesiology, nor the Orthodox canons it was difficult for Nicolae Iorga to make another kind of evaluation of the ecclesiastical organization in Transylvania, other than a patriotic or even nationalist one. Actually, Iorga made many contradictory affirmations on Andrei Şaguna.[53] In other circumstances, the historian understood Bishop Şaguna and called him the other way round, insufficiently nationalistic, an ardent imperialist, who organized his eparchy inefficiently for the people: “One can easily see in him a clear, foresighted eye, which is not afraid of anything, shows what is wrong and finds out how to correct it. He was an admirably practical man. When he saw the bad things, he did not even have time to say ‘no’, because his deed said ‘yes’. Şaguna’s greatest sin was that he did so in a way no different from a province governor in Graz, or a Catholic bishop in Brno, or any ecclesiastical or lay office holder of any province in the Empire. His thinking was not Romanian, but belonged to the schools where he had learned. The world he had left from did not have a Romanian stove in the midst of the house. This is why he remained Austrian and imperialist, and many of his solutions were not beneficial for the people whose Church he organized.”[54] Iorga saw in the mixed synod “Şaguna’s greatest innovation, also determined by his conception of commanding through the Church.”[55]

Illustrative for Nicolae Iorga’s error concerning Andrei Şaguna is the following remark of a Romanian theologian – Grigorie Pişculescu (alias Gala Galaction) – made at the beginning of the twentieth century, in the context of a canonistical dispute which the historian was also involved in: “However varied and impressive would be his [Nicolae Iorga’s] culture, he is not accustomed to the theological issues. And his misapprehension could lead to the misapprehension of many other people.”[56]

As the canonist Liviu Stan affirmed “we should not be astonished by the fact that Şaguna’s tradition has rarely found interpreters and defenders. We should not be astonished by the fact that some people did not understand it at all, others only partially, and that others, trying to understand and spread it, were crushed by it – and not because of its size and weight, but for their weakness. The lack of understanding of Andrei Şaguna’s legacy slowly appeared in our Church of Transylvania […] and the most terrible straying came to light in the united Romania, on the occasion of the action undertaken for the reorganization of the Romanian Church, in the first years after the reunification [after 1918]. In Transylvania, the generation that was raised under Şaguna’s blessing and care […] kept his legacy; they kept it piously, but they did not assimilate it scholarly and theologically, they did not consider it thoroughly, nor develop it, and in their care of keeping it unstained, they only took care of the forms, the cover which the spirit flew away from. […] Many people reduced their ecclesiastical activity to the respect of some formalities and their periodical reiteration. […] There were also a few stray people among Şaguna’s direct heirs who did not understand his work and refused to preserve its spirit or spread it to other people. […] most of them fought against Şaguna’s trend out of ignorance; others had different interests or wanted to make much ado about nothing.”[57]

During the Communist years in Romania, after a period of Andrei Şaguna’s interdiction[58], the theological academic circles tried to re-launch his image by adding a nationalistic halo to it. This idea, appreciated by the Communists more than they could have ever liked the real values of the Church, was and is still spread, instead of a deep research of Andrei Şaguna’s works. The disputed participation of the laymen in exercising the Church power – as a Christian tradition with roots in the apostolic times, revived by Andrei Şaguna – could not be removed from the ecclesiastical constitution of the Romanian Orthodox Church of 1948[59]; first, because the mixed synodality was still a strong tradition a least in Transylvania, and it had been motivated exemplarily in the inter-war period by the canonist Liviu Stan; second, because the “democratic” Communists did not dislike the idea of the “democratic leadership” of the Church.  However, the canonistical doctrine and works of Andrei Şaguna were outshined by the Communist nationalistic “myth”: “Şaguna had also nationalistic interests besides the accomplishment of the synodal principle in the organizational system of his Church. This reason justifies the participation of the laymen in a double number in the ecclesiastical assemblies and makes us understand why they were called synods.”[60] Or: “The high number of the laymen was justified by Şaguna with the fact that what the laymen could not do by political means, they tried to do within Church.”[61]

As we pointed out[62], the above-mentioned opinions counteract flagrantly the reality: not Metropolitan Şaguna, but the lay majority of the congress of 1868 tried to use the Church to carry out their ambitious social and political programme, a thing which provoked big sorrow the metropolitan.

