The Eastern Catholic Orthodox Church, the second-largest Christian community of faith on earth, has approximately 220 million baptized members, half of which live in Russia.
While the first Divine Liturgy, the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, was celebrated there during an international youth meeting on September 4th, 2016, the People’s Salvation Cathedral in Bucharest was consecrated on November 25th, 2018 eight years after construction began.
The location on Arsenal Hill had been established in 2005 in an area of five churches demolished or relocated to build the House of the Republic, a Pharaonic project initiated by Socialist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu (1918–1989) in 1984, and finally finished in 1997 after democratization to serve as Palace of the Parliament.
The idea of a National Cathedral dates back to 1884, from the times of Carol I. (1839-1914). Michael I (1921-2017), the last King of Romania, was forced to abdicate by the Communists in December 1947.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (born 1940), also the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople, which fell to the Ottomans in 1453 and is known as Istanbul since 1930, and Patriarch Daniel (born 1951) of the Romanian Orthodox Church hallowed the altar and led a service.
At a cost of 110 million euros in one of Europe’s poorest nations, the biggest Orthodox church building in the world and the second largest church in Europe after Saint Peter’s Basilica inside Vatican City in Rome, is dedicated to the Ascension of Christ and 1st century Apostle Andrew the First-Called, the Protector of Romania.
The highest point of the cathedral is 120 meters from the ground, without counting the cross. The bells have a total weight of 33 tons and are located at a height of 60 meters in the tower.
In the past two years, work has continued with the arrangement of the exterior spaces, the adjacent basements and the mosaic installation. By 2024, the complex should receive its final touch, the paintwork.
During the ceremony, Patriarch Daniel placed at the foot of the altar, graced with a 16-meter tall representation of Our Lady of the Sign, a list with the names of over 350,000 Romanians that died for their homeland and prayed for their souls.
The event undoubtedly had a nationalistic undertone, as five days later the country celebrated its Centennial Year by marking the unification of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania with the Romanian Kingdom on December 1st, 1918, shortly after the end of World War I.
On that anniversary, Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem (born 1952) brought relics and a liturgical vestment of Ioan Iacov Hozevitul (1923-1960), declared Saint John James the Chozebite in June 1992, and celebrated the first patronal feast.
Until December 2nd, approximately 150,000 local pilgrims flooded the site to enjoy the historical moment and an impressive new place of worship.
It’s obvious that in Western Europe traditional religious beliefs are on the retreat and quickly replaced by cult-like concepts like climate change, genderism and multiculturalism as well as violent alien delusional ideas.
Meanwhile, the Eastern part of the Old Continent is seeing a revival of conservative values, which will be of great help in the ongoing struggle for the survival of our civilization.
P.D.: The energy-efficient cathedral is designed to withstand very strong earthquakes.