This is the first visit to Romania by the Russian Orthodox Church after collapse of communism.
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church recently visited Romania to celebrate the feast of Saint Dimitrie Basarabov the new patron saint of Bucharest. He blessed the big crowd that had come together on the Bucharest Patriarchy Hill for the celebration.
This visit is so significant because it is the first time the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has visited Romania since the collapse of communism. The visit before this was back in 1962 by Patriarch Alexy I.
During his speech, Patriarch Kirill spoke extensively about the shared values, especially those of the Orthodoxy, between the two countries, saying that due to this, “there is an extraordinary potential for peace, cooperation and interaction.” He added that there could be a good and peaceful relationship between two parties only when both share the same values.
He also reminded the people who have gathered there to lead a life guided by the Holy Spirit, and to stay away from false religious and political figures who offer the promise of an earthly Heaven, but one without Christ or God. “I am glad to see today the believers gathered here in such high numbers. Your devotion bears testimony to the flourishing of today's Romanian Orthodoxy,” he announced in his speech.
Patriarch Kirill is often seen as one of the most powerful figures in the whole of Russia, coming in only second to President Vladimir Putin. He has also been the subject of controversy many times because he reportedly has or had connections with KGB, the Soviet Secret Police. His Romania visit was organized and taken care of by the Orthodox Church, who only informed the local political leaders.
Since Romania became part of the European Union and became a member of NATO, it has had rather cool relationships with Russia. Moreover, Romania now hosts in Deveselu, Aegis Shore, an anti-missile system which is a part of the anti-missile shield of the U.S., which was later integrated with NATO’s anti-ballistic defence system. This move was strongly opposed by Russia, but Romania went ahead with it anyway and inaugurated it in May 2016.
Patriarch Kirill says he is happy to step on Romania's soil… https://t.co/CJnnj9qpkP
— Iosif Buble (@ioskap) October 26, 2017
Despite such tensions between the two countries, they find common ground when it comes to Orthodoxy. According to the 2011 census, about 86 percent of people in Romania belong to the Orthodox Church.