One of the newest and very surprising opinion on the “source of inspiration” of Andrei Şaguna’s canonistical doctrine and ecclesiastical organization, expressed by a young church historian of Sibiu – Paul Brusanowski – in a book published in 2007[63], is that the Transylvanian Orthodox metropolitan inspired himself not from any Protestant church constitution of Transylvania, but from some reformed movements of the nineteenth century in the Catholic Church, especially from the works of a Catholic theologian from Tübingen, Johann Baptist von Hirscher (1788-1865).[64]

Of course, it could be considered “trendy” to re-invent some “old-fashioned” personalities (as Andrei Şaguna, an well-grounded Orthodox, for some contemporary people might seem), but in this case we think that such an opinion is at least hazardous because it has any scholarly, logical, and even moral character, so long the author of the idea himself supposes much more than he really argues and proves: “Andrei Baron of Şaguna applied in his Eparchy, and then in ‘The Organic Statute’, in the entire Metropolitanate the very ideas of [Johann Baptist von] Hirscher. There are not any documents which could prove their meeting. But their theological vision is quite identical […]. But even if they did not meet themselves personally, Şaguna would have read Hirscher…”[65]

One could better say that there were in the nineteenth century some theologians in the Catholic Church too, who understood the necessity of the revival of the active lay people’s participation in the life of the Church, as a primary Christian tradition of the apostolic times, a thing which was only after a century officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).[66]

An answer to all the criticisms, misunderstandings, and shallowness by approaching Andrei Şaguna’s canonistical-organizational work could be one given by Şaguna himself: “Our misfortune comes from there, that the leaders and the other men of the Church do not make themselves a thorough, long study on the knowledge and institutions of our Mother Church, but they remain with what they heard and learnt in foreign schools of other religions [confessions].[67]

VII.3.5 Şaguna’s ecclesiastical organization and the 1848 context

Both the “Project of Regulation” and “The Organic Statute” were more superior to the general ecclesiastical climate of the nineteenth century. This is why Şaguna’s ecclesiastical organization was associated either with the Protestantism or with the liberal political ideas of that time. A realistic spirit, the metropolitan himself knew from the beginning that his system of ecclesiastical organization outran its epoch[68]; it even outran the power of assimilation of a nation held in serfdom for centuries.

The reactivation of the mixed synodality was made by Andrei Şaguna only after a thorough understanding of the spirit of the Orthodox Church and thanks to a profound knowledge of its old rules. But just this was the gap of the majority lay members of the national church congress of 1868 “who lacked the ecclesiastical culture meant to make them to understand the character of an ecclesiastical organization. This lack was therefore replaced with a lay mentality inspired by current political ideas that launched the slogan of liberalism and democracy with a view to an ecclesiastical parliamentarism, in order to heal their deceptions suffered on the field of political battles. The members of the congress did not think at all of the canonical-ecclesiastical considerations which had to lead the creation of a church constitution, but they were utterly possessed by political-national preoccupations.”[69]

The lay intellectuals, although not very attached to the Church, were not against it; they only wanted to “transform the Church and the clergy in instruments of social change”[70], to subordinate it to the national idea which enlivened them. From the beginning of the 1840s, the Orthodox intellectuals, as well as the Uniate ones tried to gain a more important role in dealing with the Church’s issues, as a necessary prelude of the general reform of ecclesiastical administration and institutions. The Uniates guided by Simeon Bărnuţiu pleaded for the reestablishment of the diocesan synod made up of both laymen and clergymen as the main leading body of the Greek Catholic Church. The Orthodox intellectuals manifested a similar attitude during the elections of Vasile Moga’s – the bishop who died in 1845 – successor. They objected that the participation in this important national event was, contrary to the canon law, restricted to protopopes, without being consulted the believers.[71]

However, although the intellectuals themselves resorted to canons in order to justify their desiderata, it is obvious that the core of their thinking was an ideology (be it a progressive one), unlike the Orthodox creed and Tradition which were the foundation of Şaguna’s thinking and actions.

