NEWS FROM THE ROMANIAN PATRIARCHATE
HIS EMINENCE +DANIEL OF MOLDOVIA,
ELECTED AS THE SIXTH PATRIARCH OF ROMANIA
Following the death of Patriarch Teoctist at the end of August, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) has elected on Wednesday its sixth Patriarch, former bishop Daniel of Moldavia. Out of 30 high ranked clergy members, three have qualified for the last tours. In the last elections tour, Daniel won more votes than Bartolomeu of Cluj.
The sixth Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) was elected on Wednesday within a special ceremony that lasted through the day and ended late in the evening, after the third tour of elections in the Holy Synod. The new patriarch will see the official installation in about three weeks.
The elected bishop was also the interim Patriarch.
Bishops Daniel of Moldavia and Bartolomeu of Cluj qualified for the final elections tour, after a third bishop, Ioan of Covasna and Harghita, failed to gather nore than18 votes (sources say that the tour result also shown that Daniel had 80 votes and Bartolomeu - 62).
Romanian Orthodox Church enthrones new patriarch
Dozens of Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant clerics attended a ceremony, joined by hundreds of Orthodox faithful and the country's political leaders.
Daniel was elected patriarch Sept. 12. The previous patriarch, Teoctist, was elected during the Communist period. He died in July of a heart attack at age 92.
Daniel, 56, is one of the youngest bishops in the church, known for his ecumenical stance and desire to modernize the church.
The Eastern Rite Catholic Church, with which the Orthodox Church has property disputes over churches seized by the state during communism, said it welcomed Daniel as the new patriarch.
Ninety priests, most of them Orthodox from Romania and other Christian Orthodox countries, but also from other Christian denominations attended the ceremony. President Traian Basescu, former president Ion Iliescu and former King Michael were also there.
People who woke up early were disappointed not to be allowed in the small Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest, the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Two huge television screens were set up nearby so that Romanians who gathered outside could witness the event.
During the ceremony, the new patriarch was given a series of objects, including a silver staff, symbol of his authority, and a white headdress.
The Romanian Orthodox patriarch is the only one among Orthodox heads of church to be dressed completely in white. The dress code was adopted in the 1930s as a way of distinguishing the Romanians among the orthodox faithful.
"We want to intensify the church's mission beyond the walls of the church," said the new patriarch, who added that he wished the church became more involved in the life of Romanians. He announced plans to launch a radio, a TV station and a newspaper.
Daniel was one of the founding members of a group proposing renewal for the Orthodox Church. But the group was disbanded in 1990 after he was elected Metropolitan of Iasi, a traditional stepping stone to becoming patriarch.
Born in 1951 in western Romania, Daniel spent 12 years in western Europe studying theology and was a teacher at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Switzerland - a rare privilege for Romanians who often were prevented from traveling abroad.
An estimated 87 per cent of Romania's 22 million inhabitants are Orthodox, and the church has enjoyed a revival since communism fell in 1989.
The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America was represented at the new Patriarch's enthronement by His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel, accompanied by the Very Rev. Fathers Remus Grama and Laurence Lazar.