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Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Southeastern Europe$
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Lucian N. Leustean

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256068

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256068.001.0001

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The Romanian Orthodox Church

The Romanian Orthodox Church

(p.101) Chapter 5 The Romanian Orthodox Church
Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Southeastern Europe

Lucian N. Leustean

Fordham University Press

This chapter investigates the evolution of the Orthodox Church in the Romanian-inhabited territories of Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia. The 1859 union between the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia under the rule of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1859-1866) was closely connected to the rise of the Romanian Orthodox Church outside the jurisdictional authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Imposing control of the Church, Cuza introduced the secularisation of monasteries, declared Romanian as the only language spoken in religious rituals, and established a church council, or Synod, that followed his rule. Comparable to Greece's political trajectory, Romanian political leaders sought support from European powers and elected the Roman Catholic Prince Carol I from the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family (1866-1914) as head of state. The Romanian Orthodox Church declared autocephaly in 1865, and was recognised by Constantinople in 1885. The proclamation of the Romanian independent kingdom in 1881 was accompanied by increased control of the Church by the state, which led to ecclesiastical instability. Romania provides a unique case within Orthodox Christianity in Southeastern Europe as a competitor church, the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, was one of the most active supporters of national identity in Transylvania under the Habsburg Empire.

Keywords:   Romanian Orthodox Church, Nationalism, Moldavia, Wallachia, Transylvania, Bukovina, Bessarabia, Greater Romania

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