- Apr 9, 2021
Romanian authorities announced Thursday that Easter celebrations in the deeply Christian country will go ahead in person this year, even though Romania is battling a surge of COVID-19 infections that is threatening to overwhelm its hospitals.
The feast of St. Dimitrie of Basarabov, the patron saint of Bucharest, is a show of Orthodox Christianity’s strength in Romania, where a weeklong festival devoted to the former hermit typically draws up to 100,000 people from all over the country to the capital every October.
On Sunday Romania marked its first ever National Day of Awareness of Violence against Christians, a move intended to honor Romanian Orthodox martyrs and raise awareness about global anti-Christian persecution.
Stretching the church calendar, Orthodox Easter arrived over a month late in a Romanian city on the shores of the Black Sea.
When Pope Francis makes his 30th international trip, visiting Romania in late May, he is likely to receive a different, more reserved welcome than St. John Paul II did 20 years ago, said an expert in Catholic-Orthodox relations.
When Pope Francis visits Romania May 31-June 1, he will helicopter to Sumuleu Ciuc, site of the country’s only major Marian shrine and an important place of pilgrimage for Hungarian Catholics.
Visiting Romania May 31-June 2, Pope Francis will stop at six destinations, including a popular Marian shrine in Transylvania.