Bartolomeu Anania: Let the Church elect its own Patriarch!

Metropolitan Bishop of Cluj, Alba, Crisana and Maramures says the most important thing is that the future head of the Church should not be someone who could be blackmailed.

published in issue 3994 page 2 at 2007-08-10 Nine O’Clock

BUCHAREST – In an interview granted yesterday to Mediafax news agency, the Metropolitan Bishop of Cluj, Bartolomeu Anania, called on political forces to refrain from becoming involved in any way in the election of the future Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) scheduled on September 12. He stated that all political forces, ‘either overt or covert, must respect the right and freedom of the Church of electing its patriarch even if a candidate might seek their support’. The central media speculated extensively, after the death of Patriarch Teoctist, on the involvement of both the political factor and of the Free Masonry in the election of the following head of the Church. As far as he is concerned, Anania says he has no intention to run for the position as it ahs been suggested in the media, ‘because the nonagenarian patriarch who dies should not be replaced by an octogenarian’.

Doing the sketch of the future patriarch, Anania thinks it is essential ‘that he should not be subject to blackmail, either morally or politically-socially, or haunted by the secret of collaboration with covert organizations or structures, including intelligence agencies’. Apart from the ‘clean biography, without vices or covert affiliations’, in Anania’s opinion the in-coming patriarch must show ‘ecclesial dignity, missionarism and management skills’. Even if for the time being there is no official list of possible candidates, but with the press presenting Daniel – Metropolitan Bishop of Moldavia, and Teofan, Metropolitan Bishop of Oltenia, as favourites, Bartolomeu Anania did not say if either matched his description. The Metropolitan Bishop of Cluj added in his interview that, within the Holy Synod, he would act according to his statutory prerogative as far as the selection of the candidates is concerned.

Dinescu reported to CNSAS

The Patriarchy yesterday reported Mircea Dinescu, member of the College of the National Council for the Study of the Former Securitate Archives (CNSAS), to CNSAS, complaining about his statements published by the ‘Cotidianul’ daily suggesting that the former Metropolitan Bishop of Ardeal, Nicolae Plamadeala who had died two years before, had worked for the former Securitate (former political police of the communist regime) and had asked Nicolae Ceausescu to upgrade him from colonel to general. ‘There is a letter written by Plamadeala to Ceausescu where, on August 23, he was asking that eh should be upgraded to general for he had spent enough time as a colonel’ Dinescu stated for the ‘Cotidianul’.

The statement was made in the general context created after the CNSAS College had announced, on Tuesday, that it would check the files of the BOR heads who would run for the position of patriarch.

According to the representatives of the Patriarchy, Dinescu’s statements are incompatible with his membership of the CNSAS College. ‘The publication of data or information from the files that is not true, that undermines the life, dignity, honour or reputation of an individual, is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment’ reads a communiqué issued by the Patriarchy yesterday. The Romanian Patriarchy wants to put off indefinitely the exposure of the clergy who collaborated with the former Securitate instead of sorting out the matter before electing the new patriarch, Mircea Dinescu stated for Rompres on Thursday, replying to BOR’s accusation. ‘My statements are not state secrets. The reason we are at CNSAS is to expose the former Securitate collaborators and I am doing the job for which I was sent there’ said Dinescu. He added that the Patriarchy people should mind ‘the ranks in their own backyard’ and start attending widows and orphans instead.

The collaboration with the former Securitate of priests or high-ranking clergy members is however a delicate issue to BOR. According to NewsIn cited by Realitatea TV, the best known case is Nicolae Corneanu, Metropolitan Bishop of Banat, who, immediately after the Revolution, in 19900, admitted to having been a collaborationist. Last August, Teodosie Tomitanul also admitted to having signed a commitment to the Securitate, but said that it only applied to major state issues.

Last year, the Bishop of Alba Iulia, Andrei Andreicut, stated that he had signed a similar paper but under the threat of imprisonment. Suspicions also exist in the case of Bartolomeu Anania himself and of Teoctist’s predecessor, Patriarch Iustin Moisescu. Ioan Mihai Pacepa, former chief of the Communist espionage, said that Anania used to be a covert agent of the Foreign Intelligence Department, according to Realitatea TV.

by Dan Sapos

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