name = Teoctist Arăpaşu (Patriarch Teoctist of Romania)
caption = Patriarch Teoctist visits the photo exhibit "Images of 9/11" by
Joel Meyerowitzat the Romanian National Theateron Sept. 11, 2006
birth_date = birth date|1915|02|07
birth_place = Tocileni,
death_date = death date and age|2007|7|30|1915|2|7
Teoctist, born Toader Arăpaşu (
February 7, 1915– July 30, 2007), was the Patriarchof the Romanian Orthodox Churchfrom 1986 to 2007.
Teoctist served his first years as patriarch under the Romanian Communist regime, and was accused by some of collaboration. He offered his resignation after the
Romanian Revolution of 1989, but was soon restored to office and served a further 17 years.
A promoter of ecumenical dialog, Patriarch Teoctist invited
Pope John Paul IIto visit Romaniain 1999. It was the first visit of a Popeto a predominantly Eastern Orthodoxcountry since the East-West Schismof 1054.
tudies and ecclesiastic career
He was born as the tenth of eleven children of Dumitru and Marghioala Arăpaşu, of Tocileni,
Botoşani County. He attended the primary school in Tocileni (1921-1927).
In 1928, Arăpaşu became a novice at Sihăstria Voronei Hermitage, and later at Vorona Monastery. He became a monk on
6 August 1935at the Bistriţa-Neamţ Monastery. In 1940, he began his studies at Theology School at the University of Bucharest, from which he graduated in 1945. On March 1 1945, he was sent to Iaşi, where he was ordained hieromonkon 25 March 1945, and archimandritein 1946. Between 1946 and 1947, he studied Literature and Philosophy at the University of Iaşi.
At the beginning of 1947, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church revoked Arăpaşu's archimandrite rank due to his pro-Communist opinions, the decision being published in the official newsletter of the Romanian Patriarchy, the "Biserica Ortodoxă Română" ["Biserica Ortodoxă Română", no. 1-3 (January-March 1947).] .
Ascension to the patriarchal chair
In 1948, Justinian became Patriarch of Romania and in 1950, Arăpaşu became patriarchal bishop-vicar, being the secretary of the Holy Synod and the rector of the Theological Institute of Bucharest between 1950 and 1954.
In 1962, Arăpaşu was named bishop of Arad. In 1963, an attempt to make him the leader of the Romanian Orthodox community of the
United Statesfailed after the U.S. authorities refused to grant him a visa. In 1973, he became the Archbishop of Craiovaand Metropolitan of Olteniaand in 1977 the Metropolitan of Moldavia and Suceava.
In 1986, he became the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. He was accused of obedience to the Communist authorities, culminating with the approval of the demolition of 26 historic churches in Bucharest. He sent many congratulatory telegrams to
Nicolae Ceauşescu, who also gave him many valuable old prints and other heritage objects.Fact|date=August 2007
Between 1975 and 1989, he was also a member of
Marea Adunare Naţională, the Romanian parliament. For instance, in the 1985 elections, he was elected to the Parliament, being the only candidate who ran in the 9th electoral district - Belceşti( Iaşi County), being nominated by Gheorghe Zaharia, the Executive Secretary of the County People's Council. [ [http://www.ziaruldeiasi.ro/cms/site/z_is/news/ultimii_deputati_comunisti_ai_iasului_126939.html "Ultimii deputaţi comunişti ai Iaşului"] , "Ziarul de Iaşi", October 17 2005] He was also a delegate to the "Socialist Unity and Democracy Front" congresses and a member of Ceauşescu's "National Peace Committee". [Stan and Turcescu, p. 34]
The 1989 Revolution
18 December 1989, at the start of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Holy Synod had a meeting in which Teoctist announced that he agreed with the repression of the anti-communist movement in Timişoara, claiming the events were caused by foreign interference. [http://www.romanialibera.ro/a102585/cumpana-patriarhului.html "Cumpăna Patriarhului"] , in " România Liberă", 2 August 2007] He sent a telegram to Ceauşescu, praising him for his "brilliant activity", "wise guidance", "daring thinking" and claiming that the Romanians live "in a golden age, properly and righteously bearing [Ceauşescu's] name". Michael Bourdeaux, [http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2142900,00.html "Obituary: Patriarch Teoctist"] , in " The Guardian", August 7, 2007]
Just a few hours after the Ceauşescus ran away, Teoctist signed his resignation and fled incognito to the
Sinaia Monastery, a location allegedly suggested to him by Gelu Voican Voiculescu. On 18 January 1990, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church accepted the patriarch's resignation by announcing that he retired from his office, without giving any motivation.
In April 1990, The Holy Synod unanimously revoked its decision to accept the resignation and Teoctist was reinstated, claiming that he withdrew temporarily for health reasons. According to the Tismăneanu Report, this has been seen by the Romanian
intelligentsiaas a harmful event and the start of the neo-Communist restoration in Romania. Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania, [http://www.presidency.ro/static/ordine/RAPORT_FINAL_CADCR.pdf Final Report of the Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania] , p. 467]
Activity after 1989
After 1989, Arăpaşu promoted religious education at all levels of education and founded new theological seminaries as well as schools for church singers, historical monument restoration, and other specialties. He also organized foreign scholarships.