Although it was supposed to be laudatory, not critical, Gheorghe Tulbure’s opinion according to which Metropolitan Andrei Şaguna would have introduced the constitutionalism in the Orthodox Church under the pressure of that time’s liberal politics, is one that cannot be taken into account as long as one can demonstrate that the “Project of Regulation” was established on the canonical and traditional basis, not on political doctrines. Tulbure stated: “Pervaded by this trend [the liberal one], Metropolitan Şaguna, who always stood up to the height of his time’s spirit, when he wanted to transform his Church into a lasting and useful institution he inevitably had to embody the liberal democracy into its constitution, which was already ruling the entire civilised world.”[72] We think that this opinion was assumed from the confusing considerations which Ioan Mateiu had expressed in one of his works on the ecclesiastical organization conceived by Şaguna. Firstly Mateiu wrote that the participation of the laymen in the ecclesiastical leadership was “a result of the historical evolution, which the ideas of 1848s gave the possibility to get crystallized irrevocably in safe and modern constitutional forms to. […] this trend of wide ecclesiastical democratization was not borrowed from the Protestants; it is a natural and impetuous effect of the political revolution…”[73] But further on he stressed that “the mixed synodality has existed in our Church; it is in no case an invention of the 1848s, or a replica of the Protestant constitutions.”[74] Otherwise Ioan Mateiu has the merit to be the first author of a historical-canonistical argumentation of the Transylvanian Church’s organization. The same thing did later in a more developed form the canonist Liviu Stan.

The latter canonist concluded himself that one cannot admit that the reappearance of the mixed synods in the second half of the nineteenth century is explained as just a simple innovation, in accordance with the democratic doctrine after 1848. The spirit of that time did not bring anything new to the Church, it did not create any new principle for it; it just supported the measures of reviving an old Orthodox institution taken by the Church’s leaders who knew how to find and use the favourable moments. The liberal doctrine of that time did not create a new principle for the Church; it only eased the achievement of an everlasting principle of the Christian Church.[75]

[1] Ioan Mateiu states that there were two brothers, but in reality there was one author, who signed himself with his lay name (Radoslav) or his friar name (Emilijan). Cf. I. MATEIU, Contribuţiuni la istoria dreptului bisericesc, 275-278.

    “Der Mönch Emilijan (Geburtsname Radoslav) von Radić entstammte einer serbischen Adelsfamilie und wurde 1857 im Banat geboren. Er studierte Theologie in Moskau, Jura in Prag und Philosophie in Pest. Als erster Serbe erlangte er ein Doktorat in der Theologie. Als Mönch war er zunächst Protosynkellos, dann lehrte er am Priesterseminar in Karlovci und war anschließend in verschiedenen Klöstern in leitenden Funktionen. Sein Wunsch, Bischof zu werden, erfüllte sich jedoch nicht. 1907 verstarb er in Baden-Baden.” Th. BREMER, Ekklesiale Struktur, 88.

[2] See Radoslav Edler von RADIČ, Die Verfassung des obersten Kirchenregiments in der orthodox-katholischen Kirche bei den Serben in Österreich-Ungarn, Werschetz 1877.

[3] Ibid., 98-99: “Der § XVIII, der im J. 1875 sanctionierten Kongreßorganisation bestimmt ‘dass sich die Geschäftssphäre des Kongresses nicht erstreckt auf die dogmatischen, sacramentalen und liturgischen Sachen, wie auch auf die Disziplin in spiritualibus, welche sich auf die kirchliche Zucht und Ordnung bezieht’ – mithin also dies den synodalen Wirkungskreis zu bilden hat! Dieser § ist buchstäblich entlehnt dem walachischen ‘Org. Statut’. In den letztern wurde er von Schaguna hineingespielt (vgl. sein Compendium, S. 391, § 409, 3). Ein für allemal bemerken wir hier, dass Schaguna’s Compendium um ein Jahr älter ist (1868) als das walachische ‘Organische Statut’ (sanct. im J. 1869), und dieses wieder 5-6 Jahre älter ist als die neueren Beschlüsse der serbischen Laiencongresse (1870-1875). Dies führen wir deswegen an, damit es evident wird, dass nicht Schaguna und sein ‘Organisches Statut’ die Beschlüsse der serbischen Laiencongresse plagiirten und abschrieben, sondern dass dies umgekehrt der Fall war.”

