In brief: 10 things you need to know about the National Cathedral

Basilica News Agency – Aurelian Iftimiu – 26/11/2020

  1. The need to build a National Cathedral in Bucharest was considered after the War of Independence and the proclamation of Romania as a Kingdom. King Carol I passed a law on this endeavour in 1884.
  2. The original place of the Cathedral was established by Patriarch Miron in 1929: at the base of the Hill of the Metropolis, in the current Union Square.
  3. The final location, chosen in 2005, is a moral reparation. On the Arsenal Hill there were five churches demolished or translated by the communists to build the People’s House: “Alba Postăvari”, “Spira Veche” (Old Spira), “Izvorul Tămăduirii” (Life-giving Spring), “Schitul Maicilor” (Nuns’ Skete) and “Mihai Vodă”.
  4. Patronal feasts: The Ascension of the Lord – Heroes’ Day and Saint Andrew the Apostle, Protector of Romania.
  5. Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral is a national project assumed by the state by law 376/2007.
  6. The Cathedral’s altar: at the foot of the Holy Table was placed a list including over 350,000 names of well-known Romanian heroes and fragments of the relics of the Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs and of the Martyrs from Niculițel. On the apse of the altar is the largest representation of the Platytera Mother of God in Romania: 16 meters from the base to the top of the halo.
  7. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on the Cathedral’s site on the occasion of the International Meeting of Orthodox Youth, on September 4, 2016. The consecration of the Cathedral was officiated on November 25, 2018, 100 years after the Great Union. A real pilgrimage followed on Arsenal Hill: between November 25 and December 2, 2018, approximately 150,000 people venerated at the altar. Pope Francis visited the National Cathedral on May 31, 2019.
  8. More than 110 million euros have been invested in the partly finished construction. Currently, two years after the consecration of the altar, painting works are done inside, plastering and stone cladding on the outside. Work is being done on the basements and exterior spaces of the Cathedral.
  9. The iconostasis, made entirely in mosaic, is unique in the Orthodox world through its impressive dimensions: 23m wide and 18m high. For the 400 sqm of the iconostasis, 8 tons of mosaic tiles were used.
  10. Figures: The Cathedral, 120 meters high, will be equipped with eight elevators. The bells of the Cathedral have a total weight of 33 tons and tower over the city at the height of 60 meters. The National Cathedral has 28 bronze doors depicting various Saints. The doors will be controlled by a computerized system that will command the automatic opening in case of an alarm. The Cathedral also has a total of 392 windows.

Read more: 2 years since the Romanians’ Cathedral was dedicated to the Union, the Ascension, the Heroes, the Saints

Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Iulian Dumitrașcu

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