Influential RO archbishop insists the authorities should allow St. Andrew pilgrimage
The archbishop of Tomis, Teodosie, one of the most visible representatives of the Romanian Orthodox Church, has instructed all the priests subordinated to him to attend the pilgrimage at the cave of St Andrew on November 30.
He also urged prime minister Ludovic Orban to make an exception for pilgrims who want to visit the cave on St Andrew's day.
An internal document signed by Archbishop Teodosie informs all priests that, on November 30, "they are delegated in professional interest to perform the Holy Mass in the council at St. Andrew's Cave Monastery." The exhortation is not only for the priests but for the whole "clerical and monastic staff," G4media.ro reported.
On November 25, the Constanta Court rejected Archbishop Teodosie's request to cancel the decision by which the committee for emergency situations banned the organization of a religious pilgrimage on the occasion of St. Andrew's Day.
On November 26, the Patriarchate of the Romanian Orthodox Church urged the authorities again to allow the pilgrimage claiming that this is "a necessary exception for an exceptional situation." The Church's representatives assured that all the sanitary precautions would be observed. Prime minister Ludovic Orban said in a news conference the same day that Teodosie should urge believers to abide by the rules and not break them, for the rules against the spread of COVID-19 "are not made on purpose to prevent believers from praying, or participating in pilgrimages, but to protect their health," according to G4media.ro.
This new dispute between the Government and the Church comes after similar conflicts generated by the authorities' decision to ban pilgrimages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Saint Parascheva pilgrimage in Iasi and the Saint Dimitrie the New pilgrimage in Bucharest were restricted, and only residents in these cities were allowed to attend. This determined a harsh reaction from the Orthodox Church, which accused the Government of limiting religious freedom.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos/George Calin)