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Romania’s relations with Vatican in the 60’s of the 20th century

Author: Nicolae Dorel Ceuca
Degree:doctor of history
Speciality: 07.00.03 - World History (with specification of time period)
Scientific adviser: Anatol Petrencu
doctor habilitat, professor, Moldova State University
Scientific council:


The thesis was presented on the 16 December, 2005
Approved by NCAA on the 26 October, 2006


Adobe PDF document0.34 Mb / in romanian


The Holy See, The Apostolic Church, international relations, The 2nd Vatican Ecumenical Council, hierarchy, communist regime, diaspora, telegrams, informative memoir, documentary materials, external policy, diplomacy, commissions, secretariats, ecclesiastical, The Greek Catholic Church, Dialogue, The Romanian Orthodox Church, theologians, apostolic succession, Popish primate, contemporary world, The Religion Department, the cardinal, patriarch, visit, Christianity, atheism, proposals, the collaboration, co-operation, the confrontation, the embassy, apostolic nuntiature, internal policy, non-believer, faithless, mail


The work on Romania’s relations with Vatican in the 60’s of the 20th century is dedicated to an actual, but insufficiently studied theme. The studies published on this matter refer mostly at the period before the year 1948, or strictly to the church problems, whereas the presentation of the political causes was left apart. The work comprises an introduction, three chapters divided into six paragraphs, conclusions, annexes and general bibliography, key words and summary. The documentary sources, most of them unpublished, come from the diplomatic archive of the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs. So as to establish the historical setting of the relations between the two states I researched certain works referring to the terms before 1950, which presented the situation of the Romanian Catholic Church and its status. This because not only is Vatican a political power, but also the center of the catholic world, the only one capable to represent its flock as in relation to the state, whichever this state may be.

Because of this, at the 4th of August 1950, the Romanian communist state banishes the Apostolic Nunciature, which leads to the freezing of the official relations between the two states. Our work will present the attempts made in the 60’s by the diplomats of the two states to resume the official connections.

The subject analysis beginning with the years 60 is based on Vatican’s political changes, the announcement made on the 25th of January 1958 by Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) who wanted to call for a Council at Vatican, in order to bring up to date the Church’s position towards the international events, namely the “aggiornamento”. The preparing for this Council starts in 1960, when several Secretariats are established, with the purpose to suggest the necessary changes. The importance of the 2nd Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the changes induced by its decisions favored a possible dialogue of the Catholic Church with the communist countries and the Orthodox Churches. Even if the Orthodox Church from Romania reacts to these changes from during the Council, the state initiates unofficial connections with Vatican only in 1965, when the constitutions referring to the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the communist states had already been voted.

The documents in this respect include attempts on a political, cultural and religious plan, involving several state institutions. The political discussions were mostly led by the diplomatic representatives at Rome, henceforth being distinguished two personalities: the Romanian ambassador Cornel Burtică and the originator of the Vatican Ostpolitik, cardinal Agostino Cassaroli. On a religious level, the relations between the two churches were mostly upheld by personalities like Patriarch Justinian and the catholic Cardinals Rudolf Graber and Francisc König, who had a series of meetings where they presented their view upon the possibility of unification between the churches. On a cultural level, the terms between the two parts were marked by two important problems: bringing a duplicate of Trajan’s Column to Romania and bringing to Rome the relic of the Greek Catholic Bishop Inochentie Micu Klein.

During this period, the two stated did not manage to reach an agreement upon the conditions of signing an official treaty, in spite of the fact that the catholic representatives and some Romanian officials insisted upon it, accounting that every clause was achieved at that time. All these because the Romanian State was by no means willing to bring under debate the problem of the Greek Catholic Church, abolished at the 1st of December 1948.