Religion is back in high schools

Bucharest, Romania – At the end of prolonged debates that inflamed spirits of some of the civil society and of the Orthodox Church hard core, Religion won as it has been kept among the optional subject matters until the 12th class.

Mihaela Sociu, counsellor of the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth (MECT) stated that parents and students would choose whether to study religion or not. She added that no pupil would be punished for refusing to attend the religion class and that it would not count for the general average mark. Moreover, MECT will organise general culture or other classes.

Patriarch Daniel said that an education without spirituality, ignoring religion at the age of adolescence, would be incomplete. Patriarch Daniel also suggested that the religious symbols of all Churches should be posted in schools for pupils to better know them.

‘Religion proposes viable models of kindness and holiness in an increasingly individualistic world’ His Beatitude concluded. The representative of the Mosaic cult, Rabbi Sorin Rosen Slomo, informed that he had proposed to the representatives of the Church the introduction of the study of the history of religion in schools. The Roman Catholic Church has opted for the re-opening of the state-funded confessional schools. The Ministry of Education had originally removed Religion from the high school curricula, but that wasn’t welcomed by the representatives of the Church and of various civic organisations.

UN: one in five countries prohibits religion in schools

A UN study concludes that, in 46 of the 70 responding countries, the right to religious education was guaranteed by constitution or by law, Rador informs. Only one in five countries prohibits the study of religion in schools. In 35 countries religious education is also present in primary education. In just nine of the study countries religion is mandatory. Ion other 30 it is optional.

Power struggle inside BOR

The Metropolitan of Cluj, Alba, Crisana and Maramures Bartolomeu Anania claims that Patriarch Daniel is very close to imposing his personal control over the Romanian Orthodox Church. He claims that the introduction of the paragraph enshrining the right of the Patriarch to set up stavropighias and rule them via his delegates cuts the autonomy of the eparchies. Bartolomeu confirms the information published by ‘Ziua’ daily last week suggesting that the provisions have been introduced without the approval of the Holy Synod. The Patriarchy answers that ‘the provision of the stavropighia in the Statutes is not taking anything away from anyone.’ The patriarchy nevertheless makes no reference to how the paragraph was inserted.

‘Ziua’ claims that a recent change in the BOR Statutes operated without the consent of the Holy Synod gives the right to Patriarch Daniel to control all monasteries and hermitages in Romania, including their assets. The change violates the fundamental Orthodox ecclesiologic principle that the head bishop enjoys management discretion over his own eparchy and the Holy Synod over the entire Church.

In other words, a senior clergyman the Patriarch included cannot interfere with the business of an eparchy, that being the sole privilege of the Synod. The adding radically changes the situation as the Patriarch is now being given full power and controls over abbeys and monasteries turned into a stavropighia. The serious thing is that the new provisions have been introduced on their way to the Government where the Statutes needed to be sealed.