On many occasions I have asked myself why we, Romanians, talk so much about the lack of role models for improving the moral health of our society.
It is certainly true that the invasion through media channels of the false and damaging so called “models” has led us to this anxiety, but, should we only complain? We must act, and search for role models in our history.
In my view, if we paid more attention to our history, not only modern, but medieval too, we would certainly find many moral human models. Among them is Constantin Brancoveanu (the very rich prince of Tara Romaneasca, 1688-1714). I have no idea how many Romanians know that this year is “Constantin Brancoveanu’s year”: who he was and what he did. Even if, in our cynical, superficial and very pragmatic world, this prince could be only an ancient and sad story of our history, nevertheless he might be a true and very valuable model for regular people and, furthermore, for our politicians.
My main arguments to sustain this idea are related to his entire story, not only to his and his family’s tragic death.
Firstly, Brancoveanu promoted a very intelligent foreign policy, trying to maintain a right balance between the three neighbors’ great empires: the Ottoman Turks Empire, the Russian Empire and the Austrian Empire. This policy brought many years of peace, tranquility and welfare to the country.
Secondly, his influence on the development of the arts and culture in his country is well known, as we call it today, on a European level. We shouldn’t forget that he was the creator of a new artistic style, called after his name, the “Brancovenescu” style. He also invested much of his own money in building religious and laic constructions, which are now part of the Romanian and the world heritage. He founded the Royal Academy in Bucharest and printed various fundamental books.
Maybe the most impressive characteristic of this prince was his true and deep belief in his native religion, which it wasn’t demonstrated only by his religious buildings, but also by his own and his family’s great sacrifice (Brancoveanu and his sons were beheaded at the request of the then sultan, after they refused to follow the Ottoman faith)
Living in Romania of the 21st century we could ask what Brancoveanu story might tell to our politicians.
In my opinion, a few potential answers are:
In spite of our geopolitical location, an intelligent and professional foreign policy can bring stability and well-being of the people.
Culture and education are priorities for any political leader who thinks about the future of their nation.
The profound beliefs should never be trafficked away even if the price paid is very high.
A very rich leader can use his riches for good and noble causes, for improving the people’s spiritual and moral level.
In conclusion, wondering why our political leaders don’t look more carefully at this real hero of our history, I have found out that perhaps is too difficult to have strong beliefs and follow them with any price for your country and your people well-being.
By Mariana Ganea, guest writer