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Romanian Orthodox Cleric Dies at 78

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2005.08.31 AP: Romanian Orthodox Cleric Dies at 78 Wednesday August 31, 2005 10:16 PM By LUCIA STANA-SEVIANU Associated Press Writer CLUJ, Romania (AP) -
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2005
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      2005.08.31 AP:

      Romanian Orthodox Cleric Dies at 78

      Wednesday August 31, 2005 10:16 PM
      By LUCIA STANA-SEVIANU

      Associated Press Writer

      CLUJ, Romania (AP) - Archbishop Antonie Plamadeala, a Romanian
      orthodox cleric and former political prisoner who invited the Rev.
      Billy Graham to preach in Romania during the darkest years of
      Communism, has died at the age of 78, the church said Wednesday.

      Plamadeala, who headed the Orthodox Church in the northwest
      Transylvania region, died late Monday in the central city of Sibiu,
      several years after suffering a debilitating stroke.

      He was considered one of Romania's top theologians, publishing books
      in Romania and abroad. In 1985, when he was chairman of the church's
      foreign relations department, he invited Graham to preach in Romania
      on behalf of a group of 14 religious denominations. Graham accepted
      and went on an 11-day preaching tour in Communist Romania.

      The Romanian Orthodox Church called Plamadeala ``an example of
      patience and wisdom,'' adding that it lost ``a great cleric and
      scientist, who loved his church and nation.''

      Plamadeala became an Orthodox monk in 1949. That year, he was tried
      in absentia for anti-communist activity and sentenced to seven years
      in prison. He was arrested in 1954 and incarcerated until 1956 in a
      prison for political prisoners near Bucharest.

      After his release, he worked in factories for years until he was
      allowed to rejoin the church. Plamadeala later rose rapidly through
      the church ranks.

      Plamadeala was known as an ecumenical figure, and was a member on a
      dialogue committee between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches. He
      also represented the Romanian Orthodox Church at international
      meetings and conventions.

      ``He was known for his openness to other denominations and his good
      command of English,'' said Dan Chiachir, a commentator on Orthodox
      affairs. ``He did church diplomacy but also diplomacy for the
      state,'' he added. ``But his sun set after (the fall of communism in)
      1989 because he was seen as having collaborated too much with the
      former Communist government.''

      He studied theology at the Orthodox Seminary in Chisinau and the
      Theology Universities in Cluj and Bucharest. He later got a doctorate
      from the Theological Institute in Bucharest in 1959, followed by
      another doctorate at Heythrop College in Oxford in 1971.

      A funeral will be held Thursday in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu,
      with burial Friday at the nearby Brancoveanu Monastery in Sambata.
      --
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