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7989Romanian Orthodox Church enthrones new patriarch

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Sep 30, 2007
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      http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5g30kWvAj9OgaucuybkuvJSOG9rjw

      The Canadian Press
      Romanian Orthodox Church enthrones new patriarch

      5 hours ago

      BUCHAREST, Romania - Church bells rang out around Romania on Sunday
      to celebrate the enthronement of Metropolitan Daniel as the new
      patriarch of the country's Orthodox Church.

      Dozens of Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant clerics attended a
      ceremony, joined by hundreds of Orthodox faithful and the country's
      political leaders.

      Daniel was elected patriarch Sept. 12. The previous patriarch,
      Teoctist, was elected during the Communist period. He died in July of
      a heart attack at age 92.

      Daniel, 56, is one of the youngest bishops in the church, known for
      his ecumenical stance and desire to modernize the church.

      The Eastern Rite Catholic Church, with which the Orthodox Church has
      property disputes over churches seized by the state during communism,
      said it welcomed Daniel as the new patriarch.

      Ninety priests, most of them Orthodox from Romania and other
      Christian Orthodox countries, but also from other Christian
      denominations attended the ceremony. President Traian Basescu, former
      president Ion Iliescu and former King Michael were also there.

      People who woke up early were disappointed not to be allowed in the
      small Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest, the seat of the Romanian
      Orthodox Church. Two huge television screens were set up nearby so
      that Romanians who gathered outside could witness the event.

      During the ceremony, the new patriarch was given a series of objects,
      including a silver staff, symbol of his authority, and a white headdress.

      The Romanian Orthodox patriarch is the only one among Orthodox heads
      of church to be dressed completely in white. The dress code was
      adopted in the 1930s as a way of distinguishing the Romanians among
      the orthodox faithful.

      "We want to intensify the church's mission beyond the walls of the
      church," said the new patriarch, who added that he wished the church
      became more involved in the life of Romanians. He announced plans to
      launch a radio, a TV station and a newspaper.

      Daniel was one of the founding members of a group proposing renewal
      for the Orthodox Church. But the group was disbanded in 1990 after he
      was elected Metropolitan of Iasi, a traditional stepping stone to
      becoming patriarch.

      Born in 1951 in western Romania, Daniel spent 12 years in western
      Europe studying theology and was a teacher at the Ecumenical
      Institute at Bossey, Switzerland - a rare privilege for Romanians who
      often were prevented from travelling abroad.

      An estimated 87 per cent of Romania's 22 million inhabitants are
      Orthodox, and the church has enjoyed a revival since communism fell in 1989.