[4] See Emilian Edler von RADIČ, Die Verfassung der orthodox-serbischen und orthodox-rumänischen Partikular-Kirchen in Österreich-Ungarn, Serbien und Rumänien, Prag 1880.

[5] Ibid., II. Buch, 96.

[6] Guilielmus Beveregius (William Beveridge) (1637-1708) is the author of some important canon law books: Synodikon sive Pandectae canonum SS. Apostolorum et Conciliorum ab ecclesia Graeca receptorum, 2 volumes, 1672;  Codex canonum ecclesiae primitivae vindicatus ac illustratus, 1678. Cf. Beveridge, William, in: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 198.

[7] For the criticism of Şaguna by Radić see Th. BREMER, Ekklesiale Struktur, 96-99.

[8] I. MATEIU, Contribuţiuni la istoria dreptului bisericesc, 276.

[9] See Th. BREMER, Ekklesiale Struktur, 27-31.

The previous organization of the Serbian Church, from the eighteenth century, considered the Russian Church’s organization – itself under the Protestant influences – introduced by Tsar Peter the Great. Cf. A. HUDAL, Die serbisch-orthodoxe Nationalkirche, 44.

Peter the Great had “das monarchische Patriarchat gestürzt und durch das System der Kollegialverwaltung ersetzt. Damit began für die Verfassung der russischen Kirche eine eigenartige Entwicklung, in der das weltliche Element in die Kirchenverwaltung immer stärker eingriff und unter dem Vorbild der protestantischen Nationalkirchen das Amt des Oberprokurators entstand.” A. HUDAL, Die serbisch-orthodoxe Nationalkirche, 20.

In the light of the above-cited lines is to see how Radič’s tendentious statements about the influences of the “Protestant” Şaguna’s ecclesiastical organization on the Serbian Church’s organization of the nineteenth century made “school” among the Catholic scholars. In spite of the fact that the Catholic author of the above lines clearly wrote about the Protestant influences on Russian track on the life of the Church in Serbia after the seventeenth century, he even wrote too: “In die Karlowitzer Kirche kam durch den siebenbürgerischen Metropoliten A. Schaguna, ein neuer, auch der Orthodoxer Kirche nach allgemeinem Recht fremder Zug hinein – die überragende Bedeutung des Laientums, da Schaguna die Konsistorien nach ihren Agenden in einen rein verwaltungstechnischen und rein kirchlichen Teil schied.” A. HUDAL, Die serbisch-orthodoxe Nationalkirche, 20.

[10] In the first edition of his book on Catholic, Oriental and Protestant canon law, published when he was a professor in Czernowitz, Friedrich H. Vering did not make any negative remarks on Andrei Şaguna’s “Compendium” (F. H. VERING, Lehrbuch, 1876, 17); the first mention of Andrei Şaguna’s “Protestant conceptions” appears in the second edition of the book, when he was a professor in Prague, where the young Radoslav Radič was studying Law (F. H. VERING, Lehrbuch, ²1881, 22). This change in the evaluation of Andrei Şaguna’s work leads to the probable conclusion that, in Prague, Vering personally knew Radoslav Radič and “borrowed” his opinions on Andrei Şaguna. He wrote in his book’s third edition: “Derselbe [Şaguna] verfasste auch ein populäres, das orientalische Kirchenrecht vielfach nach protestant.[ischen] Anschauungen umgestaltendes ‘Compendium…’.” (F. H. Vering, Lehrbuch, 31893, 24).

[11] “In demselben [Organischen Statut] gelangten, […], die von den protestantischen Siebenbürger Sachsen entlehnten, mit der hierarchischen Grundverfassung der orientalischen Kirche nicht im Einklang stehenden Grundsätze, wonach die Gemeinde und überwiegend die Laienrepräsentanz in allen kirchlichen Verwaltungssachen eine entscheidende Stimme zu beanspruchen hat, zur Geltung.” F. H. Vering, Lehrbuch, 31893, 372.

