155 Years Since the Union of the Principalities Celebrated at the Romanian Patriarchate

On 24 January 2014, we celebrate 155 years since the Union of the Romanian Principalities, an act implemented at the Metropolitan Hill (Patriarchate Hill), in a building of the Church situated near the then Metropolitan Cathedral (Patriarchal Cathedral at present).

 Te Deum Service 

On this occasion, the ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Metropolitans Nifon of Wallachia and Sofronie Miclescu of Moldova, as well as the other authors of the Union of the Romanian Principalities were remembered at the Divine Liturgy celebrated today in the Patriarchal Cathedral. At 10.30 hours a thanksgiving Te Deum to God was celebrated for the implementation of this great act in the history of the Romanian people to which the Romanian Orthodox Church had a significant contribution.

The religious service was celebrated by His Grace Varlaam Ploiesteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch and Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, assisted by a group of priests and deacons, in the presence of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The president of the Romanian Academy, Ionel Haiduc, and vice-president of the institution, Dan Berindei, academicians, members of the Church National Council, and of the Eparchial Council of the Archdiocese of Bucharest, and many faithful attended the religious service.

Laying of wreaths of flowers at the Patriarchate Hill 

After the Te Deum service, the Patriarch of Romania and all those present in the Patriarchal Cathedral went to the statue of ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza placed at the Patriarchate Hill. Here, wreaths of flowers were laid on behalf of the Romanian Patriarchate and of the Romanian Academy.

Series of scientific lectures 

The event continued at 11.15 hours, in “Patriarch Teoctist” Aula Magna of the Patriarchate Palace, with the scientific session entitled “155 Years since the Union of the Romanian Principalities” organised by the Romanian Patriarchate and the Romanian Academy. The session was moderated by academician Ionel Haiduc, president of the Romanian Academy. To start with the session, the Patriarch of Romania delivered the speech entitled “We celebrate an act of national justice and dignity – 155 years since the Union of the Romanian Principalities”.

“For our Church, the Union of the Romanian Principalities was the basis for the official recognition of the Autocephaly of the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1885 and for raising the Romanian Orthodox Church to the rank of Patriarchate in 1925, after accomplishing Great Romania. Taking into account the forthcoming autocephaly of our Church, on 3 December 1864, Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza has already promulgated the Organic Decree, which showed that “The Romanian Orthodox Church is and will be independent towards any church foreign authority, in regard to her organisation and discipline” and that “the General Synod of the Romanian Church keeps the dogmatic unity of the holy Orthodox faith with the Great Church of the East, in agreement with the Ecumenical Church of Constantinople”, His Beatitude said.

There followed the Salute of academician Ionel Haiduc, President of the Romanian Academy.

“I am honoured to participate in and open this scientific session organised by the Romanian Academy and the Patriarchate of the Romanian Orthodox Church. As His Beatitude mentioned collaboration was concluded between the Academy and the Patriarchate. The Romanian Academy serves science first of all, and the Patriarchate serves the Church, but both of us have the same purposes, so that between science and religion should be collaboration. Today we celebrate 155 years since the Union of the Principalities. We know how Alexandru Ion Cuza was first elected ruler of Moldova in Moldova and then in Wallachia, and so the century old desire of the Romanians to be together was accomplished. This was the little union completed later on with the great union of 1918. Today’s scientific session will focus on a series of facts related to the great union of 1859”, academician Ionel Haiduc said.

Then, the vice-president of the Romanian Academy, Academician Dan Berindei delivered the speech: The Romanians of the Union in 1859, in which he emphasised the fact that theUnion did represent not only a remarkable historical moment but it has also inaugurated a new stage in the national history.

Mr Alexandru Mamina, researcher II at “Nicolae Iorga” Institute of History of the Romanian Academy delivered the speech entitled “The Union of 1859: the role of the personalities in history”.

“I would like to start from the assertion of Mihail Kogalniceanu who said that the Union was done by the nation. The assertion was certainly correct from the point of view of the complex factors involved in the union activity. The double election of Alexandru Ioan Cuza was possible not only as a result of the press campaigns, of the mobilisation of those included on the electoral lists, but also as a result of the agreement between the boyars and the representatives in the Ad hoc Assemblies, as well as last but not least due to the people’s pressure over the Elective Assembly” Mr Alexandru Mamina said.

The last lecture “The Union in the Plastic Art” was delivered by Mr Adrian Silvan Ionescu, director of the Institute of the History of Art of “George Oprescu”, of the Romanian Academy.

On 5/17 January 1859, in Iasi, the elective Assembly of Moldova, chaired by the metropolitan of Moldova, Sofronie Miclescu, elected Alexandru Ioan Cuza as ruler. Then, on 24 January 1859, in Bucharest, after the participation of all the deputies in the Te Deum celebrated in the present Patriarchal Cathedral (Metropolitan at the time), the elective Assembly was opened at 11.00 hours, under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Nifon of Wallachia. The Elective Assembly session of Wallachia was held on the Metropolitan Hill, in the building near the Metropolitan Cathedral. During the meeting, following the proposal of Vasile Boerescu, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who had already been elected ruler of Moldova on 5 January 1859, was elected ruler, making in this way the Union of the Romanian Principalities.