Romanians are a Christian nation, but they are very tolerant from the religious point of view: coexisting in harmony with Islamic, Jewish or other religious communities for hundreds of years.
Romania does not have a religion dictated by the state. According with the constitutional rights, the citizens of Romania are free to adopt any religious worship they want. Romanians are among the top 10 most religious nations in the world! Over 90% of Romanians are true believers. (source of info: Religiosity and Atheism index).
Of the total population we have more than 80% of believers on Christian-Orthodox rite, 5% Roman Catholic, 3% Reformed, 0.5% Muslim, the rest of the percentages being other religions or atheists. (according to the latest population census)
The importance of the Church
After the withdrawal of the military and administration troops of the Roman Empire (during Roman Emperor Aurelian), the early Romanian communities were organized in the village communes. Each village was self-governed after organizing the counsel of elders and its own set of rules and laws.
The Church played an important role in the ethnogenesis of the Romanian people. Traditionally the village was organized around the central market and the Church. The early Christian church was a factor of equilibrium and continuity. The main values, traditions and cultural elements have been preserved and transmitted by the church and their representatives.
During the invasions of migratory populations (barbarians), people found their shelter in front of the invaders, behind the fortified walls of the Monasteries, in the forests or caves surrounding the hermitages inhabited by the hermit monks.
In order to celebrate important victories in battles, the Wallachian or Moldavian voivodes raised monasteries. In this way, the famous medieval monastery chain from Moldova and Bucovina was born. These monasteries, today under protection of UNESCO heritage, are known to be the oldest and best preserved Orthodox monasteries still in use!
It was not a foreign habit for the romanians, during the battles, remaining without provisions and reinforcements, to melt theirs bells of churches to produce ammunition.
The Church has supported the Romanian leaders’ efforts to fight invaders. In the Plumbuita Monastery in Bucharest, a Wallachian Voivode ordered that the whole roof to be melted, in need of cannon balls.
Even today, Romanian Orthodox Church fights in the spirit of the Romanian people. An important passage from the national anthem of Romania is dedicated to the church:
“Preoti cu crucea-n frunte! caci oastea e crestina” – “Priests with the cross in your forehead! Because the army is Christian”!
fragment of the national anthem of Romania
What can represent better than the close link between the people of Romania and the Christian roots?
The faith of the Romanian people during the communist era
The faith of the romanian people, during the Soviet influence (1947-1989) was seriously put to the test. The Master Plan of the Soviets was simple: to unravel this people of religion, values, and traditions to be a more easily manipulated people.
Communists began to demolish the churches, arrest priests, and ban religious feasts. Important holidays such as Easter or Christmas were looking to be forgotten. Authorities did not recognize these days as National Holidays, and people were forced to come to work. These things did not prevent people from believing, but instead strengthened their faith! Hidden in the locker rooms or behind the offices, our parents and grandparents were celebrating, making gifts, singing carols and religious songs: they believed!
Christian priests who refused to become snitchers for the regime were persecuted. Arrested in the terrible political prisons, under heavy conditions, the priests did not forget to do their duty: they served religious services, passed through the Morse code.
The Romanian faith has triumphed: the communist regime collapsed, and so did the walls of the prisons!
Now, these people are free to honor God as he thinks fit