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The Orthodox Church / The Patriarchate of Romania

The Patriarchate of Romania

Number of faithfulapprox. 20 million, mainly in Romania and in the European diaspora
Title of First HierarchArchbishop of Bucharest, Metropolitan of Wallachia and Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Romania
See of the First Hierarch

Bucharest (Romania)

Current incumbentDaniel (Ciobotea), born 1951, in office since 2007
Bishops and dioceses52 bishops; 42 dioceses, 6 in Western Europe and 1 each in the USA and Australia
Liturgical LanguageRomanian
Calendarmixed calendar (Gregorian/Julian)
Presence in Austriaapprox. 80,000 believers; 25 parishes, 27 priests, 3 deacons
Presence in Germanyapprox. 800,000 believers; 2 bishops (metropolitan and vicar bishop), see in Nuremberg; 142 parishes; 162 priests, 20 deacons

The Romanian Orthodox Church is unique among the churches of Byzantine Orthodoxy being shaped by a Romance language and culture, which gives it a special bridging function with the Latin Church of the West. Despite its early Christian roots in the area of the modern-day Romania and the vigorous development of the Orthodox Church in the two Romanian principalities of Wallachia and Moldova, the independent Romanian Orthodox Church came into being after the unification of the two principalities into one state, in the middle of the 19th century. In 1885, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople recognized the autocephaly of the Romanian Church. In 1925, the Romanian Orthodox Church was elevated to the rank of patriarchate after Romania's territory had almost doubled in size after World War I when it incorporated Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina.

During the communist era in Romania, the Orthodox Church, like all Christian churches, suffered from restrictions and persecutions, while the church leadership was forced to swear loyalty to the state authorities. In contrast to other Eastern European countries, however, numerous monasteries, several seminaries and some theological colleges remained open. As a result, after the fall of Ceausescu in December 1989, the Orthodox Church in Romania was able to revitalize faith and community life faster and better than in other Eastern European countries and to increase the level of theological education again. The Romanian theologian Dumitru Stăniloae (1903-1993) is considered one of the world's most influential Orthodox theologians of the 20th century.

The Romanian Orthodox Church has been a member of the World Council of Churches since 1961. Romanian theologians have been among the most active representatives of the Orthodox Church in ecumenical dialogue for years. Romania was the first majority Orthodox country that Pope John Paul II was able to visit in 1999. The role of hosting the Third European Ecumenical Assembly in Sibiu in September 2007 also demonstrates the ecumenical commitment of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Daniel (Ciobotea) of Iaşi, who was elected Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church shortly, thereafter, played a decisive role in these developments. Patriarch Daniel is striving for a stronger social role for the Orthodox Church and attaches particular importance to good media exposure by the Church.


  • D. Munteanu / B. Röhrer-Ertl, Die Rumänische Orthodoxe Kirche, in: Th. Bremer / H.R. Gazer / Chr. Lange (eds.), Die orthodoxen Kirchen der byzantinischen Tradition, Darmstadt 2013, 53-60.
  • E.P. Tăvală, Kirche und Staat in Rumänien, Sibiu 2012.
  • J. Henkel, Einführung in Geschichte und kirchliches Leben der Rumänischen Orthodoxen Kirche, Berlin 2007.
  • M. Păcurariu, Geschichte der Rumänischen Orthodoxen Kirche, Erlangen 1994.