[12] Cf. F. H. Vering, Lehrbuch, 31893, 662 et seqq.

[13] Conflict of investitures (Ger. Investiturstreit) is the terminus technicus for the great struggle between the popes and the German kings Henry IV and Henry V, during the period 1075-1122. During the Middle Ages a rivalry had always existed between the popes and the emperors, twin representatives, so to speak, of authority. Cf. Rudolf SCHIEFFER, Investiturstreit, in: LThK, ³1993-2001, Bd. 5, 570-573; Werner GOEZ, Investiturstreit, in: TRE, Bd. 16, 237-247.

[14] Cf. J. SCHNEIDER, Der Hermannstädter Metropolit, 199.

[15] Alexandru Grama (1850-1896) attended philosophy and theology courses at the Viennese University, with a doctorate in 1877. He was a professor of canon law and ecclesiastical history at the Greek Catholic theological Seminary in Blaj (1877-1893), simultaneously holding other positions in the Uniate Church (canonist, rector of the Seminary). He published a series of didactic books, as well as a few historical works, but from a confessional point of view; he attracted the disgrace of the public opinion and of the literary critics with a study on poet Mihai Eminescu, in which he disparaged him and his poetry or trend.  Cf. M. PĂCURARIU, Dicţionarul teologilor români, 204.

[16] Augustin Bunea (1857-1909) attended philosophy and theology courses at “De Propaganda Fide” College in Rome (1877-1882), where he got the doctorate (1882); he was ordained priest at Rome (1881), appointed in the service of the metropolitan office in Blaj (1882-1886), professor at the Greek Catholic theological Seminary in Blaj (1886-1888), secretary of the metropolitan (1888-1895), canonist (starting from 1895). He published a series of works on the history of Transylvania, especially on the church history, using new sources, but presenting biased the facts, from a confessional point of view. Cf. M. PĂCURARIU, Dicţionarul teologilor români, 73.

[17] See Alexandru GRAMA, Institutiunile calvinesci în biserica românéscă din Ardélu, Blaşiŭ 1895.

[18] Ibid., 58-61.

[19] Cf. ibid., 11-23.

[20] Cf. ibid., 29-39.

[21] Cf. ibid., 40-53.

[22] L. STAN, Mirenii în biserică, 169.

[23] See Augustin BUNEA, Discursuri. Autonomia bisericească. Diverse, Blaj 1903.

[24] See Karl W. SCHWARZ, Verfassungsbemühungen nach 1848, 94-238; Jakob RANNICHER, Die neue Verfassung der evangelischen Landeskirche Augsburger Bekenntnisses in Siebenbürgen auf Grundlage ämtlicher Quellen, Hermannstadt 21857.

[25] I. MATEIU, Contribuţiuni la istoria dreptului bisericesc, 265.

[26] A. BUNEA, Discursuri. Autonomia bisericească. Diverse, 381.

[27] Cf. P. BRUSANOWSKI, Reforma constituţională, 46-56; J. SCHNEIDER, Der Hermannstädter Metropolit, 106-107, 196-198.

[28] About the Saxon University and the Transylvanian Saxons’ privileges see the chapter I.1.1 herein.

[29] See Konrad GÜNDISCH, Die „Geistliche Universität“ der Sächsischen Kirchengemeinden im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert, in: Konfessionsbildung und Konfessionskultur in Siebenbürgen in der Frühen Neuzeit, hrsg. von Volker Leppin – Ulrich A. Wien, Stuttgart 2005, 105-113.

[30] Ibid., 111.

[31] See it in: G[eorg] D[aniel] TEUTSCH, Urkundenbuch der Evangelischen Landeskirche A.B. in Siebenbürgen, Erster Theil, Hermannstadt 1862, 36 et seqq..

[32] See Ulrich A. WIEN, Einleitung, in: Die Kirchenordnungen der Evangelischen Kirche A. B. in Siebenbürgen (1807-1997) hrsg. von Ulrich A. Wien – Karl W. Schwarz, Köln u.a. 2005, 1-5.

[33] Ibid., 6-7.

[34] Ibid., 8 and 19-70.

