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From the persecutions of the Uniates in Romania.


Unia persecutions


Unia  persecutions

From the persecutions of the Uniates  in Romania .

It is preferable to die in prison, than to deny my glorious faith" (Confessor Fr. John of Romania 1776)
Declaration of the Romanian faithful in 1757.

"There came a time when we came to the graves of the dead and told them: get out you dead from the graves so that we may move in, us living, for we cannot suffer the torments that are perpetrated on us by the Uniate priests and leaders of the country. We have filled all the prisons due to the Greek Law (namely, the Orthodox Faith that was received from the Greeks), and have robbed us so much, lunging at us like devils on our heads, to the point where we have no idea how to pay the fury of the king"

I, monk Sophronius, demand the release of all those you jailed in the jails of Simbiu, for their faith, and to bring them free infront of me, otherwise let it be known that there will be no peace in this country.

The general Boukof during the spring of 1761 under orders from the Queen of Austria, Maria Teresa, destroyed from the foundations and burned most of the 150 monasteries and sketes in the Transylvania of Romania.

In the meeting that the rich as well as the aristocracy of the district of Hounendoara had, during May 1760, a group of Romanians presented a declaration by one of the most influential representations so far, in which among other it declared: "if you wish to take away something from us or if you require some contribution for the needs of the country, we are prepared to do so, but our religion we cannot deny as long as we are alive. All the nations have their laws and peace of life and only we are continuously persecuted. Why don't you give us peace so that we may relax? Why do you give to the Uniates our churches, which we the downtrodden or our ancestors built at our expense and with our hands? No, we shall not put up with such things while we are alive. Let us be brief, honourable sirs: When the Bishop and Archbishop of our hereditary law (of our religion) will come, they will decide which of the churches should be given to the Uniates, but until then no Uniate will worship in our churches.

"It is a great sin for the churches to stay closed in this time of fasting. Recently we had respectfully asked you but received no answer, as if we never asked you before. We are not animals as your Highness believes but we have our Church. Our churches were not built to stay empty, nor are we going to worship in stables but in our churches. We protest in front of your Highness, for this irregular situation and we beg you to resolve the issues, until our own Archbishop arrives".

The Queen, in reprisals, ordered the most draconian measures against the Romanian Orthodox of Transylvania. The evil peaked with the activities of general Boukof, who began from 1761 to torch the wooden churches, to destroy the stone built monasteries of Transylvania , to terrorize and slaughter innocent people, writing thus the most dark pages of the history of the Church of this district. The Orthodox Christians everywhere declared that they preferred for their enemies to behead them, than deny their faith and follow the Unia to the Pope. In front of this unassailable faith of the people and their common fight,   the acts of violence and threats of the governors on the victims of the Unia ceased In the summer of 1754 the town of Halmazy witnessed   a great moment. During the period of one week all the people from the surrounding villages of the district, came and declared in front of the imperial council that they will not deny their ancestral Orthodox faith. The most noteworthy and eloquent statement of the Romanian public remains the response of an elder from Simbiu, which was also published in the west. "This fur which I now wear is mine, but if anybody wants it I'll give it to him. With these weak hands and weak legs and weak body I worked hard, day and night, to pay my taxes. The God given things, if   anybody wishes to take, I cannot deny him. But I have a soul which I hold for the Heavenly Groom, Christ, and which no human power can take from me unless I surrender it".

The hundreds of arrests, maltreatment, imprisonments, persecutions, burning of the churches and monasteries, on the excuse of the acceptance of the "new faith" by the Austrian Empire, could not manage to bend the morale of the pious Romanian people.

The Holy Council of the Romanian Orthodox Church at a meeting on February 28, 1950, decided to elevate the hieromonk Bissarion to the place of the Saints for his virtue he displayed and the struggles he fought for the protection of the Orthodox Faith. He is commemorated on October 21. May their memory live for ever.    



  


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