In May 1999, Patriarch Teoctist received the visit of
Pope John Paul IIto Romania. This was the first time a Pope had visited a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054, the event that separated Eastern Orthodoxyand Western Catholicism. On his arrival, the Patriarch and the President of Romania, Emil Constantinescu, greeted the Pope. The Patriarch stated, "The second millennium of Christian history began with a painful wounding of the unity of the Church; the end of this millennium has seen a real commitment to restoring Christian unity." On 9 May, the Pope and the Patriarch each attended a worship service (an Orthodox Liturgy and a Catholic Mass, respectively) conducted by the other. A crowd of hundreds of thousands of people turned up to attend the worship services, which were held in the open air.
In 1981, when he was the Metropolitan of Moldavia, Teoctist used money from the Orthodox Church to sponsor the Politehnica Iaşi football team and justified this as being an attempt to do something good for the local community. [
Cotidianul, [http://www.9am.ro/revistapresei/Sport/10081/Teoctist-a-bagat-bani-In-fotbal Teoctist a bagat bani in fotbal] , 5 May 2005]
After 1989, various accusations were made in the Romanian press, including that he was a collaborator of the
Securitate, the political police in Romania, that he allegedly was homosexual and that as a "legionnaire" (member of the "Legion of the Archangel Michael", an extreme-right Orthodox nationalistic movement of the interwar period, associated politically with the Iron Guard), he stored propaganda materials at the Cernica and Căldăruşani monasteries ro icon [http://cotidianul.ro/index.php?id=13344&art=34405&cHash=1c3903ae71 "Dosarul de cadre al Patriarhului Teoctist"] , in " Cotidianul", 22 August 2007] and that he participated in the vandalizing of a Bucharest synagogue.
The last two accusations were based on a 1950 file found in the archives of the Securitate. The official response of the Orthodox Church was that the file was made by the Soviets with the intent of destroying the Romanian Orthodox Church. [ro icon
Observator Cultural[http://www.observatorcultural.ro/informatiiarticol.phtml?xid=3959&xrubrica=ARTICOLE&print=&return=arhiva&xnrrevista=48 "Patriarhul Teoctist: legionar laureat ori comunist promovat?"] , January 2001]
In July 2006, historian
Stejărel Olarusaid he found in the archives of the Securitate documents which prove that Teoctist was an agent of influence, who did propaganda for the Communist regime. The accusations were publicly denied by the Church. [ro iconBBC Romanian, [http://www.bbc.co.uk/romanian/news/story/2006/07/060728_preoti_colaboratori.shtml Preoţi colaboratori ai fostei securităţi] 28 July, 2006]
The Patriarch died on
July 30, 2007, after undergoing surgery for a prostate adenomaat the Clinical Institute of Fundeni. [ [http://news.observatordebacau.info/2007/07/30/romanian-patriarch-Teoctist-dies-of-heart-complications.html Observator de Bacău, 30 July 2007] .] The surgery was not an emergency, but a scheduled operation. Along the day, the news received suggested he was recovering. According to the doctors, the death occurred following cardiac complications, at 17:00 (GMT+2). The Patriarch had a history of cardiac problems. His body was laid in the Romanian Patriarchal Cathedralin Bucharest. [citeweb |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6815405,00.html |title=Head of Romanian Church Dies |publisher=guardian.co.uk]
After the session of the Holy Synod of the
Romanian Orthodox Churchthe date of burial was set for Friday, August 3, 2007, at 11:00 (GMT+2) and took place at the Patriarchal Cathedral. PM Călin Popescu-Tăriceanuannounced that the Government decided the date to be a National Day of Mourning. The burial place was chosen by the Holy Synodof the Romanian Orthodox Church to be the Patriarchal Cathedral and the burial service was officiated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, alongside Romanian Orthodox hierarchs and hierarchs representing churches of the Eastern Orthodox communion. After the religious service, the Patriarch was given state honors.
Delegations from 30 Orthodox Churches were present at the services. Taking part in the funeral itself were representatives from the churches of Constantinople, Albania, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Finland, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Greece, Cyprus, Poland, Czech Republic. Also present were delegations from the
Holy See, different Christian denominations (Anglican, Armenian Apostolic, Ethiopian Church and Syriac churches), other religious communities from Romania(The Romanian Muftiat) and Romanian political leaders. About 8000 people attended the funeral.
* [http://biserica.org/WhosWho/DTR/A/TeoctistArapasu.html Article about Teoctist Arăpaşu in "Dicţionarul Teologilor Români"]
România Liberă, [http://www.romanialibera.ro/editie/index.php?url=articol&tabel=z10122005&idx=44 "Ce ar fi trebuit sa stie ambasadorul Taubman cand s-a dus la Patriarhie"] 10 December 2005
* [http://www.thediplomat.ro/reports_0406_1.htm Article about nuns being beaten by Teoctist's communist allies] , April 2006
Lavinia Stanand Lucian Turcescu, "The Devil's Confessors: Priests, Communists, Spies, and Informers", East European Politics and Societies, 19 (2005), no. 4, 655–685. DOI|10.1177/0888325404272454
* Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "Politics, national symbols and the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral", Europe-Asia Studies, 8 (2006), no. 7, 1119-1139. OCLC|90228854
* Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "Religion and Politics in Post-communist Romania", Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 0195308530
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