[35] See it at K. W. SCHWARZ, Verfassungsbemühungen nach 1848, 165-238.

[36] Cf. ibid., 94; J. RANNICHER, Die neue Verfassung 21857, 7-13.

[37] Cf. I. MATEIU, Contribuţiuni la istoria dreptului bisericesc, 270-273.

[38] Ibid., 273. See the same conclusion after the comparation of the Evangelical Church’s constitution with “The Organic Statute” at P. BRUSANOWSKI, Reforma constituţională, 55.

[39] Cf. Anticritic’a, 24. On the friendship Andrei Şaguna – Jakob Rannicher see the chapter III.2.8 herein.

[40] Cf. J. SCHNEIDER, Der Hermannstädter Metropolit, 102-106.

A relevant episode for the groundlessness of the affirmation that Jakob Rannicher would be the author of the “Project of Regulation” is presented in the chapter IV.2 herein.

[41] We have considered useless the enumeration of other types of criticisms than the strictly theological-canonical ones. For example, it was left out the inter-war polemic around the freemasonic character of “The Organic Statute”, derived from the fact that the president of the congress’ commission of 1868 appointed for to analyze Andrei Şaguna’s “Project of Regulation” – Gheorghe Ioanovici – was a freemason. On this issue see Dimitrie BRAHARU, Un colaborator al lui Şaguna, secretarul de stat Gh. Ioanovici (One of Şaguna’s Co-workers, the State Secretary Gh. Ioanovici), Cluj 1932; Ernest ARMEANCA, Statutul organic, operă francmasonică? (The Organic Statute, a Freemason’s Work?), in: “Patria”, 21 January 1933; IDEM, Gheorghe Ioanovici şi Statutul organic, zis ,,şagunian” (Gheorghe Ioanovici and The Organic Statute, so-called Şaguna’s Statute), in: “Patria”, 23 February 1933; Dumitru STĂNILOAE, În zadar: Statutul organic e şagunian (In Vain: The Organic Statute Belongs to Şaguna), Sibiu 1933.

[42] Some Romanian Orthodox criticisms see also at  P. BRUSANOWSKI, Reforma constituţională, 35-40.

[43] Melchisedec (Mihail) Ştefănescu (1823-1892) was named bishop of the Lower Danube Eparchy, with the residence in Ismail (1865-1879), by a decree signed by Alexandru Ioan Cuza; later, he was elected bishop of the Eparchy of Roman (1879-1892). He was one of the best historians of his time. As a member of the Holy Synod he forwarded a series of proposals concerning the development of the church life, the improvement of the clergy’s material status, and especially the recognition of the autocephaly of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Cf. M. PĂCURARIU, Dicţionarul teologilor români, 483.

[44] The name “Holy Synod” is given – in the Romanian Orthodox Church – to the synod composed of all the bishops in the country.

[45] See Primatul României CALINIC, Mitropolit IOSIF, Episcop MELCHISEDEK, Studiŭ despre ierarchia şi instituţiunea sinodală în Biserica Orthodoxă a Resăritului în genere şi despre ierarchia şi instituţiunea sinodală în Biserica Orthodoxă Română în specialŭ, Bucureşti 1883.

[46] Ibid., 26.

[47] Ibid., 29.

[48] Ibid., 34.

[49] I. MATEIU, Contribuţiuni la istoria dreptului bisericesc, 265.

[50] Cf. I. MATEIU, Contribuţiuni la istoria dreptului bisericesc, 273; Gr. COMŞA, Modificarea legii de organizare a Bisericii noastre, 14-15; P. BRUSANOWSKI, Reforma constituţională, 38.

[51] See the chapter V.1 herein.

[52] N. IORGA, Oameni cari au fost, 47-48.

[53] See N. IORGA, Istoria românilor din Ardeal  şi Ungaria, vol. II, 134-138. One of the most visible contradictions is proved by the affirmations concerning the conversion to Catholicism of the child Anastasie Şaguna (see above, chapter II.2). Even his Christian name was mistaken by Iorga: “for Atanasie was his first name, like his uncle’s.” (N. IORGA, Istoria Bisericii româneşti şi a vieţii religioase a românilor, vol. II, 274).

