On 23 August 1944 Romania severed the links with Germany and joined the Allied Forces until the end of the war. By the truce with the Soviet Union, Romania lost Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina (which was also certified by the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947). Owing to influence from Moscow and the presence of Soviet troops on its territory, Romania was to be turned into a 'popular republic' (in 1947), which was later to become 'socialist'. Dramatic changes occurred in the political, social and economic structure of the country, especially after 1965, when Nicolae Ceausescu became the leader of the Communist Party and the state leader from 1967 until 1989. The Church was totally marginalized; it became a barely tolerated institution, permanently supervised and controlled by the state authorities, particularly the secret police, the 'Securitate'. The Church was forced to adapt to these changes in order to avoid the unfortunate situation experienced by the Russian Church after the 1917 Communist Revolution, and lest it should be abolished, as had happened to churches in China and in Albania. As early as 1948, the study of religion was forbidden in schools, services were banned in hospitals and prisons, bishopric centres were abolished, and several hierarchs were pensioned off by the state. The Faculty of Theology in Suceava (which had taken refuge here from Chisinau) was abolished, as were four theological academies in Transylvania and Banat and all seminaries (they subsequently re-opened, gradually, as middle schools). Newspapers and periodicals were suppressed and whatever books were still published were censored in Bucharest. Links with Orthodox communities abroad were also forbidden.

From 1945 clergymen were arrested sporadically, a practice that intensified in 1948, and from 1959 to 1964, after which all political prisoners in Romania were released. According to recent statistics, over 1,700 (out of 9,000) Orthodox priests and monks were arrested in that period, along with Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic priests, Protestant and neo-Protestant ministers. A former Metropolitan of Bukovina, Visarion Puiu, was condemned to death in his absence, three priests were executed for having participated in the armed resistance in the Fagaras Mountains, while many others were condemned to hard labour and died in prisons. Some priests in Bessarabia and Bukovina were arrested by the Soviets and deported to Siberia. Important professors of theology were arrested: in Bucharest: Nichifor Crainic, Teodor Popescu, Dumitru Staniloae; in Chisinau: Ioan Savin, Constantin Tomescu; in Arad: Ilarion Felea; and in Cluj: Liviu Munteanu. The last two died in prison, along with hundreds of other priests, monks, nuns and students. The few survivors were released only after twenty years.

Dozens of monasteries and hermitages were closed down in 1959, and the monks and nuns excluded from the monastic orders and forced to work in industrial plants. Massive church demolishing began in Bucharest in the 1960s. Some of the churches were historical and cultural monuments, but the protests from the patriarchate were ignored.

Despite these hardships, a number of tactful and visionary leaders of the Church, among whom Patriarch Justinian Marina (1948-1977) was a providential figure, made it possible for the Church to keep functioning, albeit within rigid confines. Earlier on 4 August 1948, the new Law for the Organization of the Cults had been passed, whereby fourteen cults were acknowledged: Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian-Gregorian, Old Rite Christian, Reformed (Calvinist), Lutheran-Evangelical, Synodo-Presbyterian, Jewish, Muslim, Baptist, Adventist, Pentecostal and Evangelical-Christian. In 1948, the Holy Synod voted for the new Romanian Orthodox Church Statute, which had to be adapted to the new situation in the country.

The number of bishopric seats was dramatically reduced, while those in Chisinau and Cernauti were subordinated to the Patriarchate of Moscow and had Russian hier-archs. A new bishopric seat was created in the United States as a result of Romanian state interference in diaspora affairs, the one created in 1934 having broken the links with Romania. A Romanian Missionary Bishopric centre was created for Central Europe in Paris in 1972, but few western states acknowledged it. On the other hand, new parishes were founded abroad for Romanian refugees, with priests appointed by the Romanian church officials.

Some other hierarchs deserve mention, although their biographies cannot be given here: Patriarch Iustin Moisescu (1977-86) and Patriarch Teoctist Arapasu, honorary member of the Romanian Academy and previously Metropolitan of Oltenia and Moldavia. Important metropolitans have been: Firmilian Marin of Oltenia (1947-72),

Nicolae Colan (1957-67) and Nicolae Mladin (1967-81) of Ardeal, Antonie Plamadeala of Ardeal (1982-2005), Nestor Vornicescu of Oltenia (1978-2000), Vasile Lazarescu (1947-61) and Nicolae Corneanu (since 1962) of Banat, Bishops Iosif Gafton of Ramnic and Arges (1944-84) and Vasile Coman of Oradea (1971-92). The professors who taught at the two theology institutes that had not been abolished were noteworthy for their ecumenical activity: in Bucharest: Dumitru Staniloae, Ioan Coman. Liviu Stan, Nicolae Chitescu, Ene Braniste, Alexandru Ciurea, Petru Rezus, Ioan Ramureanu; and in Sibiu: Nicolae Neaga, Grigorie Marcu, Nicolae Mladin, Milan Sesan, Dumitru Belu, Isidor Todoran, Teodor Bodogae. They published in the few periodicals that were allowed to continue after 1948. Few theological works proper were published because of the restrictions imposed by the press censor. Papers on church art and history, as well as textbooks were published, nevertheless. The patriarchate was allowed to reprint service books and three editions of the Bible. A positive development was the fact that many churches were repainted and about five hundred new ones were built throughout the country. As a result of Patriarch Justinian's efforts, the first Romanian martyrs were canonized in 1955.

The links with other churches (especially those involved in the ecumenical movement) were gradually re-established, which was convenient for the Communist regime, since it created a positive image for it. At first, these links involved only churches in socialist countries, but they were subsequently extended to the patriarchates in Istanbul, Alexandria, Jerusalem and in Antioch. The Romanian representatives made an important contribution at the pan-Orthodox Conferences in Rhodes and Chambesy in Switzerland. Links with Oriental Orthodox Churches were also established: the Armenian one in Ecimiadzin (in the former Soviet Union), the Coptic one in Egypt, the Ethiopian, and the Syrian Orthodox churches in South India. The links with the Roman Catholic Churches of Austria, Germany and Belgium and with Anglican and Protestant Churches, were consolidated by summits and by student and faculty exchange programmes.

In 1961, when the Romanian Church was able to resume its involvement in the World Council of Churches, it sent its delegates to the general meetings in New Delhi (1961), Uppsala (1968), Nairobi (19 75) and Vancouver (1983). Many hierarchs and theologians were active in various boards of the Ecumenical Council, and Patriarchs Justinian and Justin visited its headquarters in Geneva. In turn, many leaders of this organization visited the Romanian hierarchs. Many Romanian theologians are active as part of the European Church Conference in Geneva, as well as in committees for dialogue with the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches, and with representatives of the Islamic and Judaic religions.

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