[54] N. IORGA, Istoria românilor din Ardeal  şi Ungaria, vol. II, 134.

[55] Ibid., 138.

[56] G. PIŞCULESCU, Apologia unei legi, 30-31.

[57] L. STAN, Mitropolitul Nicolae, 215-219.

[58] Because of the Marxist-Leninist epithet of “reactionary”, “imperialist” under the charge of the Austrian Monarchy, even Andrei Şaguna’s image in the public space was forbidden, after 1948, at least for a decade. An Orthodox priest (Zosim Oancea), who published in 1948 the church calendar “Credinţa” (“The Faith”) with Andrei Şaguna and Avram Iancu’s portraits on the front page, was condemned to ten years imprisonment in Aiud Jail. Cf. Paul CARAVIA, The Imprisoned Church. Romania, 1944-1989, Bucharest 1999, 282.

[59] See the chapter VII.6 herein.

[60] C. DRĂGUŞIN, Legile bisericeşti ale lui Cuza Vodă, 94.

[61] A. PLĂMĂDEALĂ, Momentul Şaguna în istoria Bisericii Transilvaniei, 211.

[62] See the chapters IV.4.1 and V.2 herein.

[63] See Paul BRUSANOWSKI, Reforma constituţională din Biserica Ortodoxă a Transilvaniei între 1850- 1925, Cluj-Napoca 2007.

[64] Ibid., 62-67, 106.

Johann Baptist von Hirscher was between 1817 and 1837 professor of moral and pastoral theology at Tübingen University, and between 1837 and 1863 professor of moral theology and catechetics at the University of Freiburg. Hirscher exerted a great influence in the domain of moral theology, homiletics, and catechetics. His ideas on the reform of the Church were open to suspicion. So the pamphlet on the present state of the religion – “Die kirchlichen Zustände der Gegenwart” – published in 1849 at Tübingen was put on the Index. This brochure together with another one on the social condition of the present day and the Church – “Die socialen Zustände der Gegenwart” – created a profound sensation, for in them Hirscher showed himself hostile to the Catholic Associations’ movement, which gave birth to the first general Congress of the German Catholics at Mains, in 1848; he feared that the movement might lead to imprudent demonstrations by the Catholics. He preferred lay associations to be undenominational, and favoured a synodal organization in which the laity would be represented, and which should be periodically convened by the bishops and presided over by them. Cf. Friedrich Wilhelm BAUTZ, Hirscher, Johann Baptist von, in: BBKL, Bd. 2, 897-899; Walter FÜRST, Hirscher, Johann Baptist von, in: LThK, ³1993-2001, Bd. 5, 153 et seq.; F. C. LEHNER, Hirscher, Johann, in: The New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 6, 861.

[65] P. BRUSANOWSKI, Reforma constituţională, 67; IDEM, Principiile şi izvoarele Statutului Organic Şagunian, 46.

[66] In this context it is to remark once more the importance of two canonical principles of the Orthodox Church – the eparchial autonomy and the synodal, not papal leadership – which made possible the “incarnation” of such positive and progressive thoughts hundred years sooner in the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Transylvania as in the Catholic Church, without waiting for any supervision from Rome, Constantinople or anywhere, but just taking into consideration the spirit of the primary Church, the canons of the first Christian millennium and the spiritual needs of the believers.

[67] “Şaguna cătră Hurmuzachi” “(“Şaguna to Hurmuzachi”), dated Sibiu, February 18, 1861, in: Il. PUŞCARIU, Metropolia, colecţia de acte, 185-187 here 185.

[68] Cf. the chapter VII.4 herein.

[69] I. MATEIU, Contribuţiuni la istoria dreptului bisericesc, 258-259.

[70] K. HITCHINS, Conştiinţă naţională şi acţiune politică, 127.

[71] Cf. ibid., 127-128.

[72] Gh. TULBURE, Activitatea literară, 52.

[73] I. MATEIU, Contribuţiuni la istoria dreptului bisericesc, 101.

[74] Ibid., 104.

[75] Cf. L. STAN, Mirenii în biserică, 238-239.


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